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.