Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican convention scared me.
Not because I think that it will help her and John McCain achieve victory in November, but because of what it signaled would happen to America if McCain and Palin did gain control of the White House and the institutions that preserve our Constitution.
I’m not prone to political panic.
I’ve lived though some horrible administrations and I know that our nation and our Constitution have survived.
I know, too, that most of the presidents we’ve had in the last forty years have been nefarious, incompetent, ludicrous, or all of the above, and that our country and Constitution have survived.
No matter who is president, or which party controls Congress, the basic ideals of American democracy and the rights of the individual inscribed in our Constitution will survive.
They’ll always survive, I thought.
Now I am not so sure.
Here is what scared me:
Taunting Barack Obama, Sarah Palin sneered “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights?”
The crowd at the Xcel Energy Center roared their approval.
And as the convention delegates wildly cheered Palin’s sarcastic dismissal of the Constitution, the darker meaning of the Republican convention – and the McCain campaign – came into focus.
These gun-loving, self-proclaimed tough-guys and hard asses, these belligerant self-proclaimed individualists, are ready to surrender their individual rights and freedoms in an instant to a self-proclaimed hero wrapped in a virtual flag.
In fact, they’re desparate to do so.
I saw that their wild applause for Palin’s call for the elimination of the Constitution exposed, beneath their pose of powerful individualism, their desparate need to subsume and relieve their feelings of individual powerlessness into the projected power of a leader.
I saw an America that would trade the great American experiment of a limited government held to rights guaranteed by a Constitution for the illusions of psychological security.
I saw American fascism.