I’m sorry about this, but I have to comment. Sarah Palin was back in her natural habitat (Facebook) to walk back her comments to Jake Tapper that Pope Francis surprised her with comments that “sound kind of liberal.” Now she says that she was deceived by the media. After talking to “Catholic friends” (Third on the list after “Black friends” and “Jewish friends.”) she has learned that, “Pope Francis is as sincere and faithful a shepherd of his church as his two [very conservative -FM] predecessors whom I admired.” Oh my.
Let’s just leave aside all the religious stuff. Palin apparently knows as much about religion as the average American Christian: nothing. What bothers me is her apparent definition of the word “liberal.” Based upon her comments, “liberal” is a synonym of “evil” or at very least “stupid.” It doesn’t define a way of thinking that she disagrees with. It is, as best I can tell, simply a pejorative or an expletive. “Get away from that liberal PlayStation and come do your homework!”
I shouldn’t be surprised. Conservatives worked very hard for decades to vilify the word “liberal.” And at this point, I’m well aware that the word has lost almost all of its power to scare anyone other than the hardcore conservatives themselves. But I had thought that at least it meant the standard things: a bleeding heart who wants to do the right thing but is totally screwed up. You know: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But I have seen this the last couple of decades. That is what conservatives meant BC (Before Clinton). But since then, they seem to have moved on to thinking that liberals are actively evil people.
This goes along with the modern revolutionary Republican Party. The Democrats don’t just disagree with them on policy; they are actively trying to destroy America. And given that they think that, it is no wonder that every new policy results in calls of Armageddon. There is certainly some of that on the left, but it isn’t the entire Democratic base. As for me, the Republican Party is very simple: a party for the super rich that uses racial and sexual (that is, abortion rights) anxiety to be able to win elections. I don’t think the base of the Republican Party is evil, just terribly manipulated.
What’s more, I have nothing against the idea of conservatism. I too believe in culture and continuity and respect and responsibility. But I don’t see too much of that on display in American conservatism. As I said, it has become a radicalized movement. Most of its proponents don’t want to save the past; they want to invent the past. Only a month ago, I came upon the blog I Am a Black Mother—a website of a white southern woman who has adopted a black child. There, I found one of the most vile discussions (which very much included the “black mother”) about how slave owners treated their slaves well and most slaves were happy. Now, I don’t know of any conservatives who want to go back to that fantasy past, but there are lots and lots who want to go back to the fantasy past when blacks “knew their place” and women were just thrilled to be in a world where “a girl could still cook and still would.”
Palin, of course, if part of a whole new wave of conservative leaders: people who came from the base itself. And the dangerous thing about her is that unlike the traditional Republican elites, she actually believes the propaganda. So clearly: Democrats aren’t just the other major party that Republicans do battle with over policy disputes. The Democrats are evil by nature. In other words, they are liberal. And to call the Pope liberal is the same as calling him the Antichrist.