I freely admit that the recent revelations about Sarah Palin’s past gave me a certain degree of schadenfreude. To see someone who so blatantly exploited latent racism among fearful middle class whites exposed as someone with a history of interracial intimacy is certainly satisfying to some degree. However much we may chuckle at her embarrassment, we also know that it is not right to exploit it. She may be a public figure, but she has a right to a private past.
The point is worth repeating: Sarah Palin has a right to a private past. We don’t have a political office with the title “President of Fidelity”. Whether someone has had one sexual partner or a thousand is completely irrelevant to his or her fitness for public office. The only person who has any legitimate business in any of this is Todd Palin, he and Sarah don’t deserve to have their private business out there for us to ridicule. One wonders if it would have gotten as much attention if her fling had been with a white player. If not, it says worse about us than it does about Palin.
It wasn’t that long ago that news of an extramarital or premarital affair was a death sentence for a politician. It wasn’t that long ago that Diana Spencer’s father publicly certified her virginity. We’ve come a long way since then. For us to prattle about Palin’s sexual history would be hypocritical and backward-thinking.
It’s also time we grew up about drug use. A lot of us try it without becoming addicts or career criminals. Bill Clinton admitted to smoking weed, with the widely disbelieved disclaimer that he didn’t inhale. Now, we wouldn’t care if he did. Barack Obama admits to having tried cocaine. Now it turns out, Sarah Palin may have been no stranger to coke. So what? There is no evidence that she was an addict, there is no evidence that she was a dealer. Since she is not a current user and seems none the worse for it, her alleged drug use in her past is no more of our business than her sexual history.
Sarah Palin is in no way qualified to be president. She lacks both the intellect and the work ethic required to have a firm enough grasp on the issues. She’s a simple demagogue who has mastered the art of electrifying a certain part of the Republican base. The direction she would take the nation is, in my opinion, 180 degrees from what would be productive. She is expert in one thing only, and that is claiming perpetual victimhood. However much it pains me to admit it, in the matter of the exposé of her private past, she is entirely right to feel wronged. Her private past is her private business, and it demeans us to pay the least bit of attention to it.