What can we learn from Sarah Palin?
Sarah Palin represents so much of what is wrong with the world. She's wealthy but playing at being "of the people," doesn't care about the natural world, enjoys killing animals for sport, is divisive in her rhetoric, religiously avoids logic or intellect.
But, she is somehow very popular and her popularity has grown in spite of (or possibly because of) all those negatives.
What can we learn from her? And what can we learn that we would be willing to actually apply to our own lives and our own activism?
- Understand that you can't please everyone. Palin actually embraces this and uses it. She knows that she will appeal to a certain audience, and appeal to them strongly, by not trying to please everyone. She really embraces the love/hate dichotomy - the more one side hates her the more the other side loves her. We might consider this divisive, but do we as animal rights activists worry too much about trying to appeal to everyone instead of building our base of support by appealing to our strong supporters and accepting (even possibly using) the hate generated by the other side?
- Speak your mind. Palin doesn't worry about offending - and because of this she actually does offend some people but speaks directly to the heart and emotions of the people who will be her strongest supporters. Are we too worried in our activism about speaking what we truly believe? When asked about veganism are we afraid of offending someone by saying that we think all animal exploitation is wrong?
- Make yourself impossible to ignore. We might actually do a good job at this already, but Palin is always ready to speak to issues from her own strong perspective.
- Stick to your ideals. If there's one thing that Palin does effectively, it's sticking to her ideals. Possibly even in the face of empirical evidence. (Note: one thing she would never do is use the word "empirical.") Do we really do ourselves and the animals a service when we compromise our beliefs to appeal to a wider audience?
- Speak plainly. Palin knows the right language to use to appeal to her core audience and always speaks that way. Animal rights activists have this tendency to speak like academics - which is fine if we are trying to appeal to university professors and PhD students - and pay very little attention to the actual audience we are trying to reach.
Are there any other lessons we can learn from Palin?