May 30, 2020
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Palin’s palm problem

Ever since she was announced as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, I’ve been throwing Sarah Palin around – on and off the pages of this paper – like a shore leave sailor tosses around his uniform.

Some people say I’m mean, or I don’t like her, or I’m jealous because I ran for vice president but lost. That might be so if Palin hadn’t lost, too.

Nope. After that “not my cup of” tea party appearance she made, I know exactly what’s wrong with Palin. Her hands are too small. If she’s really serious about running in 2012, she is going to need hands the size of billboards.

I know it would be awkward living with hands that big; but in her case it would be prudent.

If you saw her performance last week then you know she got caught with reminders written on the inside of her hands and she glanced down when she forgot what to say.

Sadly, she only wrote the words “energy” and “tax cuts” and “lift American spirits.” Well, actually she had written “budget,” too, but crossed that out. Honestly, she’s got to get a bar of soap – or what I now call “palm correcting fluid” – if she’s going to make a mistake in her crib notes. Her hand is just too little for the words she needs to remember, let alone her mistakes.

See, if she had big hands she could write more important stuff on them; like the banner featuring a child that I read about in a New York City subway this weekend, sponsored by the Coalition for the Homeless, that read, “A record 16,000 will go to sleep homeless in NYC tonight.”

Heck, if she could get really big hands she might mention that millions of children are homeless in this nation of ours. She could literally have at her fingertips the New York Times story reporting that at the end of the last century, “the United States had 5.5 million children living in extreme poverty, approximately 1 million of whom were on the streets.” And that “poor children in the United States are poorer than children in most Western industrialized countries, since the United States has less generous social programs, the widest gap between rich and poor, and high numbers of poor immigrant and unwed teen mothers.”

And since she, herself, has a daughter who is an unwed teen mother, her audience couldn’t possibly look down their noses at young moms needing assistance. After all, if she wins in 2012, she’ll be the Mommy-in-Chief, and for those of us who think women might be more compassionate leaders than men have been, it would be nice if she acted like somebody else’s kids matter as much as her own.

Which brings me to why I was in the Big Apple in the first place: New York University hosted an anthropological exhibit titled “Lost World of Old Europe.” The artifacts came from the Danube Valley anywhere from 7,000 to 5,500 years ago. When the burial grounds of these ancients were first discovered, many archeologists thought they’d found an ancient matriarchal society – you know, with a woman or women in charge – one that Sarah Palin or I might’ve run.

Seems they found sculptures: female figurines sitting in chairs. And they found that to be quite significant because the word chairman originated in medieval Europe when the only chair in a room was reserved for the most important person. And with no hieroglyphics and no Rosetta stone to interpret such, the scientists speculated that a bunch of dolls with chairs and voluptuously glorified female renderings coupled with a noticeable lack of art featuring men indicated that women were in charge.

I hope Sarah Palin doesn’t get her hopes up too high about running the country. First of all, these finds predate medieval culture by at least 4,000 years. Second, if scientists looked into a U.S. household today and found a bunch of Playboy magazines and Barbie dolls, the same logic would indicate that women of the 21st century were in charge.

No, 7,000 years from now the only way an anthropologist might think Sarah Palin had the qualities necessary to lead would be if they found a doll with very big hands.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at

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