DBD generally presents dialogues based on earlier conversations. Today, though, the issue before us is so urgent that other business must wait. The matter is fraught with such highly charged emotion that my wife Barbara had to lie down with a cold compress over her eyes. She asked me to assume responsibility for our response to the crisis.
If it needs to be said—and it’s hard to imagine anyone not caught up in the furor—the ugly story has to do with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel attacking the mentally challenged.
(You can be confident I’m up to taking on this grave subject because I just used “challenged,” not “handicapped.” Use of the latter is always a dead giveaway you are dealing with a really bad person. Someone like Rahm Emanual.)
Here’s the story. In a closed meeting, Emanuel let loose with a tart comment on liberal Democrats who have been complaining that Obama has thrown health-care reform under the bus. Which now that I think of it is a pretty darned insensitive figure of speech. Who knows how many actual people have lost loved ones, or themselves been seriously injured, maybe even suffered brain damage as a consequence of bus-related activity? I apologize.
Word got out that in this closed meeting, Emanuel said the liberal Democrats criticizing the president were “f---ing retarded.”
It’s hard to continue, but I have an obligation (you need to look this sort of thing straight in the eye). That’s what he said. He must have, because later he apologized. But not in time, because Sarah Palin learned of what he’d said. Immediately she appeared before cameras with the latest issue from her sacred womb (all wombs are sacred), baby Trig on her hip. The two were perfectly posed in accordance with medieval sculptures and paintings of Mary with her own newborn, Jesus. If you’re familiar with art of the period, you know mother and child form a classic S configuration. Mrs. Palin even underscored this allusion to the Middle Ages by wearing a hoody sweatshirt.
Understandably, both as a mom and as a soon-to-be-Fox News analyst, she voiced strong objection to Emanuel’s casual use of “retarded.” Mostly, she was defending her future colleagues at Fox, but as everyone besides Rahm Emanuel knows, Mrs. Palin’s baby was born with “cognitive and developmental disabilities.” Bouncing Trig and fighting back tears, she said hearing the word retarded was personally “heartbreaking.”
Mrs. Palin also noted that the heartbreak she felt was not just for challenged children, but for “those who love them.” In doing so, she subtly and meaningfully included herself. True, it’s her baby who suffers most obviously from cognitive and developmental disabilities. Even so, those trying to keep track of Trig’s mom’s career will also hear in her comments an inescapable reference by Mrs. Palin to herself.
Many other knotty problems are likely to be raised by this incident.
Like for instance the land mines waiting to be stepped on by people much more sensitive than Rahm Emanual. For starters, what about the names of Palin family members? Once Mrs. Palin joins Fox, will anyone ever again be safe referring to Bristol, England? Or to “staying on track,” or even to track lighting? The name Todd is so evocative of the German “tod,” or dead. What about Piper? Imagine the firestorm sure to follow any all-at-once smutty double entendre like “paying the piper,” or a drug-related slur like “It’s a pipe dream.” Not to mention smirking references to the racier parts Piper Laurie played in her day.
How about Willow Palin? Once her mother is sworn in at Fox, describe anyone as “willowy,” and see what happens. Any fool trying that will get his foot blown off, and face a few well-deserved “challenges” of his own. Excuse me—of his or her own.
Now I have to go check on Barbara’s compress.