An Easy Job

Well, it still looks like a go for Sarah Palin in the debate tomorrow night. I still think there’s a decent (relatively speaking) chance it won’t happen, but time is clearly running short for that prediction to come true.

One thing I don’t understand about GOP support for Palin is this notion that it’s somehow honorable or preferable for a VP candidate to be a “regular person”. All I know is, I work with a whole bunch of people whom I admire very much for their skill and wisdom. These people aren’t exactly the CEO, either. They’re middle-managers at a large Fortune 500 company, that’s all. But they know their business, they know how to handle relationships, they have proven track records of overcoming obstacles. That’s why they manage lots of people. Meritocracy, you see. And the people above them? Even more impressive.

Do these people who think Palin is qualified, or worse, actually think it’s “neat” that she’s not qualified, not have people around them in daily life that impress them? Can they not see that there are some jobs which require skill and expertise?

We’ve all known the kind of people who sneer at people who do jobs the sneerer could never comprehend, let alone hold. And we’ve all been that person at some point, acted out on that “Everybody else is stupid” mentality. It’s the mentality that makes us believe we could call better plays for the Vikings, even though we don’t know the difference between a trap and a dive. It’s the mentality that makes us think we could run the company better than the CEO, even though we’ve never managed a corporate budget of any size or have any comprehension of the challenges a CEO really faces.

But usually, when push comes to shove, lucid people step back and realize that we aren’t all the same. There’s a reason some people are in higher pay grades than other people, or have vastly different responsibilities, a very good reason that usually has to do with proven competence and a need for results. But lucidity and empathy are not universal.

I draw three conclusions.

1. A lot of the people who support Palin for VP probably suffer from Everybody Else Is Stupid disease. The farther removed these people are from being able to hold a certain job, the more likely they are to believe just about anybody could do that job. And the bigger the gap between the capabilities of people, the more likely these people are to minimize and ridicule that gap by attributing it to “Washington” or “elites” or “media”.

2. People who support Palin for VP don’t believe government is important. Not surprising, given how hard the GOP has worked to dismantle and belittle government since Reagan. So if government isn’t important, just about anybody can work in government.

3. People watch too many movies. They think this is some fucking Disney, Beverly Hillbillies reality shit they can turn off when something new comes along.

And rest assured, something new will come along…in about 33 days.

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One Response to An Easy Job

  1. Katy says:

    I think there’s a little more insidiousness to the “everybody else is stupid” argument. I think that most conservative radio show hosts and the like push this notion that “common sense” is better than actually educating yourself and learning the real issues. This is partly class warfare – the notion that the “blue collar worker” (or “Joe Six-Pack,” if you prefer) knows as much about the world as those snotty Harvard and Yale grads. But it’s simpler than that, really – it’s easy for people to approach issues this way. It’s easy to say that I heard this one radio program or read this one e-mail forward and my gut reaction tells me something is so, and that’s as good as really knowing about the issues. It’s the glorification of ignorance in the name of equality, and Sarah Palin is their poster child.

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