Dumb Like Me: Populism as Political Punishment

Here is a headline from the New York Times published on November 21, 1922:


A week ago, Sarah Palin gave a Populist speech promoting the uprising of the citizenry against a repressive government:

Sarah Palin declared “America is ready for another revolution” and repeatedly assailed President Barack Obama on Saturday before adoring “tea party” activists. They make up a seemingly natural constituency should she run for president.

“This movement is about the people,” the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee said as the crowd roared. “Government is supposed to be working for the people.”

Palin note Democrats’ electoral losses since Obama took office a year ago with talk of hope and promises of change and asked: “How’s that hope-y, change-y stuff workin’ out for you?”

Her audience waved flags and erupted in cheers during multiple standing ovations as Palin gave the keynote address at the first national convention of the “tea party” coalition. It’s an anti-establishment, grass-roots network motivated by anger over the growth of government, budget-busting spending and Obama’s policies.

Palin cribbed her speech from the palm of her hand:

Here’s how the New York Times described Hitler’s Populist rise in 1922:

Here’s what Sarah Palin said on February 6, 2010:

The events surrounding the Christmas Day plot reflect the kind of thinking that led to September 11th. That threat then . . . as the U.S.S. Cole was attacked . . . our Embassies were attacked . . . It was treated like an international crime spree, not like an act of war. We’re seeing that mindset again settle into Washington. That scares me for my children and for your children. Treating this like a mere law enforcement matter places our country at grave risk. Because that’s not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this. They know we’re at war. And to win that war, we need a commander-in-chief, not a PROFESSOR OF LAW STANDING AT THE LECTERN!

When charismatic people attempt to take power on the backs of a Populist movement — the threat to the people is quite real — because every megalomaniac believes they are the predestined chosen one anointed to lead a people into the victory of a promised land, and it doesn’t matter who bleeds or dies on the way there.

Populism — a political movement that relies on direct identification of the people with the candidate — is always required to fail as a political movement because the people unwisely only wish to see “someone like them” reflected in the values and policies of the candidate.  Nothing else matters but the “we’ll show them!” mantra that has destroyed many civilizations.

Populists — always clever, cutting, and shiny — claim to have the best
interests of the people in hand, but they are really only serving to
advance their own, narrow, and hateful position that will create, for
them alone, the power to publicly punish their enemies and to create
private wealth for family and sycophants. 

Political
opportunists who believe they carry the will of the common folk are
phonies in need of exposure.  We require leaders who are smarter than
the middle of us and who are more heavily invested is salvaging the
goodness of everyone instead of conveniently demonizing the political
minority for polling place profit.

When a politician tears down
instead of building up — we must first always wonder why nothing of
value is offered in-between the destruction of ideas.  They ask us to
follow and to blindly do their bidding in the field — but to what end
and for what harvested price?  Where are they leading us beyond the
pathway of their own self-aggrandizement and monotheistic view that they
alone are the only one capable of punishing the non-believers? 
Retribution without universal human ascension always fails the values test.

Populism
always ends up shattered in the sky and rotting in the ground as the
charismatic leader is ultimately revealed to be nothing more than a
tone-deaf pitch pipe — effectively conjured for show by shadowy
co-conspirators — crafted only to sing for the hateful sad and to
bemuse the lonely misbegotten who are all forever willing to follow the
fallow field into the riverbed for drowning.

The trick of
surviving the destruction of viral Populism is to unveil its bleeding
underbelly before it infects the rest of us with a hatred that incarcerates, and then kills,
everyone in its midst.

8 comments

  • Truly a vile, despicable woman. A quitter for the sake of the holy dollar, and yet has the audacity to get up and tell people about how bad the leaders are that didn’t resign after a year of service.

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  • It is amazing how popular she is, Gordon. You’d think she wrote her own obituary as a quitter — yet she still thrives with book sales and a mobbing popularity. I wonder if she’d still be around if she had an uglier face and body?
    The danger in her sort of Populism is she easily controls 30% of the of voters — 100% of the hate vote — and alone she can do no lasting damage… but couple her with a more friendly GOP-er with 30%…. and you quickly have a 60% majority for the presidency and that’s all she wants… is to get in the door… and her handlers will do the rest of her bidding for 8 years.
    She is a threat and to mark her off as anything else is to be fooled by a world history rife with elected stupidity.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    She looked a little frail in the picture…good days gone?
    Jokes apart, I remember seeing a video clipping of her book-signing or something simiar…those who were going ga ga over there couldn’t come up with one constructive/ positive sentence about her activity…but still overwhelmed by her “charisma”…what was that exactly? How blind people can be? More importantly, why? Just because blind support doesn’t take much thinking…?

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  • She has a fevered, dedicated, following because they identify with her. “She’s just like me” unwittingly translates into “She’s just as dumb as I am” and they LOVE that feeling of sensing power and teaching a lesson to the “educated elite” who have “repressed” them for so long. Populism is about anger and revenge and hatred — and that’s why it’s really dangerous before it always fails.

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