John McCain's choice of running mate invokes the one of our country's oldest and most seductive myths, the virtue of American innocence, Anthony Robinson writes in the Seattle P-I. Innocent of Old World wiles, Americans are thought to have "a combination of virtue, tenacity and practical knowledge that will allow them to prevail where others have failed." In this context, Sarah Palin's inexperience and frontier-state origins become a strength.
But with that innocence—as we saw with George W. Bush—comes a dangerous bravado.
"The problem with the myth of American innocence," the pastor writes, "is that it renders its victims blind. Claiming to see clearly, the innocents are blind to the complexities of the world, but more important, blind to their own limitations and capacity for evil. This election looks increasingly like a referendum on the myth of American innocence." Barack Obama, he adds, might look like an innocent, because of his youth, but he's more of an idealist.