It's worth noting this interesting piece by Rebecca Traister which attacks those of us who, from Traister's perspective, feel sorry for Palin. I would be included in that bunch. I don't begrudge Traister her opinion--hell, half my blog is made up of me attacking other writers and bloggers. Nothing wrong with the come back. I also appreciate that Traister made an effort to seperate me from the pity party.
Still, two things stood out for me. The first being this idea that the only reason for trying to understand the other side, is the expectation that they'll do the same:
Palin is tough as nails. She will bite the head off a moose and move on. So, no, I don't feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for women who have to live with what she and her running mate have wrought.
I can't really address the "feel sorry" deal, as I've never said that I do feel sorry for Palin. But to the point of empathy and humanity, this idea of trying to imagine what even the opposition is going through, and incorporating that in your thought process, and in your writing, I don't do that out of some hope that conservatives will do the same for me. Frankly, I don't much care.
I empathize because it's good for me, because it allows me another vantage point, because it's good for my intellectual health. I didn't write that piece to do Sarah Palin a favor. I wrote it to expand my own understanding of the situation. Thus what Palin--or her allies would do in response--is basically irrelevant. True empathy is a selfish act, not a favor done on someone else's behalf. You don't try to understand people because you expect something in return--the understanding is the return.
The second thing was this:
Coates asserts that McCain "[tossed] her to the wolves" and notes that while she surely had some agency in this whole mess, "where I am from the elders protect you, and pull you back when you've gone too far, when your head has gotten too big."
Where I come from, a woman -- and especially a woman governor with executive experience -- doesn't have to rely on any elder or any man to protect her and pull her ass out of the fire.
Fair enough. But that's not a place I'd ever want to go. If there was no one to pull my ass out the fire, to check my ego, to say "slow your roll kiddo," I assure you, I would not have this blog, or much else.
UPDATE: I should add that Rebecca sent me a kind note about this. We disagree--respectfully, but I've never really believed in internet beef. Also, we both share a sense of horror at the prospect of VP Palin.
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