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Cormac MacConnell - The West's Awake
Freaking Out Over Palin
October 30, 2008
The West's Awake by Cormac MacConnell
LADS and lasses, would you for heaven’s sake settle down!
I have been laughing myself close to death over the past month at the letters page in the Irish Voice and reaction in to the piece I did about Sarah Palin. Please settle down and just concentrate on getting out to vote for the candidate of your choice inside the next couple of days.
On the other hand, if you genuinely want to see the end of me, keep up the flow to the letters page and I will surely expire. Is there a word for death caused by mirth?
Here I am in the Western parishes of our Redneckia, a genuine proud redneck myself, and every week I’m reading outbursts against that Palin piece and chuckling heartily. If you are a columnist, you see, and a freelance like me, you are daily sending out your yarns and musings into a kinda void.
You never know if they are being read unless you get a reaction either via snail mail or e-mail or on the letters page. Be it positive or negative does not really matter. You get a kick out of the proof that somebody, somewhere, is actually reading and reacting to what you wrote. Which is the name of this strange game.
And, by God, a lot of you read the piece about Sarah Palin!
My good friend John Spain on the other Irish coast normally supplies the “edge” to the Irish columns that appear in the Irish Voice. John is constantly attacked on the letters page, and I’m quite certain he relishes every sentence of it.
I can’t tell ye how often I’ve been jealous of the volume of the tirades directed against his opinions, dominating the letters page, and ne’er a line at all about the piece I wrote in the same issue maybe about a fisherman on a lonely Galway river, or an encounter with a band of tinkers in The Burren, or a Clare pub session.
Yarns like that. Ne’er a response at all. You would often think that nobody was reading you anywhere.
In between my episodes of mirth I’ve learned a lesson in the past month. I’m going to have to change my ways big time, forget about the gentle rural realities, and ruffle a few feathers. That’s what I’m going to have to do more often in future!
Accordingly (and my tongue is still in my left cheek) can I respond to those critics in a vein likely to lead to more exposure on the letters page!
How in the name of God could anybody read that Palin piece with any reasonable level of literacy and intelligence and take from it what some did? Some loon, for example, read it and instantly aligned me with the Axis of Evil with friends in places like Iran and Korea!
Sir, were your spectacles misted up? Are you a regular reader of this space?
If you are you should know there is hardly a month in which I do not praise your magnificent nation and people with no qualifications at all, especially the Irish American community.
Many other critics shared the common thread of what right had I to write about the American elections at all, being an Irishman based in Ireland. That was a recurring theme.
The situation factually was — and our editor Debbie McGoldrick will confirm this — that once in a blue moon she asks me to write about some subject in particular, and this was one of those occasions. Debbie asked me for my views on Sarah Palin and I was delighted to oblige.
Also, it is a fact that every thinking person in the world has to be concerned about what is happening in America. You are a superpower whose political (and economic) choices have such a major impact on all of us, wherever we dwell.
Your Wall Street debacle, for example, has already hit hard at every Irish pocket. We need to be interested in what is happening in the U.S., if only because about 40 million of you bear Irish blood.
And what did I say about Sarah Palin anyway? I don’t have a copy of the piece before me, but I clearly recall what I said.
I stated that she was a clever, sassy, sexy politician who had exploded on the scene and stolen the spotlight.
I said that I would cross party lines to vote for such a candidate if she were standing for any office in Ireland up to about governor level.
I said I liked her style and the way she went about her business.
And I said finally that I would not vote for her to potentially become the most powerful person in the world because, in my view, that was promotion away above her level. That’s what I said and still say.
The word redneck first appeared on the scene from the blog of her prospective son-in-law who described himself as “a f***ing redneck” on his website.
And I said that I would be embarrassed if Palin were elected as a junior minister in Ireland out of fear she would make a holy show of us.
That was and is my opinion, formed well before the lady spent $150,000 on a new wardrobe, for example. And I stand by that.
And in the weeks since the piece was written it appears that many Americans are forming about the same view. Very little time will tell.
But anyway, lads and lasses, settle down before any of you do yourselves an injury!
Here in Ireland we enjoy our general elections. They provide us with a bit of craic as well as a new set of leaders from time to time. It’s the name of the democratic game.
On second thought, it would be pleasant if a few of you did complain again about me to Debbie. Because of the works and pomps of your existing leaders the dollar is not worth much here in Ireland any more, and I could use the proof of readership to apply for an increase!
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