Why Jews Like Me Hate Sarah Palin
Yesterday I was on the subway, and I didn’t get a seat. This happens often. As I hung onto the bar, I threw up a little in my mouth. Why? The woman sitting right in front of my waist was reading Going Rogue. Why would a Black woman from Harlem or the Bronx (my stop on the express train is the first after it passes through the Bronx and Harlem) be reading Sarah Palin’s stupid book?
There was a post on Gawker today, by Pareene, asking “Why do the Jews hate Sarah Palin so much?” I dug a little deeper, reading the Commentary piece and subsequent rebuttal referenced in the Gawker post, because I am a Jew, and I think Palin is a big pile of wasted space.
Jennifer Rubin points out that Palin is pro-life, while many Jews are not. (Gawker summarizes Rubin’s argument by saying, “basically that American Jews dislike Palin because of all of her bullshit rural working-class signifiers: large family, no formal education, folksy, hunting, etc. Jews, per Rubin, hate that stuff.”) My opinion only (and feel free to cut me up in the comments – after my post about Birthright, I can take it) is that genetic testing prevents bringing suffering into the world. Jewish law states that any pregnancy that will cause harm, emotionally or physically, is a pregnancy that can be terminated. End of story.
Palin is all about church, while Jews generally believe in the separation between church and state. Palin is a huntin’ hockey mom living at the very edge of Alaska, where, perched on her couch, she can see Russia, while Jews populate the big cities and slaughter goats with intentionality instead of hunting. She attended multiple universities on the way to earning but one degree, while Jews are generally urban, educated, Blue State dwellers. She’s from the rugged outback, while Jews pretend to be outdoorsy in their North Face Fleeces.
I may support Pareene’s criticism:
This strikes us as fairly reductive and inflammatory! Like basically Jews are all urban cosmopolitan elites sneering at stupid hard-working Christians, and all that? Ok, Commentary! If you say so!
Jews, as a group, tend to be hard-working. We work in a variety of fields, from running restaurants to writing in the blogosphere, from professing in the halls of higher education to teaching kindergarten. Sure, some of us love outdoor adventures, and have excellent shooting skills. As a camp person, I love spending a couple of nights sleeping in a tent and cooking over a fire.
David Frum’s response points out that Palin is just scary to anybody who doesn’t want to see American divided into first- and second-class citizens. Pareene states that there are many reasons not to like Palin. But when it comes down to it, at least for me, there is a visceral reaction to a woman in a position of influence who is just not smart. I will not deny her facility with PR, as she certainly has a team of people who know how to make a name for her.
McCain had a chance as a presidential candidate, and by choosing the sideshow that was and is Sarah Palin, he made it a lot easier for Obama to get elected. So, I will continue to grimace at mentions of Sarah Palin, Russia, her house, and her stupid, stupid book. But I will do it from a Blue State, where my BS and MA keep me warm at night, after eating a large dinner of kosher, organic turkey and relaxing in one of my many camp t-shirts or fleeces.