Rumor has it that Gov. Palin is a “Stepford Wife”, a pretty face that’s been pasted onto Sen. John McCain and his policies in order to get votes.
While I don’t believe this is the case—she did get to the position of Governor without his help, after all—I have pondered recently about who she really is, and wondered about the Internet effect.
The Internet Effect, in my lexicon, would be defined as the application of missing details to a person by a reader based on their pre-conceived notions to the effect that the person becomes not who they are, but who the originator thinks they are.
Confused? Let me try to apply it.
This happens all the time when it comes to Instant Messaging and Blogging. We read something someone has to say, or start chatting with someone, and we know so very little about them, but we seem drawn to them because of some shared beliefs. As we get to know more about them, they continue to match up with our beliefs, and we begin to presume that they match even more—that they are more like us.
At some point, we get to some kind of concrete detail and we’re hit upside the head with our difference, and then we have to ask the question, “Who is the real John Smith: The one that I think he is, or the one that this fact says he is?”
To me, that’s why campaigns spend so much time on the narrative, talking about who has the most homes and cars, etc. They’re trying to establish a framework for how to think of the person, not just the policies.
Applying it to Gov. Palin
I think that there are a share of people that are “in love” with the idea of who Gov. Sarah Palin is rather than thinking through who she really is. They don’t know her, but they’ve been told things about her that match them. And all these things might be true.
What we must be careful about, though, is presuming to actually know who she is, when all we’ve ever done is hear her speak and hear people talk about her.
The other day, I heard Rush Limbaugh say that the Sen. McCain’s camp ought to let her go, to have her stop following the talking points of the McCain camp, and that she’s going to really go after Biden.
Except, when the debate rules were crafted, Sen. McCain’s camp pushed for less interaction with Sen. Biden. Is this an attempt to lower expectations? Because you would think that if she’s that good, she’d want to make Biden look bad—him attacking a girl, etc.
Keep it in Check
I’m not saying you shouldn’t get excited about Gov. Palin the Conservative, I’m just saying that you need to make sure that when you talk about someone you don’t know1 that you remember that people are more than what we’ve seen of them. They’re more than how we imagine them to be.
That will help us all to be more realistic, and be better prepared for when people fail us. For there is only One that won’t fail us, and His name’s not on the ballot.
- This goes for commenting and discussion on blogs too. We’re all human and even I need to remember that at times.