She Comes Bearing Norris

By Jesse Taylor
Saturday, August 30, 2008 13:22 EDT
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imageSarah Palin is apparently the McCain campaign’s months-late answer to Chuck Norris. By embracing Mike Huckabee’s ethos of not winning, I do believe that John McCain has found a formula that will propel him all the way to a distant second place, buffeted by numerous appearances on late-night comedy shows and at least one of his kids doing freaky shit to animals*.

Something that I keep wondering about – Palin’s hunting is fetishized by the right as one of the normal, all-American things she does that put her in connection with the Heartland values we all hold so dear. But having grown up in Ohio, very few people I knew had ever gone hunting, and most of them who had had done so had only done it once, the same way you might have gone kayaking or windsurfing once – on a vacation with gear that you’d bought specifically for that trip and usually as an extra expense.

For most Americans, hunting would, at best, be a luxury rather than a part of everyday life – and the numbers bear it out. Growing suburban sprawl, rising inflation and cash-strapped state and local governments have taken something that was already limited to a relatively small number of Americans and made it an even more rare activity – in 2007, figures showed that only 12.5 million people hunted in a nation of 300 million. I’m not denigrating the activity, but to take an expensive hobby what would be an expensive hobby for most Americans, an activity that 4.2% of Americans participate in for various reasons, and make it a marker of Real Americanism seems, well…sort of elitist.

UPDATE: To clarify, I’m talking about the 95.8% of people who don’t hunt here, not the 4.2% who do. For a large number of those people who don’t hunt, hunting would, in fact, be an expensive hobby and not a way of life (given that they don’t need to hunt for food now). I’d appreciate it if the people telling me I don’t get it would remember what they read before they got to the last word of the original post.

*Freaky shit done to animals found in Deluxe Huckmentum package only.

Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor
Jesse Taylor is an attorney and blogger from the great state of Ohio. He founded Pandagon in July, 2002, and has also served on the campaign and in the administration of former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He focuses on politics, race, law and pop culture, as well as the odd personal digression when the mood strikes.
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