Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury

Vanity Fair - "Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury:

On the road, Palin gives “prayer warriors” regular shout-outs. She did it in Wichita and again in June during “An Evening with Sarah Palin” at Chicago’s Rosemont Theatre. Standing in front of a 50-foot-long American flag, wearing a black leather jacket, Palin thanked prayer warriors in the audience, just as at other events she has thanked them for keeping her “covered” and “providing [a] prayer shield.”

The term “prayer warrior” describes a person who offers a specific kind of supplication: asking God to direct an unseen battle between forces of light and darkness—literal angels and demons—that some Christians believe is occurring all around us. A leading member of Wasilla’s Church on the Rock, the non-denominational evangelical congregation where Palin sometimes attends worship, confirmed this understanding of the term. When Palin thanks prayer warriors for keeping her covered, she is thanking them for calling on angels to shield her from demonic attacks. On the night of the vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden, Palin received an e-mail marked “URGENT … Urgent for Sarah to read … ” The e-mail came from pastor Lou Engle, a prominent right-wing activist who identifies himself as a prayer warrior and is a central figure in dominionist theology. (Dominionists believe that, until Jesus Christ returns to earth, society should be governed exclusively by God’s law as revealed through a literal reading of Scripture.) In the e-mail, Engle compared Palin to the biblical Queen Esther. “This is an Esther moment in your life,” he wrote. “Esther hid her identity until Mordecai challenged her to risk everything for such a time as this. Your identity is ‘Sarah Barracuda.’ Esther removed corruption from the Persian government and Haman fell. She didn’t have experience, she had grace and favor. Sarah, don’t hide your identity tonight.”

A later quote from the same piece

Even Palin’s strongest supporters say they feel confused by what their former governor has become. “She quit us,” says one Wasilla woman. “We elected her, and she left us,” says another. (“Sarah was my babysitter,” she later adds, as an indication of goodwill.) Yet they are too nice to turn me away, and they are too honest to completely suppress what they themselves feel unable to tell. After one local Republican delivers 90 minutes of uninterrupted praise for Palin, I ask whom else I should talk to, and the answer comes so fast it’s like a cry for help—which is how, the next day, I end up in the living room of Colleen Cottle, who is the matriarch of one of Wasilla’s oldest families, and who served on the city council when Palin was mayor. She says she and her husband, Rodney, will pay a price for speaking candidly about Palin. Their son is one of Todd Palin’s best friends. “But it is time for people to start telling the truth,” Colleen says. She describes the frustrations of trying to do city business with a mayor who “had no attention span—with Sarah it was always ‘What’s the flavor of the day?’ ”; who was unable to take part meaningfully in conversations about budgets because she “does not understand math or accounting—she only knows buzzwords, like ‘balanced budget’ ”; and who clocked out after four hours on most days, delegating her duties to an aide—“but he’ll never talk to you, because he has a state job and doesn’t want to lose it.” This type of conversation is repeated so often that Wasilla starts to feel like something from The Twilight Zone or a Shirley Jackson short story—a place populated entirely by abuse survivors.

This woman is fucking crazy.