In the Arena

I Refudiate Palin

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As an inveterate lover of  neologisms, I am fiercely approviating of Sarah Palin’s recent coinage: she called on peace-loving Muslisms to refudiate the proposed mosque at the World Trade Center site. This continues two grand American political traditions. The first is benign. Those politicians who have only a passing familiarity with proper English tend to be the most creative when it comes to wordiating. Warren G. Harding was responsible for two classics: “normalcy” (as opposed to “normality”) and my all-time favorite “bloviating.” I had high hopes for George W. Bush when he ethno-inventificated the “Greecians” during the 2000 campaign. (“Strategery”  was also excellent, but apparently apocryphal). Unfortunately, his speech-writers got hold of him and his wanton vocabulations ceased. Palin poses a potential gold-rush of neo-Americanoid language.

The second political tradition is not so benign. In fact, it is totally evil. If there ever was a place to demonstrate this country’s core value of religious tolerance, it is at the site of the World Trade Center. As regular readers know, I am an intensely proud New Yorker–from the outer boroughs, even–and Palin’s intolerance runs counter to my all-American value system. I am a such a staunch supporter of diversity that I find that cliched word insufficient: multiversity is more like it. There is nothing more satisfying for a true New Yorker than to discover a great new restaurant–Afro-Lebanese fusion, perhaps–run by a gay Muslim-Adventist couple. I mean, hummus grits! Why not?

Consequently, it was a disappointment for me to watch parts of a New York Historical Society Landmarks Commission hearing on the Mosque issue where many of my fellow multiversaries, these of the self-hating mode, ranted in un-American fashion against the placement of the mosque on the site. Palin’s bigotry is obnoxious but understandable: she doesn’t know from hummus-grits. But my fellow Noo Yawkers–especially my fellow Jews–who made a mockery of themselves at the hearing should be sentenced to two weeks in Atlanta. Wasilla.

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