Name calling

Think what you might of Sarah Palin’s politics, she has a great deal to learn about manners.

Let me set the scene: Governor Palin and Senator Biden meet in the centre of the stage before the debate and as they shake hands the Governor leans towards the Senator and says, “Hey, can I call you Joe?”.

Let me get a few things out of the way right off the bat: this is not about politics, it’s about politeness; it’s not about age, sex or status, it’s about manners.

There are few things in our lives that truly belong to us and that are ours to oversee as we would like, our name is one of those things. I have no doubt that Senator Biden would have happily offered Governor Palin the use of his first name, but it was bad manners for the Governor to ask for its use, and particularly bad manners to do so in public.

And no, it wasn’t folksy charm, it was rude. It was designed to put her opponent on the back foot, which some would say is ok in a debate. But even in a debate, the rules of polite behaviour apply. It was also designed so that she would come across as ‘one of the people’, which I find extraordinary. I would think that most people would want their potential Vice President to behave in a way that they could use as an example to their children – since when did lack of manners or education become a badge of honour?

[A note about this blog: it’s new. It isn’t intended to be about Sarah Palin, or politics, it’s intended to be about life and manners and how we deal with both – if politics finds its way into this blog it’s because it’s crossed into that sphere.]

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1 Response to “Name calling”


  1. 1 Jean October 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    While I appreciate that your blog isn’t about politics, I do think Sarah Palin provides a striking object lesson in several non-political regards. Apart from usurping the use of another’s name – in circumstances where he was not in a position to object – she denigrated herself and – something she should be especially aware of as a Mother – provided a bad example to young people everywhere. The office she is seeking to fill, by virtue of what it represents, should be treated with seriousness and respect. The inappropriate inclusion of winks and giggles and sloppy language negates the effect of any message she is trying convey. She quite possibly doesn’t care (depending on what job she has been assigned by the campaign) but I think she serves as a cautionary tale for the rest of us.

    Amazing to be reminded by her of the utility of politeness and respect for others.

    Looking forward to your next comment.


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