PredatorSeptember 10th, 2008

Ever run over a squirrel or a raccoon with your car? Do you remember musing at the time that that little critter was alive and sentient and then suddenly it wasn’t and being a little sad about it. Sarah Palin doesn’t get sad about that sort of thing. Rather, she gets a thrill when she ends the life of an animal, and the thrill is bigger when the animal is bigger. Given the joy with which she kills, do you think she’d hesitate to shoot and skin you if you gave her half a reason?

Maybe she would, but Palin and McCain are definitely billing themselves as unapologetic predators, she an enthusiastic killer of wild animals and he a heroic terminator of people who happened to be under the bombs he dropped on Viet Nam. They and their supporters revel in the superior status the power of life and death confers, and you could see it on the cruel, pallid faces and hear it in the ecstatic drawling voices on display in St. Paul.

Republicans square this somehow with a belief in the divinity of Christ, who was not known for his prowess as a hunter or as a soldier. This exposes Republicans as hypocrites and their piety as a sham, but never mind: Jesus is OK with war now, and he will save the warriors when the final reckoning comes, and it’s coming soon.

According to some public opinion polls, from the average American’s point of view, if you’re not a predator, you’re prey, and this explains all the Republican strutting. When all else fails, when your candidate has a face like a sphincter, act tough, and put some religious conviction behind it.

A person would have to be fairly gullible to believe that Jesus changed his views on violence since he expired on the cross, but that’s what they’re selling, and the mass media, at least, say people are buying it. We’ll have to wait for the end of the world to see who goes to heaven and who doesn’t, but many believe that the meek and unarmed will have an advantage at that point that they definitely don’t have now.

Obama could easily fall into the macho trap that Palin and McCain have set. We’ve seen him bare his figurative teeth in the past and we’ve seen him flex his figurative muscles so as not to be mistaken for prey. His aggressive positions on Afghanistan and Iran are examples of predatory posturing.

I hope Obama saw that clip on YouTube in which a herd of water buffalo stood up to a pride of lions. The tasty ungulates were bigger and more numerous, and the one the lions were trying to eat finally got away, with a couple of lions getting thoroughly roughed up by stronger members of the herd. If Obama keeps up his predator act, he could get beat up and maybe eaten.