Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why I don't like Sarah Palin, &c

I mean, apart from the obvious.

One of the main things that really stick in my craw about this person is one of the same things that I resent about George W Bush. It’s something that isn’t really relevant to me, except that whoever is president of the US, I have to see a lot of that person in the media, whether I want to or not. But it is something that ought to be extremely relevant to the American people. It’s hardly ever brought up and I genuinely don’t understand why.

It boils down to one word: Dignity. Being head of state is a huge responsibility. It makes a person the leader of his nation – the head of his nation – someone that, for better or worse, the nation looks up to. An American reading this may not think that s/he looks up to GWB, but in a way, regardless of whatever antipathy you may feel towards him, I think you do. Because he is the president. Like it or not, there he is. You see him. He influences you, all of you. Any leader of any state has an effect on his people.

And this is why, as a Norwegian, I don’t need to worry that I will ever see king Harald V in a position where he appears to the nation as ridiculous. I will not see him giving foreign heads of state unasked-for neck rubs. I will not see him dancing a little jig while waiting for a press conference to start. I will never see anything remotely like that. Because our king understands that in order for him to maintain in his office the respect and affection of his people, he must maintain in his person the dignity that induces us to feel that way towards him. I don’t think president Bush has ever understood that. And I don’t think Sarah Palin does either.

If you are American and you disagree – please leave a comment to that effect and explain why. I would really like to know. I see the office of president of your country as having an inherent dignity. This is not related to political affiliation. But being president, being leader of government and head of state, brings with it an inherent dignity. That is a quality that I feel has been degraded and squandered by the holder of the office over the past eight years. Sometimes, seeing president Bush, I cringe with embarrassment. I really do. And I’m a citizen of another country, far away. I dread to think what you, having this man as your head of state, must feel – or ought to feel.

Respect isn’t something one automatically gets. It’s something that has to be earned, and that we all must earn through our words, our actions and behavior. I think it must be difficult for Americans to respect their president. That is very sad … but at the same time, very understandable. For the American people to truly respect their president, that president must be a man – or woman – with competence and dignity. One important reason why I, personally, would be so delighted to see Barack Obama as president of the United States is that I believe, strongly, that he would bring back that dignity to the country’s highest office. I would love to see that happen, and I’m pretty sure McCain can’t do it. I know Palin can’t do it. But Obama probably can. I would love to see it. And I think that the American people, as a nation, would benefit tremendously by it.

The United States is seen by many as the bully in the playground of the world. But can we blame them? A fish rots from the head on down … and if their leader is a bully, what can we expect the people to become? The American people do have it in them to be a great nation. But for that to happen, they need a great leader. At the moment, I personally do not see more than one person who can conceivably perform that task.

Good luck to the inexperienced Illinois senator. Your country needs you … in more ways than one.


Paz said...

GW Bush can barely spell the word responsibility, it is like car crash TV when he's on, or a freak show it is very hard to stomach but you just cannot look away

Leisha Camden said...

Car crash TV is exactly the word sometimes ...

Mombi said...


I am sooo with you on this one. I do not want another embarassment representing me.

I am so glad to read your thoughts - it confirms what many Americans are thinking and realizing about themselves. Unfortunately, the "other side" ridicules us and calls us unpatriotic for questioning our goverment's actions and motives.

Margo said...

I am with you, although if a leader was competent enough, dignity would be slightly less important, because he or she would earn extra respect by exercising excellent judgment.
Unfortunately, Bush and Palin lack not only dignity but also competency, which only exacerbates the situation.
I agree that Obama would (and hopefully will) be a dignified leader and he seems to be more competent than McCain, which only adds to the respect he commands.

Margo said...

Questioning and even criticizing our government is our right. To keep silent is ridiculous, and to speak out is to exercise our constitutional right of free speech. I love America, and I speak out because I want the best for our country. Silence is what is unpatriotic.

Truand said...

one thing that really annoys me is the fact that the politicians always act as if they knew everything, they never say "well I don't know, we should make a research or ask a scientist or a economist" they just make up an pointless discussion and change the subject they were asked about. in the end they "solve" the problems with a blind decision, that is just not professional. and then the consequences show up.

i don't even live in the usa but if macain becomes president i'm pretty sure his incompetence will affect A LOT my country.

Leisha Camden said...

Thank you for your comments - good points from all of you.

mombi: good to hear that my thoughts resonate with you. It's wonderful to hear from Americans who are more sensible than I sometimes feel like dismissing you all as ;-) ... that's the best thing about blogland for me. :-)

As for the criticism, I am totally with Margo on that one - it is your right to ask questions, and what IMO is unpatriotic is to not do what you can to make your country be all that it could be. The whole concept of patriotism in the US is so weird to me. In this country, patriotism is completely different. No one would call anyone unpatriotic for criticizing our government or whatever. I wonder where that American concept of patriotism has come from??

Margo: I think that if a leader is truly competent, s/he will be dignified also ... they will understand the need to live up to a certain standard. They would have the judgment necessary to understand it. Something certain people sadly lack. >:-(

Truand: you're right that no matter where we live, we're all affected by the American government. So yeah, I think you'd notice it. :-(

But now, hearing the latest news from across the pond, I'm getting more and more optimistic every day! :-)

Heapbasket said...

The comparison you made between our government and a rotting fish was brilliant and sadly true. For the ones who do speak up, they end up having the FBI and CIA investigating them or locking them away for "crimes" they didn't commit. Its only a matter of time before this countries citizens reach their breaking point. Hopefully Obama will ease the tension.

Leisha Camden said...

I borrowed that metaphor from Michael Moore - it seemed extremely apt ...

I hope Obama as president would/will be able to bridge the gap between the two camps - the US seems extremely polarized these days and I'm sure that isn't doing anyone any good. Obama seems to always be open to hearing the other point of view, talking to people and getting their side ... so hopefully that is something he will be able to put to use as president. Because everything right now seems to be moving towards extremes, and that is potentially very dangerous.