Lately, I’ve found a new addiction – I don’t recommend it to anyone for much of anything – it’s the domain of people who think they can get rich clicking on ads on various affiliate ad websites (don’t EVEN get me started on THOSE). This particular one pays people a few fractions of a cent for starting and contributing to “discussions” on such diverse topics as “do you like your coffee hot or you drink it cooler?” and “making money do click.bux better or mybux?” One of their most active discussion topics is politics, and THAT is the source of my addiction.

It’s like watching a slow-motion scene from a horror movie, knowing what’s coming, seeing the zippers in the costume and still… still… not being able to look away. It’s like watching a couple of eight-year-olds debate economics and foreign policy – except that it’s excusable and understandable when eight-year-olds quote their parents as the ultimate authority. When it’s adults debating about presidential candidates, it’s scary stuff. We have one person who consistently quotes ‘news’ from YouTube mashups of candidates’s speeches and interviews as ‘reliable’ and ‘credible’ sources. Others routinely cobble together posts that are nothing more than repeated gossip of the most vile kind.

The sad part of all this is that these posters are not confined to one side. While the largest number of those barely intelligible, rabid posts tend to be from conservatives blindly cut-and-pasting articles from the most conservative right scare publications they can find, there are plenty of Democrat supporters that are just as bad. The blind acceptance of anything they read on their favorite media-trash sites scares the ever-lovin’ shit out of me.

The total lack of critical thinking and examination of what they’re reading is frightening. This is something that we need to be teaching our kids in school. They need to understand how to recognize spin, how to discern facts from propaganda, how to see when they are being deliberately misled by sensationalism. We’re hurt on two fronts by this – on the one hand, the sensational right media can post all the unchecked speculative garbage that they want and the right-brained sheep swallow it whole and repeat it at the top of their lungs. On the other hand, the sensational left media posts all the sensational garbage they can find without substantiating any of it, where the left-brained sheep latch onto it and repost it on their blogs and the right screams that the liberal media is crucifying their candidates and the only news that they can trust is Fox News (can I just tell you that I’d die laughing at that if I weren’t so close to crying about it?)

The truth is we shouldn’t be so surprised about the popularity of the McCain/Palin ticket. Remember the scene in Sweet Home Alabama where Reese Witherspoon hauls off and slugs Candice Bergen, hollering “Don’t you ever talk to my mama that way!” and the entire wedding breaks out in applause?  It was the triumph of small-town values over big city polish. It was the guy standing up to say “My quarterback can beat up your honor student”. It’s the resentment of Joe Ordinary bubbling over in the face of one too many elitist snob telling him he’s too dumb to manage his own money.

That’s the sentiment that we’re seeing in action in this campaign. Sarah is the champion of hockey, mom and apple pie. The plucky little PTA mom single-handedly swept out corruption in her little town, then moved on to the big city to do the same thing – now she’s going to get all those smarty-pants college professors and community organizers who think they know better than us how we should be running our lives. Barack Obama is the quintessential “elite”, born in a state most of us only dream of visiting, a cosmopolitan world citizen, well-educated, editor of the Harvard Review, well-spoken and proposing that if the U.S. is a world leader, then it’s time we started leading responsibly instead of playing bully. When little Miss Sarah started tossing off snide jibes at Barack and the Democratic party, she spoke to the high school kid in all of us. She reached out and embraced the side of us that resents the boss and the slick-talking guy that got the promotion we deserved. The only thing better (in their minds) than watching Palin take sly digs at Obama would be seeing her haul off and punch Hilary.

Unfortunatley for us, Miss Sarah is not Reese Witherspoon and this is not a movie script. The folks writing HER lines are not slick Hollywood writers who’ll deliver us a happily ever after ending. They’re the same writers that have managed to destroy every bit of good will that the U.S. had with most of the rest of the world. They’ve made us a laughingstock with most of the civilized world who can’t believe what they’re seeing, and they’ve written policies that allowed financial giants to gut our economy with little to no oversight.

The real joke is on us. Sarah Palin is a small-town hustler with a taste for big-city power and greed. She’s not Daisy Duke, she’s Boss Hogg with a little extra shrewdness. She’s the epitome of the small-town politician who rose to power by ruthless exercise of power and native cunning. And while that may fly in a little town (and despite it’s physical size, the state of Alaska is a small town in many ways), on the international stage she’s a little guppy trying to swim with the sharks.

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