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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, life takes it all up a notch. Everyone knows this election season has not been unlike mint-flavored Oreos: an endless cycle of frustration and disappointment. Yet, last week we may have finally witnessed the craziest accusation of 2016.

Of all days, on April Fools’ Day, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave a speech at a Wisconsin GOP dinner. Amid her pro-Trump musings, Palin slammed the other establishment candidates on illegal immigration by arguing they’re "actually asking for more immigrants, illegal immigrants, welcoming them in, even inducing and seducing immigrants with gift baskets of teddy bears and soccer balls." Seduction by teddy bears and soccer balls: We’re as confused as you are.

Thankfully, this imagery didn’t just fall from the sky onto Palin’s speech notes — assuming she uses her notes (and if she does, who on Earth writes them?). Palin’s mention of teddy bears and soccer balls may have actually referred to when Fox News personality Glenn Beck and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas., joined Beck’s relief group, Mercury One, in July 2014 to give $2 million worth of food, water, clothing and toys to immigrant children on the border.

Granted, Beck and Cruz may have ultimately concluded the children, in time, needed to be sent back home, but it’s nice to see acts of good from figures on the right over such an issue as illegal immigration. Even more shocking is how Palin, two years later, used the incident to pit candidates against each other.

Now in the spirit of fairness, before we dismiss her statements as "jiggery-pokery," we have to explore the possibility of them having at least some validity. It’s not like a former governor and former vice presidential candidate would be rambling off sermons of utter nonsense, right? Perhaps Palin is addressing us in some sort of "National Treasure"-like code. Her apparent distress might be a low-key wake-up call. Let’s think through her record together.

She just highlighted the danger of teddy bears, and back in 2008, she referred to herself as a "mama grizzly." Clearly she’s drawing our attention toward bears. Now, for those who’ve seen first-hand in "The Revenant" the kind of damage bears can do to our most beautiful actors (#prayforLeo), perhaps Palin’s hinting at a full-on bear apocalypse, an a-claw-palypse? No, that’s ridiculous: not as ridiculous as her speeches, but still ridiculous.

All joking aside, we can take a deep sigh of relief from this situation. We often hear that the world itself is at stake with this 2016 election, but Palin’s revivals are a sobering reminder of where we’ve been. For many of us students, Palin was our first glimpse at a genuinely baffling politician. Oh, there’s nothing like the first time. And even when the political climate was such that she might have been our vice president — and, thereby, potentially the president — we endured the storm. Now her support only continues to rapidly dwindle along all party lines.

So should you find yourself looking to the future in fear or uncertainty given the current state of our politics, take a moment to look back at our ghosts and remind yourself of our history and the capacity for good decision-making we have at our disposal.

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