Monday, September 15, 2008

Permission To Like Sarah Palin

I gotta say, I find this advice to Obama supporters from Sean Quinn quite disturbing. Not that I think he's wrong -- in fact, I think he's probably right -- but because I am appalled that people would allow an emotional response to triumph over a logical one, especially when their last emotional response got us eight years of Bush and everything that's come with it. I know I can be kind of a cold hearted bitch and all, but, seriously, I just don't understand it.

For the inquiring ones, the reason I immediately zeroed in on Palin's acute lack of substance (my Obama support notwithstanding) is because I recognized it. I see it all the time in my profession... and even in myself. Ambition + good presentation + a good reputation will very often result in getting into positions that are over your head, into a job you are not qualified to do. And when you get really far in over your head, no amount of superficial prep work (such as cramming for an interview) will hide the fact that you don't understand the fundamentals (such as F&F and the Bush Doctrine). And if you don't understand the fundamentals, you will be unable to attach perspective to even your most basic judgments. Some things just can't be bluffed.

When I started my first IT job 18 years ago, I could not tell the difference between a printer and a tape drive. Or an air conditioning unit, for that matter. My ex-husband's friend had gotten me an interview at the insurance company where he worked and told me not to worry about my lack of experience... that they would train me. I turned in an application along with my very thin resume (waitress, receptionist, bartender). But I was clean cut and kind of good looking back then, and, thanks to my mom, capable of conjugating a verb properly. They hired me even with my zero knowledge of IT.

The reason I had zero knowledge of IT, by the way, is because I had never been interested enough in computers to obtain any. I was completely incurious on the topic. I was never interested enough in programming to learn it, I was never interested enough in engineering to learn it, I was never interested in operations enough to take even a single class on the subject. What I was interested in was money, and this job was $8.50 an hour... a fortune.

On my first day I was introduced to the CIO (or VP, really, by today's standards). From behind his big cherry veneer desk he told me this: "We can tell you which buttons to press and in what order to press them but you will never understand this job unless you either have the educational background for it or commit to the time it takes to build a foundation. You won't be able to get promoted until you have the skills required to read a situation correctly so you can provide the necessary response." Quite the pep talk, right? But it was $8.50 an hour and I wouldn't have cared if he'd told me he ate kittens for breakfast.

So I pressed the buttons they told me to press and in the order they told me to press them without understanding any of the logic behind it. It took four years before I progressed to the next level. It's not because I was stupid or lazy but because I started so far in the hole as far as knowledge and education that it took me forever to break even and even longer to excel.

When I hear Sarah Palin's story, that's what I think of. I can see clearly that she is in over her head. And when I saw that she didn't know what Freddie and Fannie are, or what the Bush doctrine is, I knew it was because she was never interested enough before to find out. Which is perfectly fine given the fact that she was busy with her family and her job, etc. But this isn't some IT job at an insurance company... this is the VP pick for a 70 year old presidential candidate.

I don't want someone in there who is only now learning what they need to know because they want the job... I want someone in there who wants the job because of what they've already learned. With her journalism degree, I doubt she's even qualified for governor. By all accounts, her popularity is directly attributed to the fact that 1) her predecessor was a total dirtbag, and 2) she has windfall-taxed the oil companies to give $3000 apiece to the Alaskan citizens (which begs the question of why she needed all that earmark money from the Federal govt, but I digress...).

So that's what I have against Palin. That, and she obviously has more ego than honor, given her penchant for accepting credit and gushing applause she hasn't earned. Oh yeah, and the ease with which she lies to my face, like I'm one of the sheeple she can manipulate to suit her ambition.

Honestly, I don't know how to stop pointing out that she's LYING to us and misrepresenting her fitness for this office, just to avoid alienating the people who find her likable. I don't understand how that could make me an elitist... me with my community college degree and my middle class, middle-aged, mother-of-three existence. I am just as "authentic" and down to earth as any Palin supporter.


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