This post is directed to my friend Talis Colberg, who I hope will be returning soon, to announce his resignation as Attorney General of Alaska:
I'm going to be unsparing.
Those of you who still believe there is a remaining shred of credibility in the candidacy of former Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin, to be Vice President of the United States of America under the oldest President in our history, to initially take that office, well, you need to look at these pictures.
They're from the biggest mass suicide, involving Americans, in our history. It took place in South America, but it had its roots, like Sarah Palin's rise, in the nutty intersection between fundamentalist religious practices and their insinuation into advocacy politics.
I may be the only person alive that has met both Rev. Jim Jones and Gov. Sarah Palin. The similarities are not obvious. But they are real, and to a growing number of informed Americans, they are startlingly frightening.
I met Rev. Jones in September, 1968. He was at an event at a bread factory in Sonoma County California, helping to dedicate its opening. The bread was to be distributed to needy people in the San Francisco Bay area. Unlike Sarah Palin, Jim Jones was a charismatic public speaker. But, like Palin, Jones knew he was on a blessed mission from God Himself.
What brought this old image of Rev. Jones back to my mind, was polling data that has come out in the past 48 hours. In spite of the farce of Palin's projection on the national stage, the obvious over-protection afforded her vulnerable and patently false persona, and revelations about her self-serving and superstitious agenda throughout her public life, Republicans still see her as their Saviour.
In Alaska, according to pollster Ivan Moore, even as Alaskans at large learned from emerging facts about Palin's past, Republicans ignored those facts. Her popularity among "conservatives" in Alaska went from 93% approval to 88% approval during September. So far. And nationally, 76% of Republicans still believe Palin is "prepared" to be President.
Getting back to the Jonestown image, less than 35 of the 900 people at Jonestown managed to survive Jones' "Revolutionary Suicide" pact. That works out to just under 4%. Palin's popularity has never been quite that high, even among the faithful. But there is a message here.
The Alaska GOP's blind obedience to Don Young, Ted Stevens and Sarah Palin (I could add Rep. John Harris, Randy Reudrich, Rev. Jerry Prevo and others), isn't as irrational as the Jonestown peoples' devotion to Rev. Jones. However, it is simply beyond the pale, at this important time in our nation's and our state's history.
Wake up, Talis. Wake up, Alaska.