Friday, November 21, 2008

Alaskan Turkeys

Yesterday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin pardons a turkey. No big news there. As we all know, governors pardoning turkeys is a well-worn tradition around this time of year. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger pardons turkeys, which takes on a whole unintended life of its own given his thick Austrian accent.

Usually, some functionary of the local turkey farmers association brings a well-coiffed bird to the governor's office or some other neutral site where a state governor reads a very slightly humorous proclamation over extemporaneous gobbling and some wing flapping. There's a few ha-has and a softball question or two. Then everyone goes home including the turkey who probably ends up dead much to his or her chagrin.

Here's where it gets good. Governor Palin travels to an Alaskan turkey farm to preside over the ceremony. She reads a prepared statement over the incredible din inside the turkey coop. After the "pardon," someone asks her to hold a turkey, which she refuses to do, and settles for hugging it. Prudent behavior since the bird is rather filthy.

After the ceremony, the governor does a stand-up answering questions and chirping out a few poorly constructed run-on sentences echoing snippets of Republican Party platform rhetoric she remembers from cramming for her debate. Meanwhile, farm workers are sticking turkeys into a funnel device where the birds are beheaded right behind her! Underneath the funnel device is a trough running red with...Wait a minute. Why am I describing this to you? See for yourself:

Governor Palin approved the stand-up location herself. She and her staff show an appalling lack of attention to detail. Unfortunately, that is one of the job requirements for Vice President or even City Alderman.

Now don't think for one minute I don't know how turkeys are raised or slaughtered. That's not the point. When I was about four years old, my Uncle Pat took me along to buy a fresh killed chicken for Aunt Agnes at the local poultry butcher on Legion Avenue in New Haven. Uncle Pat went into the back for a moment and I wandered in after him. Just as I turned a corner, the butcher laid the chicken's neck across a chopping block and deftly relieved the chicken of all further responsibilities. The headless chicken flapped its wings for a moment, then all motion ceased.

Once the commotion was over, Uncle Pat looked around and saw me standing there. I wasn't supposed to see dinner meet its demise but I did. I remember being more surprised about the process than anything else. So from a very early age I knew how my food gets dead. Auntie Ag's chicken was delicious, too.

My problem with the Governor and her staff is their total failure to think things through. Instead of controlling the situation, she and her staff were controlled by it. They can't even do a stupid post-turkey-pardon stand-up correctly. Would you talk about prison reform while someone was receiving a lethal injection in the background? Didn't they realize the national press was hovering in the background rejoicing in the delicious irony of the situation? The Republicans are thinking about running this woman again in 2012? Governor Palin makes Dan Quayle look like William F. Buckley. At least Quayle listens to someone else once in awhile.

There are dozens of Republicans more qualified for the office of Vice President. However, the ham-handed out-of-touch right wing of the GOP didn't want to be the child left behind on the whole change thing:

"Look! We're gonna make history too! Sure, the Democrats have that colored guy running for the top job but we got us a girl Vice-President! She kills moose and believes evolution is intellectual gobbledygook just like you do do!"

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