Many Europeans must have been mystified by Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, wondering how someone could have seemingly come from nowhere, walked into the American political consciousness and had such an immediate and powerful effect.
Certainly, her pro- gun-lobby, pro- Christian/creationist and anti-abortion stance are out of sync with most European mentalities, while capturing the hearts of many Americans. But what about her lack of experience of high office at national level and lack of foreign experience?
But the central point must be that her story embodies elements that go deep into the American psyche. Someone out on the frontier, the little guy (gal) coming from nowhere and hitting the big-time with some home-spun speech (even if we really know it is from auto-cue, and with, no doubt, an army of scriptwriters). Someone whose family, looking like something from Little House on the Prairie, tag along for her big day. Someone whose rhythm and style of speech resonate with the sort of folk you can bump into in any Wal-Mart.
It's a myth, but boy is it an American myth. And at times of uncertainty, our myths are what keep us going. Like it or not.
by Michael Gates