Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who Cares?

So Sarah Palin was a typical 70s chick: smoked dope, snorted coke, slept with, well, whomever she slept with, got knocked up and eloped with the man she's barely married to. Who cares?
Well, no one should, I suppose.
Except she was just a few million votes from being VP of the country. And while, again, none of this matters to us, there is an observation to be made here.
We choose our leaders-- not just political, but role models, celebrities, and captains of industry-- with all the discretion and care that a vending machine displays in choosing quarters. And then we expect them to live up to some baseline norm of behavior.
The very act of pursuing fame, influence and power is the very act of a madman, so someone who actively pursues it ought to keep in mind their feet are clay, too. So are the legs, hands, torso, head...hell, they're human and they ought to remember that and show a little humility, instead of preaching inhuman behaviors like abstinence, fidelity, or thrift.
Humans are animals, first and foremost. That Sarah Palin slept with a basketball player in college only highlights this fact.
That she would get upset about it now only highlights her shame. For you see, it's not the act that created the regret, it's that someone found out about it.
And there's the rub: for some reason, humans with all the brainpower in the world and all the records of history, personal and world, somehow miss the lessons of their lives.
We're human. Nothing more, nothing less. If you believe in God, S/He forgives us for this. If you do not, then standing at (or near) the top of the tree of evolution ought to serve as a reminder it's that much farther to fall.
Note this is not an excuse for hedonism or indulgence. We are still human and we ought to be trying to better ourselves. The one thing a celebrity like Palin ought to be doing is not lecturing us to be perfect beings. She ought to be reminding us that we do sometimes fail, and ecnouraging, not lecturing, us to try again.
And one thing we owe ourselves is to choose better leaders. People who acknowledge our imperfections. People who demand more of themselves, but don't impose their values on us, expecting us to live up to some standard even they can't.
The key to life is to set goals for yourself that exceed your current expectations. The way to fail is to force goals that are unrealistic.
You know what that implies? Plato said it best: "γνῶθι σεαυτόν"
"Know thyself."
We live in a society where that's frowned upon, where the very act of learning about who you are is considered ooniegoonie psychobabble, and unproductive in a society where time is money and money is everything. And yet, not a day, NOT A DAY, goes by where examples of people who DON'T know themselves act out in irreparably embarassing fashion, harming themselves and worse, the people around them.
And we smirk, content in the knowledge that, hey, that wasn't me that ripped a ten-year old child a new one in voicemail or got caught with a hooker in a dark alley.
Even though it could have been. Even though we ourselves, but for the grace of God, would be someone else's juicy gossip tidbit.
Really. You have something in your life that would be someone else's "Ooooooooooooh". Maybe you like fetish porn. Maybe you smoke dope. Maybe you drink to excess on occasion and get naked in a bar. Maybe you pick your nose and eat it. Maybe you peek over in the next urinal to compare size.
Oh, wait, those are mine...
But you get my drift. No one lives a life so incomplete that they don't indulge their inner demons every so often.
Not even Sarah Palin. And the shame is on us for letting her think she does. And for letting her get any influence over us, whatsoever.