By Jesse Phillips
If I ever go missing, send a search party up to Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
This show, which premiered last night on TLC, accomplished two things I never thought would happen.
- I have started planning a trip with my wife to Alaska. I’m a beach guy who prefers sand and warm weather over mountains. But watching the Palin family fish in a river while witnessing two bears fight on the river bank changed my heart completely. Can somebody tell me Florida’s best salmon-grizzlie hangout spot? Are the ice caps on Mt. Dora frozen this time of year?
- TLC is quickly becoming my favorite television station. As a guy, that’s a bit embarrassing to admit. While it’s tough for me to sit through an hour of the Duggar family knowing the Patriots and Steelers are playing only a few stations away, that small sacrifice was rewarded by Palin showing off the big fence Todd constructed to protect their privacy against the snooping reporter next door, and then recommending that our government take a similar action to protect our boarders. Build a fence to protect a boarder? It worked for the Palin household. Maybe America should try it.
Now, I must admit, TLC is not quite my favorite station yet. That title still goes to Fox News, since they also feature Sarah Palin.
Celebrity Politics & Barak Obama
This show–and some discussion I had on Facebook last night–got me thinking about celebrity politics. I’m convinced the only reason President Obama was elected was because of how the media propped him up, so that he attained this celebrity status, became a household name, and swayed a significant portion of our youth vote by his personality and likability. Had we exercised more discretion and actually paid attention to his pre-presidency policies, he would never have been elected. Here’s just a few of the things he said prior to being elected:
- The Constitution is a flawed document and a product of the colonial racist tendencies
- The government’s job, Joe Plumber, is to redistribute wealth
- We need single-payer, nationalized health care
Had anyone been paying attention to these statements, the dangerous policies of the last few years could have been avoided. I’m not sure John McCain would have been a bastion of conservatism himself, but I doubt we would have had McCain Care (maybe JohnnyCare?) or the threats of Cap & Trade, military drawbacks, federally funded abortion and government buyout and nationalization of every major industry that we face under our our current administration.
As many Palin opponents point out, Barak Obama shows us the danger of celebrity politics. Just because a person is popular doesn’t mean they should become president. In fact, the electoral college prevents the presidency from being decided by a popular vote, evidence that the founders tried to prevent this very thing from happening.
Our First Celebrity President: Ronald Reagan
Later on in the evening, after watching Sarah Palin’s Alaska, I flipped over to Fox News where they were running a special by Brit Hume called The Right All Along: The Rise, Fall & Future of Conservatism.
This first episode featured Ronald Reagan and his transition from a Hollywood acting career to the California governors’ office, a move that ultimately positioned him for a run at the White House. If not our first, Reagan is certainly the most recent example of a celebrity becoming president prior to Barak Obama.
Hollywood created the Reagan ascendancy , just like it did for Obama. Now, it seems to be doing the same thing for Sarah Palin. This is not a new tendency, nor is Barak Obama the best example of it. Ultimately, given the difficulty of running for our nation’s highest office, the influence of the media is a reality we cannot avoid.
The more fundamental question is not whether the media is propping someone up or the personality of that person. What we should consider is character and beliefs of the person being propped up. Had we been asking these questions about Obama, he would have never been elected. If we ask these questions of Palin, I think we’ll find someone with great character and principled conservative beliefs.
Looking to 2012
Now, don’t take this as an endorsement of Palin. I really like her, and she makes me want to visit Alaska. I certainly think the videos of her firing rifles provide a great contrast to those of our president throwing pitches that land closer to first base than home plate. However, I think I’d probably vote for New Jersey Gov. Christie over Palin if given the choice. Anyone who takes benefits away from unions like taking candy from a baby will get my vote, even if he is much uglier than Sarah.
My point here is not to endorse anyone, but simply to point out that celebrity politics have certain dangers, as Barak Obama proves. It can however, produce great leaders like Ronald Reagan.
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