The reviews of Sarah Palin's VP nomination acceptance speech seem to be overwhelmingly positive, at least those reviews from conservative pundits: "The start of something truly big", "A star was born last night"; "She has star quality"; etc.
I watched her speak and I thought it was a pretty decent delivery of a somewhat marginal speech. The crowd stepped on a lot of her lines with applause, she made a lot of references to Obama's foibles that people who aren't political junkies probably didn't get, and while she was trying to stress her relevant experience, she still looks pretty green to me.
On the other hand, looking at the faces at the convention while she was speaking, and also noticing the rapt look on my daughters (ages 12 and 9) and wife's faces, she is clearly a mesmerizing speaker for many people. Just like Obama. Now each ticket has their very own hypnotist. I'm not surprised that Obama hypnotizes people. His cadence and tone sound somewhat hypnotic to me. I'm a little more surprised that Palin has this effect since she has a much different speaking style. However, I'm pretty convinced that a lot of the crowd was hypnotized.
This could be a serious problem. This election, like the previous two presidential elections, might also be close. Hypnotized followers can be incited to do very extreme things. Hitler was such a speaker and leader and his leadership didn't turn out too well for the world. I'm not saying that either Obama or Palin (McCain) would take us in a direction even vaguely similar to Hitler. What I am saying is that the side that loses this election, being hypnotized, may be even more irrational in dealing with their disappointment than in previous elections. And the losers were already pretty scary in those previous elections.
My wife and I have made a strict rule that we're not going to talk about politics at all with friends, family, co-workers, or anybody in person until well after the election. Many of our friends are already hypnotized by one side or the other and are clearly extremely emotional when politics is even mentioned. Emotional to the point of visibly shaking. Emotional to the point of being completely irrational. Emotional to the point of talking about moving out of the country if their candidate loses. And these are generally intelligent and balanced people. I'm finding it very scary.
Fortunately, I can still spout off about politics here in the safety of the blogosphere. If I piss y'all off, at least I won't suffer any significant harm.
Ultimately, I'm confident that the country will survive just fine regardless of who's elected. Everybody needs to splash some cold water on their faces, wake up, take a deep breath, and get a grip.