Cinderella Meets Tokyo Rose in GOP Fairy Tale

1 11 2008

Thinking about power of story this pre-election weekend: Will John McCain’s Pygmalion become John McCain’s Waterloo, too? (Cultural referents the NCLB schools still teach or not, my unschoolers know them! Do yours?)

Taken from a JJ-penned comment a few weeks back, before the Joe-the-Plumber sequel came out, here’s one way to tell this story. Feel free to offer plot points of your own, or just play stump the author. It beats sweating these last few days, wondering what thousands of lawyers are out doing to mess up the election results! 🙂

. . .There are two modest, hard-working Christian candidates with families in this election, who grew up among diversity learning to get along with differentness, one white and one black, both male, well-educated by their own merit and then choosing to work hard with that education to serve working people throughout America, help them to get good jobs and education for their families. They have one home apiece and intend to shape society so that every working-class family could do as well. They are on one ticket together. That can’t be the classist ticket!

Then there is a white man of enormous privilege and family connections, an American favorite son who like English princes was groomed within his own class to lead and sent off to war as an officer, returning to hero status and a series of castle-intrigue dalliances resulting in marriage to a beautiful but child-like blonde heiress with dependency problems who wants to love all the little children, casting herself as a saintly and self-sacrificing Mother Teresa except with jewelry and designer clothes and bodyguards and private jets and too many homes to keep track of, a bottomless fortune and various public titles (bestowed by family status, not her own hard work and merit) supporting her ethereal Diana-ness.

We may be white like they are, but few of us can relate to their wealth, gambling, junketing, womanizing, broken families, $300,000 convention outfits, drinking and drugs.

So the American admiralty candidate (did you ever notice the word admiral has “admir-e” right in it? Sounds classist to me.) with the heiress wife and all the status and connections a president could possibly want or need, decides to start a class war. (And why not, war is his thing! It’s how he sees the world, who he is, not just what he does.)

So he makes a war strategy. He needs not just a Cinderella but a sort of Cinderella puppet president to prop up as popular with the working class, crossed with a Tokyo Rose to spew demoralizing propaganda. He picks the most polarizing, divisive commoner his courtiers and knights and generals can unearth — after searching the kingdom so far and wide that they can see Russia! — before their glass slipper fits one woman who grew up believing she’s destined for greatness by god, born a princess but kidnapped by Alaskan wolves if not set forth in a rush basket in a reverse Moses story, a princess-in-the-rough perfect for this politically arranged marriage, um, concubine-soulmate role.

Maybe we need to coin the phrase “reverse classism” then, because that’s how exactly how Palin was packaged and sold, and of course why she was chosen in the first place.