I. Unless the trajectory of Sarah Palin goes in a different direction than I foresee, this is the conclusion of the Saradise series at Progressive Alaska. In all, there have been 313 chapters:
Saradise Lost - Book One (about the McCain Palin campaign) - 181 chapters.
Saradise Lost - Book Two (the continuation of Palin's governorship, up to the resignation announcement) - 77 chapters.
Saradise Lost - Book Three (from the resignation announcement to abdication) - 31 chapters.
Saradise Found - 17 chapters.
Saradise Lost & Found - seven chapters.
I'm not going to write a post-mortem on the Palin administration yet. I've had the opportunity to speak to, correspond with or know all of Alaska's governors except for William Egan. Some expect or expected to be addressed as "Governor" after their terms of office, Wally Hickel in particular. I've had no problem with addressing him as "Governor." The last time I had that opportunity was at a fundraiser for Alaskans for Clean Elections, last year. Tony Knowles and Jay Hammond, as two-term governors deserve the honorific, in my mind. Bill Sheffield and Steve Cowper do not. I feel their administrations were, by and large, failures.
I will never call Sarah Palin "governor" as an honorific. Besides the obvious, that of her own volition, she failed to fulfill her duty of serving her term, she has repeatedly characterized people who disagree with her point of view as less worthy Alaskans or Americans than are those with whom she directly identifies.
The fact that the most famous Alaskan in our history has also been the most intensely polarizing figure in our state's or in our country's recent political events is disturbing. Not since George Wallace, has a person elevated to the level of a presidential contest final been so divisive. Although the attention Palin's national political aspiration has brought to Alaska has had its positive effect (more people down below seem to be more aware of Alaska's unique nature, for instance), the opposite side of that coin is that Palin is also the biggest political joke of the 21st century, and part of the joke is that she is such a caricature of aspects of what many of us hold to be important parts of our "Alaskan-ness."
II. Watching the adoration and rapture on the countenances of the crowd I saw at the picnic in Wasilla on Friday, and have seen in pictures of the Anchorage and Fairbanks events, troubled me too. As did her abdication speech's constant intermixture of military might & sacrifice, the sanctity of corporate power, and her version of "God." As his been Palin's habit of late, she seemed to be repeatedly accusing her opponents of "lies, stupidity and cowardice."
Many familiar with Adolf Hitler's rise between his release from Landsberg Prison and the 1933 German national election are unaware of the extent that Christian organizations supported him. Or of the extent of intermixture between the Nazi state and organized religion. As an example, here's a partial list of Catholic youth organizations alone that supported Hitler's rise from 1931 through 1933:
• The Catholic Young Men's Association of Germany
• The Central Association of Catholic Maidens
• The South German Association of Catholic Females
• The Association of Catholic Bachelors
• The Association of Bavarian Catholic Book Clubs
• The Association of Catholic Students in Institutions of Higher Learning
• Catholic Youth Alliance of German Working Girls
The membership of some of these groups reached into the high hundreds of thousands. Similar Protestant youth groups supported the rise of Hitler. And, of course, adult groups. During Wilhelmine Germany, the Weimar Republic and the National Socialists era, the German states ( Bayern, Baden, Nassau, and so on) directly supported the Christian church financially.
During the Third Reich, thousands of Christians served as chaplains in the Wehrmacht. Some fully supported the dehumanization of Slavs, the glorification of Der Fuhrer and the Holocaust of murder of Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. The ideal of "blood sacrifice," alluded to so frequently in recent Palin speeches, was a constant fixture in Nazi pre-war and World War II propaganda.
Is this proto-Christofascist strain that has been ramped up so fully in Palin's recent speeches and twitters going to be key to her post-gubernatorial role? Whether or not she is striking out to start a third party, as some have speculated, I believe that she will draw more deeply into the well of dispensationalist Christofascism. She will, as many of us already know, attempt to hide this on some levels, but will be out front about it on others.
The Alaska media totally ignored this dangerous component of Palin's makeup, throughout her political career in Alaska. The tendency to ignore the dangers of strange and evil groups affiliated to dispensationalism, their infiltration of many of our military institutions and their units hasn't gone mainstream. Hopefully, as Palin is observed in her upcoming actions, this key aspect of her personality will not be ignored.
image - from Zina Saunders