Sarah Palin: Be warned

A wannabe vice president and what lies beneath

On the surface, it all seems fine. But that’s how it usually works, right? You’re chugging along, trying to mind your own business, until you suddenly realize something is broken underneath—or at least cracking.

Let’s imagine, like me, you’re living your life, happily reflecting on all the progress with women’s rights and environmentalism. Oops! Watch your step. You stumble, look down and notice some cracks. Nasty stuff seeps through, making you wonder how deep the cracks go. All of the sudden, you’re frightened.

Because you sincerely want to understand other people’s motivations, no matter how twisted, you pause to play a hypothetical game. Here’s how it works: You board a small plane, track a wolf through the snow in Alaska’s wilderness, giddy at the poor animal’s growing exhaustion. When the creature appears sufficiently weak, you land the aircraft, walk up and shoot it, point-blank. In the head, of course. You wouldn’t want to ruin the fur pelt, which you’ll smooth down on the living-room floor, taking pleasure in knowing that when God created every single animal and plant species 6,000 years ago, he put people smack-dab at the top of the pack so we could justifiably ravage the natural world and viciously kill all the lowly creatures below us.

What, this game doesn’t sound fun?

But we’re talking about vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s belief system, which isn’t scary, right? Sure, she doesn’t see a moral dilemma with aerial hunting, a practice banned by the federal government under the Airborne Hunting Act of 1972, and she’ll sue the Interior Department to prevent the polar bear from being listed as a threatened species. Yes, she’ll even allow the Chevron Corporation to triple the amount of toxic waste it dumps into the Cook Inlet, where the endangered beluga whales swim.

Perhaps she’s too busy fantasizing about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and denying evolution and the role people play in global warming to care about, you know, how rising temperatures are forcing Inupiaq Eskimo villages in northern Alaska to sink slowly into the sea.

You want to smile and mind your own business, you really do. But the surface doesn’t feel so smooth anymore, and there’s that nasty stuff reaching through in the form of a woman who doesn’t support sex education, a mother who’d make a teenage girl bear the child of her rapist.

If Palin becomes vice president, it will be a joke so perverse that feminists and environmentalists will likely break down and sob, leaving conservatives to laugh and say, “Oh, look how silly the bleeding-heart liberals are!”

But environmentalists haven’t worked tirelessly to protect the natural world for Palin to wreak havoc. Nor have thousands of feminists spent the past 100 years struggling for equality and respect and civil rights and less misogyny and more political power and control over our own bodies so that goddamned Sarah Palin could go down in the history books as the first woman to be vice president.

Conservatives: Be warned.