I laughed out loud this morning as I read Kathleen Parker's column regarding undecided voters. In it she described Sarah Palin as "the winking wonder woman of Wasilla".
It got me to thinking about how voters either love Ms. Palin or hate her. There seems to be no middle ground. Everything about her seems to be polarizing but I think there is a middle ground truth to be found.
Let's look at those who love her. Men who think she's hot! Parents of children with developmental disabilities. Staunch believers of the ideology of the Christian right. Those who see her as the girl next door who made good. She is not a "wonder woman" to them; she is "every woman".
Those who hold her in far less esteem are like me. They see someone who has done little since day one than pad her resume and hasn't made much of an effort to hide it. A woman with a modicum of raw ability and more than a modicum of ambition. One savvy enough to create an opportunity for herself yet naive enough to allow herself to be used to her own detriment. An unworldly lightweight.
The campaign has cried foul when her detractors have called her on her less than impressive credentials, especially members of her own party.
There are similar feelings about "Joe the Plumber". We either love him as an "every man" or we hate him as an opportunistic fraud.
What has caused this polarization? Where is the middle ground where each would have been met with a shrug then dismissed as a non issue? I think it's because we sense so much of ourselves in each of them. Perhaps we even recognize, through them, we have been a part of the problem in which we now find ourselves immersed.
We're not the intellectuals we'd like to think we are. We see ourselves as more important than we are. We exaggerate our strengths to minimize our weaknesses rather than facing the truth. We take to the stage for our fifteen minutes of fame whether or not it may do harm to others. It's all about us and not about us at all.
Even though the race is far closer than I'd have thought at this time, perhaps the reason Obama has been so successful is he always emphasizes it is not about himself, but about us. And perhaps the reason John McCain hasn't done better is because it always seems to be about him.