Sarah Palin’s slams against Obama aren’t known for their subtlety. One slam, however, is buried deep within the subtext of a common but misused expression. It’s gone unnoticed but today I’m exposing its insidiousness.
What words could so subversive?
The Lower Forty-eight.
Most of us have heard this unfortunate phrase so many times we don’t think about its sinister meaning. But not Sarah Palin. She may revel in her willful ignorance of newspaper names and Supreme Court decisions but she’s not stupid. She’s crafty. She knows exactly what she’s saying. And it’s not funny.
What does “the lower forty-eight” mean? Presumably it refers to the contiguous forty-eight states, those contained within the four corners represented by the cities of Miami, San Diego, Seattle and Portland, Maine. Implicit in the expression is “The Upper One.” And what state might “The Upper One” be? That’s right… ALASKA! In other words, when Sarah Palin says “The Lower Forty-Eight,” what she’s really saying is that we non-Alaskans are beneath her and those she governs. They think they’re above us literally and metaphorically. It’s a code used between the 600,000 residents of Seward’s Folly signifying their feelings of superiority to us crowded inhabitants of lesser places. Well, we’re on to you, Mrs. Palin!
But… that’s not all. Do you see what else is implicit in the use of this phrase? Let’s do a little math, shall we?
48 + 1 = ???
Even a high school dropout like Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s baby daddy could probably figure this one out:
Okay, Levi, how many states are there? That’s right…
And what could possibly be meant by fifty? Ah ha! Hawai’i! So when an Alaskan says “The Lower Forty-eight” not only are they putting the rest of us down, they’re denying the existence of poor little Hawai’i! How about that for dismissive?
And here’s the clincher…what makes Sarah Palin’s use of the phrase so wickedly diabolical is this: Guess what presidential candidate was born in Hawai’i. You betcha… BARACK OBAMA. Not only does Palin claim that Obama’s work as a community organizer was insignificant, she’s subliminally telling her listeners that Obama wasn’t even born in a real state! The gall of this lady! Two digs at once: we LESSER Forty-eighters and the stateless Hawai’ians, especially Obama. How devious, how Rovian, how effective.
So, my friends, you let Sarah Cruella know that we’re mad as hell and we’re not taking it from her anymore. From now on, demand that she correct herself. The new politically correct way of saying it is “The Warmer Forty-nine” Missy.
Don’t you forget it!
PS – this is meant to be facetious… I’m sure Alaskans don’t REALLY think they’re better than the rest of us. (Or do they? Come to think of it, I don’t know any Alaskans – my loss, I’m sure!)