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The capacity for ignorance

Every now and then when I’m bored and looking for a laugh, I venture over to Sarah Palin’s Facebook page and read some of the comments posted by her supporters (of which there are just over 825,000 at this point in time). Predictably, after reading even the first few comments, I’ve had my desired chuckle. The further I progress, however, I find myself getting sucked into depths of ignorance, misinformation, hatred, racism, and stupidity (not to mention extremely poor spelling, grammar and punctuation), the likes of which I can scarcely believe. Inevitably, instead of laughing, I usually end up saddened, angered, and filled with despair for the future of intelligent and compassionate humanity.

You know, I recognize (and value) the fact that that we all have differing opinions (and if I really stretch my sensibilities, I can even see how a person might have initially been attracted to Sarah Palin, way back when she was first introduced to the spotlight). I understand that the spectrum of belief spans from far left to far right and dots every point in between, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way even if I had the power to make the change. I believe that diversity is a good thing… it teaches us, if we’re open, and keeps us all honest. I love a healthy debate, and I’d have to say that some of the more interesting and valuable discussions I’ve had have been with intelligent, open-minded people who disagreed with me on some position or other.

But these rabid, blindered people who call themselves Sarah Palin’s supporters are a different breed altogether. I don’t know that I’ve ever run into an individual like this in “real life” – perhaps I live a sheltered existence up here in little ol’ Canada? – but the thought that they’re “out there” (in more ways than one), propagating lies and hatred, is a disturbing notion.

In a strange way, though, getting these glimpses at the psyche of the fringe has made me look at my own country with new eyes. While I often despair at our disinterest, and wish that we had a bit more passion and excitement for politics in Canada, I’ve come to realize that there are significant consolations to living in a nation of the politically mellow.

Oh, Canada. Thank you.

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Paula Plays August 28, 2009

    I wasn't a fan of Sarah's on FB, and until today I hadn't ever visited her profile/page there. I did so out of curiosity after reading this, and perhaps I didn't read deeply enough but I didn't see anything really horrible (though I am sure there are postings of the like you describe). The thing I take issue with, is how you seem to imply that all of her supporters are lumped into one big glop of illiterate, stupid, and racist humanity. Oh sure, they are out there, and perhaps even a greater percentage than perhaps are fans of any other politician. But not all are, and to be honest, I think you find that sort of thing everywhere on facebook. Just look at the quizzes written by most of the kids (high school and college students). It is more a sad statement about the American educational system (and that itself lends to a discussion as to how effective Government is at running our schools! LOL!) than to blame it all on a political philosophy. Some of the nicest people I know are Sarah fans. And some of the nicest people I know aren't Sarah fans too.

    Terrific blog as usual though. I enjoy your writing and the ideas you put forth. I just think that it is dangerous (and creeps into that territory you despise from those ignorant ones) to label or prejudge people based on who they might be a "fan" of. I'm a Sarah fan, but not for her politics. I happen to like strong women, and I love that she did what she did with a houseful of kids in tow. I can't even seem to make it out of my pajamas some days. 🙂

  • Dawn August 28, 2009

    Thanks for your insightful comments, Paula… I appreciate you taking the time to write out your thoughts on my post.

    I knew you were a fan of SP, but believe me when I say that I definitely DON'T classify you as one of the rabid, blindered fans about whom I was writing! Although we don't necessarily agree on all things (SP being the main one!), I've always respected you as a person and appreciated the manner in which you express your thoughts and beliefs. 🙂

    Certainly not every FB supporter of SP is awful, but honestly, some of the comments I saw that day (and other days when I bothered looking) were shocking and disturbing. I'm not sure if you saw it, but here's an article that illustrates perfectly the sort of thing I'm talking about:

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/142220/sarah_palin%27s_facebook_%27friends%27_celebrate_ted_kennedy%27s_death%3A_%26quot%3Bone_less_socialist%2C%26quot%3B_%26quot%3Bgood_riddens%26quot%3B_/

    Perhaps this is a case of the "vocal minority" colouring my thinking? Or perhaps I'm just easily shocked! What concerns me, though… and this started with the whole "pallin' around with terrorists" thing prior to the election… is that the "fringe" can be a very dangerous thing, and I believe it's the reponsibility of elected officials to make every effort not to cultivate mob mentality among their fringe supporters. There's just too much potential in this day and age for something unspeakably tragic to happen, you know?

    I'm probably not making a lot of sense here, but it's the end of a long week at work and my brain is rather fluffy! Regardless, whether we agree or disagree on things like this, please know that I respect your beliefs and like you very much as a person. 🙂

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