How can I resist this quote when the burghers of the backwaters lined up this week to yet again worship at the moth-eaten, mad cow-diseased altar of Sarah Palin? According to the sly reporting of the New York Times, these people swore they would “take back their country” by doing everything in their power to get her into the White House. That they hadn’t read her new book or had any ideas what she would do if actually elected was beside the point.
Of course, if you purchase the secret redneck decoder ring (available at your local Wal-Mart), it all translates to: “Goddamn, what is this uppity Mooslim, Commie Socialist Nigra doing runnin’ MY country??? Lock away all the white wummin and get me my scopin’ rifle!”
Not unlike Barack Obama, Lincoln put up with this crap every single day of his political career until the nut cases indeed finally did him in. That quote – one of the few attributed to him that is dead on yet doesn’t soar – crystallizes the black exasperation he often felt. He represented a new paradigm: a bootstrapping backwoodsman with an intellectual’s temperament few people “got” until it was too late. The only previous President he had resembled to any degree was Andrew Jackson, like him a rural striver, but one fortunate enough to enjoy huge success as a commander during the War of 1812, and shrewd enough to exploit it for political gains. Otherwise, Jackson was just as hot-headed, paranoid and trigger-happy as his fellow Tennesseeans.
Indeed, Lincoln so alienated the Southern states that according to the eminent Civil War historian Shelby Foote, not even a “crank” redneck cast a vote for him in 1860. It’s fascinating that as recently as 50 years ago – when Foote used that term – that someone who thought Lincoln was fit for the presidency would be considered a crank.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, being one of the few mouth-smashing liberals in America, I believe it is time for the Sarah Palin rooters to leave the building. There is simply no rational explanation for their desire to elevate such a bumptious half-wit to such a powerful office. It only demonstrates this nation has too large an ignorant and prejudiced populace, one that refuses to be educated for its own good. Moreover, it will gladly use that ignorance to serve a malignant desire to imperil us all. At a time when there are simply too many short and long-term crises to solve, it would best serve the country to do what Lincoln did when he suspended habeus corpus during the Civil War – going beyond the Constitution in the short-term to preserve in the long-term.
Which is why I remembered the Great Emancipator’s quote, and why Russia would be the perfect destination for them. Here’s why:
1. Putin & Medvedev = Bush & Cheney…But Forever!
When George W. Bush said he looked Vladimir Putin in the eye in 2001 and was “able to get a sense of his soul,” it may have been the only intuitive observation of his entire presidency. Both men are glaringly alike: incurious, autocratic megalomaniacs who not only disdain the opposition, but believe it shouldn’t exist at all. Putin, as a matter fact, could be a template for the “unitary presidency,” that technocratic little term the neo-con fascists cobbled together during Bush’s first term as an excuse for marginalizing Congress and smashing the Constitution into rubble.
Putin was forced out of the presidency by term limits last year, but he assumed the presumably lesser prime minister’s role, with his dimwitted puppet Dmitry Medvedev assuming his old job. But really, everyone knows who’s calling the shots. Sound like a familiar relationship? Yet unlike the Bush/Cheney duet, these guys will have held power at least 16 years, and likely beyond that. This should be a very reassuring arrangement for the new arrivals.
2. The rich, and only the rich, are in charge
No bigger oligopoly exists on Earth than Roosha, where the only people who have the ears of politicians are the obscenely rich, and everyone else might as well live on Neptune – or else. Stepping out of line can still land you in one of those gulags Uncle Joe Stalin was so fond of. Indeed, only $150 annually is spent on healthcare per capita! Thousands of doctors have been laid off and hundreds of hospitals have been closed in recent years. It’s a right-winger’s dreamland: if you can get rich, God bless you. Otherwise, shut the fock up!!
3. They shoot journalists, don’t they?
The Committee to Protect Journalists announced in September that Russia was not only one of the most dangerous places on earth to ply the trade, but one of the worst at solving their murders. Witness Anna Politkoskayva, Russia’s equivalent of Dana Priest, the Washington Post reporter who broke the stories on the CIA’s secret “black sites.” After being unsuccessfully poisoned at least once, she was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building in 2006. The killers have never been found; some low-level thugs were tried earlier this year, but acquitted. All those code words about the “mainstream media,” “media elite,” “liberal bias” and Fox News’ “Fair and Balanced” slogan boil down to a desire to slaughter anybody who tries to unearth the truth. You couldn’t find a better place to nurture such kindred spirits.
4. Nyet, we have no environment
Russia is in some parallel universe regarding environmental protections. Its factories belch unfiltered smoke, even the most rural portions of Siberia are covered with garbage, and everyone smokes. Oh, and no one – NO ONE – wears seatbelts, an amusing prospect where most of the roads are rutted mudtracks and little is spent to improve or even maintain them. A perfect home for all the naysayers who insist that global warming is a myth and that the government intrudes too much in their lives. And since the average life expectancy of a Russian is about 15 years less than it is for Americans, I will have to listen to them grumble about wanting to live free for significantly less time.
5. But Sarah May Still Visit!
Those departed compatriots of mine may still cast a wistful eye toward the Motherland as they adjust to their new life in Roosha, but have no fears. Sarah Palin always insisted she could see Roosha from her backyard. Assuming that is correct, you’ll have no problems stealing admiring glimpses of her. Of course, she won’t be able to hear you, but take comfort in the fact she never listened to you anyway. And since you’re doing this to make your country a better place to live, Honest Abe would no doubt be proud. If you ask me if it’s the right thing to do, I only have two words: You Betcha!