May 15, 2011

Palin and Trump the New "Know-Nothings"

By The Radical

Okay, let me try and wrap my head around this . Two of the leading "big names" in the Republican Presidential sweepstakes are ,for the lack of a better term, celebrity candidates.

The first in line is the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Now this is a woman, who quit half way through her first term in a major political office, thus leaving the citizens of Alaska in the dust to pursue her own selfish interests. This self-appointed media critic, who had the audacity to criticize the show American Idol, stating in her book, "America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag", that the show has nurtured a "cult of self-esteem" through the lack of honest criticism of the talent of the contestants. She opines: "No one they have encountered in their lives-from parents to teachers to their president-wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth".

Of course, as a paragon of virtue, this woman often pulled aside her daughter, Bristol, when she was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars", urging her to stop the charade and quit the show. And, of course, being such a truth-teller, she never showed up in the audience of that show, to avoid any photo opportunity to falsely acknowledge the concept of Bristol's "dancing" talent. Nor, did she ever embrace the "cult of self-esteem" by hosting a reality show on TLC called "Sarah Palin's Alaska" in order to jump start a 2012 Presidential bid. But , then again, the show ran only nine episodes, so someone told Mrs. Palin "no" and yet she is now wandering the political landscape like a rogue elephant in attending those nativist Tea Party gatherings attempt to glom onto more attention and adoration that she feels that others do not deserve. Hmmm...Pot Kettle Black!!

Now, we call attention to the second leading celebrity candidate, Donald Trump. For some reason, "The Donald" , as he likes to be called, (no "cult of self-esteem" here!) has jumped onto the birther bandwagon, which is like another clown joining the circus. When "The Donald" claimed that President Obama had not produced a true birth certificate proving his American citizenship , "The Donald" offered to produce his birth certificate. Well, the first time he attempted to do this he failed to produce said proof of American birth, instead releasing a "certificate of live birth". After realizing his faux pas, "The Donald" produced his "birth certificate' the next day without acknowledging his own mistake . And after the White House released the President’s birth certificate, “The Donald” crowed, “ Today I am very proud of myself because I have accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.” in taking credit for this release. Never mind the fact, that the President’s birth certificate has been available online for the past three years, and those who have denied Obama’s Hawaiian birth are a few bricks shy of a full load , “The Donald” shows the ego has landed. Perhaps “The Donald” would also like to take the credit for bottled water, the invention of baseball and sunshine while he is at it.

And, of course, Trump's major qualification for the Presidency seems to be the ability to draw the spotlight on himself, while spinning yarns about his business successes and failures with the stress on the former and the begrudging acknowledgement on the latter. All the time, during this tale telling, he attempts to portray himself as an upstanding classy moral figure . Now, seeing himself as a upstanding moral figure, "The Donald" fails to understanding that working on your third marriage is not really a sign of practicing family values (see Gingrich, Newt) or that parroting the racist dogma of the Birthers is not a sign of class.

Both of these celebrity Presidential candidates have reminded me of another chapter of American History. The first major nativist political movement in the United States occurring the 1840's and 1850's and were called the "Know Nothings". And with the current example of xenophobia embraced by the Birthers and paid lip service by both Palin and Trump, perhaps knowing nothing is the best qualification for the Republican Presidential nomination!

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