Sarah Palin vs… Rudyard Kipling! via New York Times.

Via on Oct 6, 2008

Great article in today’s Times mentions one of my literary idols, Rudyard Kipling: “Kipling is not much in fashion these days, other than for his children’s books. For a politically correct age, he speaks too bluntly of the world’s — and empire’s — cruel ironies. But his vivid evocation of war’s horror, man’s hypocrisy, illusion’s price and power’s passing make him important in this pivotal American moment.

As it happens — life’s ironies — I was reading Kipling after watching the vice-presidential debate, or more precisely Sarah Palin, the winking “Main-Streeter” from Wasilla. And the words of hers that rang in my ears were:

“One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let’s commit ourselves just everyday American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say ‘Never Again.’ Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those managing our money and loaning us these dollars.”

Huh?

I’m sorry, Governor Palin, words matter. Life has its solemn lessons. “Never Again” is a hallowed phrase. It’s applicable not to the loss of a mortgage, but to the Holocaust and genocide.

According verbal equivalency to a $60,000 loan and six million murdered Jews, or 800,000 slaughtered Rwandans, is grotesque. Perhaps Palin didn’t mean it, but that’s no less serious. The world’s gravity escapes her.

Not Kipling, who wrote in “Epitaphs of the War” (1914-1918):

If any question why we died,

Tell them, because our fathers lied.

I wonder, after the lying and the dead of the Bush Administration, in the midst of the wars, in the face of 760,000 lost jobs, is Palin’s offer of a “little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street” enough?

“The Gods of the Copybook Headings” ends:

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man —

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Palin, Mainstreeter that she is, loves to drop her g’s, so she’d no doubt call the poet Kiplin’. She might have asked, with that wink, toHere’s the article.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

1,036 views

If you liked this, you might like these:

3 Responses to “Sarah Palin vs… Rudyard Kipling! via New York Times.”

  1. Christohper says:

    “Sara Palin Vs. Rubyard Kipling,” I vote “silly” and therefore deserves no mindful comment.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your vote, “Christohper.” I figured any excuse to see Rudyard Kipling mentioned in current politics, I had to pass it along.

  3. Wow! I found your article about Kipling vs. Palin very interesting. I think that you’re right when you say that a lot of people will use words or phrases WAY out of context. I’m not sure if Palin did this on purpose (thinking that it would add gravity to her speech) but it was definitely an oversight on her part.

    Now I really want to read some Kipling!

    Thanks again for the interesting post.

    - The Wandering Reader

Leave a Reply