Monday, June 21

A Concise Annotated Commentary, Complete with Textual Apparatus, of Sarah Palin’s Endorsement of Donald Trump


From confidential academic sources, I have received an advance photocopy of the priceless and exquisitely fragile original manuscript of Sarah Palin's endorsement of Donald Trump, and -- after having spent countless hours over a hot keyboard and cold bourbon laboriously translating the text, often only marginally legible, from its original Aramaic and Syriac languages -- present herewith an annotated commentary on same, together with textual apparatus in aid of translating the text to modern colloquial English from the much more recondite semantic, syntactical, and semiotic conventions of archaic, middle-Bronze-Age GOPspeak. In order to preserve confidentiality, I must regretfully refrain from thanking the many people who materially assisted me ... with the notable of exception of my friend, Rick, the day-shift bartender at my local "13 Coins," who makes one hellacious mint julep! You might say Rick leaves his "maker's mark" on each sip ... or you might not.

Direct quotations are in boldface type.

It’s so great to be here in Iowa.

It was nice to finally find out that Iowa exists and where it is located. How curious that I cannot see it from my front porch, since the earth, as we all know, is flat like a dinner plate! But then, the mysteries of God pass all understanding.

Are you ready to make America great again? We all have a part in this. We all have a
responsibility. Looking around at all of you; you hard-working Iowa families, you farm families and teachers and teamsters and cops and cooks; you rockin’ rollers and holy rollers!

"Holy rollers" is a pejorative term for members of various charismatic Christian sects, primarily
Pentecostalists, who, seized by a state of spiritual rapture, were sometimes known to roll in the
aisles of the church during services. Fundamentalist but non-charistmatic sects were historically
much more staid, expressing their transports of religious ecstasy by lynching minorities and
persecuting dissident denominations' members in the early 1900s, and later, after a several-decades-long period of enlightenment, by persecuting sexual-orientation minorities.


All of you who work so hard, you full-time moms, you with the hands that rock the cradle.

"The hands that rock the cradle" is a thinly veiled allusion to a sociopathic methodology of child care memorialized in a movie The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. And don't laugh, all you effete Left Coast, Obama-voting, chardonnay-swilling elitists ... it worked wonders with Track and Bristol!

 ... when I was on stage nominated for VP, and I got to say, 'yeah, I’ll go, send me, you betcha. I’ll serve.'

An allusion to the sending of Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8. God asks "Whom shall I send and who will go for Us?", to which Isaiah replies "Here am I, send me". Of course, this occurred after Isaiah had had his lips / mouth singed with a coal of fire and before God responded to Isaiah's willingness by saying "Make the heart of this people fat ... lest they repent and be healed". This is apparently a glancing allusion to the belief, increasingly prevalent in the Republican Party, that people who run for political office -- especially those whose campaigns are successful -- do so in response to a Divine call or vocational mandate, e.g., George W. Bush's belief that God called him to be President. Palin evidently sees herself as responding, Isaiah-like, to a similar call -- but without her mouth first having been noticeably cauterized.


So those of us who’ve kind of gone through the ringer as Mr. Trump has ... 

A ringing affirmation of Trump's tribulations, including multiple failed marriages, 4 bankruptcies, and similar personal calamities, all of which left him with only a $9 billion fortune and barely enough
money to buy his own private Boeing 757. (Reliable sources even allege that, for a time, Mr. Trump was in such reduced circumstances that he had to survive on single boxes of "Caviar Helper" donated to needy upper-middle-class people by ueber-wealthy residents of the Hamptons.) Sarah is right ... the man has suffered, all the more so because -- as far as we know -- he has not consummated his avowed desire, expressed on The View, to have an other-than-fatherly relationship with his own daughter.

There also may be a tantalizing hint of some hermetic, mystical meaning in Palin's use of the word "ringer".  There are alternate texts available for this segment of the manuscript. In summary, "ringer" is either a misprint / copying error for the more prosaic term "wringer". Or it could be a more Gnostic-like  assertion that Trump's spirit -- millennia before the telephone was even a glimmer in anyone's eye -- somehow inhabits the call-announcement physical mechanism of one's telephone or even cellphone:  the spirit of Donald Trump is ever present in the "ringer" as a kind of ectoplasmic National Security Agency potentially eavesdropping on, telephonic -- and by extension, all electronic -- telecommunications.  This speculation is no less provocative for being thin on textual evidence, except for the suggestive phrase "those of us who have gone through the ringer" -- which strongly implies that, if such is the case, this electronic omnipresence is an option available to all.

