There is some language that I've intentionally avoided when talking about Sarah Palin. You won't ever hear me say "I feel sorry for her." You won't hear me say "I have sympathy for her." and you won't won't hear me say "I feel bad for her." I don't feel sorry for her and I don't feel bad for her. I do have sympathy for her--the same sympathy that's required whenever you try to write honestly and engagingly about people you don't know.

I want to be clear--please don't ever confuse my quest to understand those whose core beliefs are different from mine with a wavering of my own. Do not think that because I am attempting to look at the world from someone else's perspective that I believe that that invalidates my own perspective. Writing is fighting, as the great Ishmael Reed once said. Any serious combatant in this piece better be doing his homework, and trying to get a thorough  understanding of his opponents. On one level, he may have to concede that his opponents are right--but even in that there are tactics; the combatant coops his opponents moves and makes them his own. But on the straight-up pugilist level, there is simply the point of knowing your opponent. When you ridicule them and are dismissive of them, when you condescend to them and offer them your pity, you underestimate them.

I, on some level, relate to Sarah Palin. On another level, I relate to McCain. But I'm not interested in the false choice of either you hate them, or your coddling them. There are plenty of places on the web where we can go to unleash our rage and vent at the opposition. Personally, I'll always prefer the dagger...

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