Don't be fooled by the flag pin. When all is said and done, it's all about Sarah 24/7.
One of the indicators of people who have moved from reasoned position of advocacy to a narcissistic need to excuse their unbridled 'enthusiasm' is when they make it very obvious the things they purport to espouse do not apply to them. Sarah Palin's latest video in defense of her purposefully militant rhetoric is a classic demonstration of this pattern. First she states the following to distance herself from any culpability in the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords:
"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them."
Shortly there after she says this to make herself the victim, apparently oblivious to the fact she is now accusing the left of doing precisely what she says the language of the right does not do:
"Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn."
Sarah Palin is asking us to believe the left is capable of influencing the actions of others through rhetoric and association, but the right is not. When a mentally ill young man actually does use an assault rifle to target a congresswoman Palin herself has asked to be targeted, that 's just an unrelated coincidence. It's the rhetoric of the left that causes all the problems.
This is a neat trick because it works with people who primarily use their reasoning faculties to support their own positions and then tear down their perceived opponents positions. As I wrote the other day, this is sort of the classic use of intellectual reasoning for people James Fowler has described as Stage III on his spiritual maturity scale. The more emotion behind Stage III people, the more illogical their own take on things. The human capacity to generate reasons for personal behavior is virtually limitless. Some of the hardest clients to work with are intelligent people who use their intelligence to generate one rationalization after another to avoid personal responsibility for their dysfunctional behavior. It can sometimes seem like an endless battle in a therapeutic setting. In a political setting, used by a national leader, it's damned dangerous.
I wish someone with more computer savvy than I have could put together a Utube video juxtaposing the thinking of Gabby Giffords with Sarah Palin. It would certainly serve to illustrate the difference in world view and conceptual thinking between two very different politicians. This ability to get beyond one's own narcissistic needs and move into higher levels of spiritual maturity is not dependent on a progressive or conservative world view. Two of my all time favorite priests were sacramental and theological conservatives, but totally other centered, and way way beyond using their lives to serve their ego needs. Just as I have met many a progressive whose 'other centeredness' was just barely skin deep. Scratch the surface and I found a narcissist in liberal clothing. Maturity is not totally influenced by one's political or religious views, but one's level of maturity certainly does influence how one expresses and acts on those views.
Maybe the way around the political impasse is to stop categorizing people on the basis of the political scale, and start looking at politicians from a narcissism or maturity scale. If a given politician's motivation is really all about them, it doesn't matter what side of the political spectrum their public persona happens to espouse. The odds are their constituents are going to get screwed. The same is true with religious leadership, and unfortunately for Roman Catholicism, our current leadership is too full of clerical Palin's rather than clerical Gifford's.
The one thing I don't get about Pope Benedict and his constant homilizing on the evil's of selfish secularism, is why he refuses to see that same self centered culture has been fully instrumental in the formation of our clerical culture. The rise of 'pomp and ceremony' clerics with in the priestly ranks is not a sign of the Holy Spirit energising the traditional church so much as it's a sign of enculturated narcissism playing out in a clerical setting. Hardly the mental formation from which selfless saints are made. Truthfully today's young conservative cleric resembles the clergy of Benedict's youth in clerical clothes only. Just as the political Palin's of our current political climate do not resemble the politicians who had the guts to make tough decisions for the good of this country in previous generations. Back in the day when the government actually worked somewhat for the common good.
One of the discussions I hope the US might start to embark on is what do we really want in our politicians. If maturity is a desired trait, then the Palin's of the world need to be exposed. It's one thing to have a Palin personality espousing personal delusions as a talking head on Fox, but another thing entirely to have her representing the most powerful nation on earth from that same level of intense faultless self absorption. That scenario would be akin to having our own version of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and that's a scary thought.