Are you ready for a commander-in-chief ... you ready for a commander-in-chief who will let our warriors do their job and go kick ISIS' ass?

Code-speak for "A President Trump would send a half-million members of the American military on an indefinitely prolonged mission to occupy the Levant", presumably to "whack Muslims for Jesus".


Ready for someone who will secure our borders, to secure our jobs and to secure our homes?

The job is already taken: during the Obama presidency, cross-border immigration is net zero; unemployment has been cut in half (technically, 5% unemployment is full employment); and people can actually afford homes again.

Well, he being the only one who’s been willing, he’s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debated on his sleeve.

How does one wear an issue on one's sleeve? The manuscript here is perforated with holes in a pattern strongly reminiscent of large-caliber rifles commonly used to hunt large game animals like bear and moose, and double-aught buckshot, and therefore all but illegible. Wearing issues one's sleeve is my own interpolation of the missing text.

Pro-Constitution, common-sense solutions that he brings to the table.

With the probable exceptions of the "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses of the First Amendment, the "due process" clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment, and arguably (at least with respect to Muslims) the "Comity Clause" of Article IV, section 2, etc.

 ... some would say gets in the way of that quiet generosity, and, uh, well, his compassion ... 

Unless you happen to be a New York Times reporter with physical impairments, of course.

 ... all that hopey, changey stuff ... 

Two strange things: (a) if I recall my Christian orthodoxy correctly -- which I may very well not -- I always thought hope was one of the three enduring Gifts of the Spirit: faith, hope, and love; (b) I also thought change -- the Greek word is metanoia -- was the exterior manifestation of an interior conversion ... and, as such, the whole point of the Gospel message:  to be transformed [i.e., changed -- JRC] by the renewing of your minds (Romans 12:2).

The manuscript concludes with an abrupt transition to eschatological-prophetic rhetorical tropes.  There is what seems to be -- again, the text is only partially legible -- a direct citation of One  Corinthians 15:52:  In a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trump ...  Is this a reference to a future Trump, the last in a dynastic series, who will inherit power from Donald ... or is the Donald referenced in Palin's raptures the "last Trump" as a unique historical culmination? I am speculating now, of course, but this sudden juxtaposition of Pauline and Palin-ian texts could be interpreted as explicit semiotic evidence for Shi'ite-Muslim influence on the eschatology of "primitive" Christianity -- or even vice versa ... perhaps ... ? -- if interpreted as a Christian parallel to the Shi'ite belief in a succession of imams consummated by the advent of the Twelfth Imam, who will establish a grand Caliphate over all the earth. If even partially true, the irony here is exquisite:  Donald Trump as the (Christian) Twelfth Imam.

But, to be sure, definite conclusions are pending further research and exegesis.

James R. Cowles

Image credits:

(1) Flickr, no source given

(2) Flickr, Bruce Tuten from Savannah, Georgia, United States

(3) Michael Vadon -


    • These — the “snarky” satires — are actually the ones I most enjoy doing. Without exception, they all pretty much WRITE THEMSELVES. The Palin-endorsement first draft took 30-45 minutes MAX — then another 30-45 minutes fixing typos and dropping in hyperlinks. And that’s pausing every few minutes to laugh at what I just said.

      The others — on “feet dry” citizenship, the constitutionality of homophobia with wedding cakes, etc. — take actual research and checking, e.g., case law on natural-birth citizenship (of which there is none), etc. I learn a ton while writing those, but that’s actual WORK. MOST of the stuff I know going in — that’s where I got the idea for the topic in the first place — but it takes sanity checking.

      I have time to do all this — plus the ongoing reading on the Constitution and history and interpretation — because I’m retired.

    • I should also clarify by saying that the “snarky” posts pretty much writing themselves means that — in a certain sense — I didn’t write them. I sorta-kinda have to wait for the spirit to move me, like a Renaissance poet being seized by her / his “Muse”. Posts like the one on birthright citizenship OTOH can be thought through rationally and discursively. The latter are the ones written by ME and not the “Muse”.

      Bottom line: there is such a thing as “inspiration”.

      Hard to put into words, but the “Muse” posts even “feel” different subjectively.

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