John A. Tures: Yes, Sarah, you did save Christmas

December 27, 2013 

She was able to add a little humor to the "Duck Dynasty" debate.

Sarah Palin's admission that she didn't read the Duck Dynasty comments she defended was a refreshing bit of humor in a tense confrontation over race and gay rights. With those words, she may have saved Christmas in 2013.

This was looking to be one of the toughest Christmases ever. But Sarah Palin was there to step in and save the day, just not the way we expected.

We know Sarah Palin is a defender of traditional Christmases, or at least the ones that put Christ in Christmas. And like many Americans, I can support that. But Palin did something even better this holiday season that may have defused an even bigger crisis.

When "Duck Dynasty" Patriarch Phil Robertson made some anti-gay remarks in a recent GQ interview, he was suspended by A&E Television and criticized by GLAAD. That set off a backlash against AETV and GLAAD, where death threats were issued.

Sarah Palin took to Facebook to defend Robertson's comments, as did Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Columnists were criticized for voicing their opinions. And then, Jesse Jackson said that Robertson was worse than Rosa Parks' bus driver. Even Bristol Palin got into the act. Cracker Barrel got caught in the crossfire, as they removed Duck Dynasty merchandise, then put it back on the shelves after being attacked for doing so.

This wasn't just about corporations and pundits. It threatened family and friendships. Facebook friends begged for the controversy to end. Our in-laws dreaded a New Year's trip to relatives of the opposite ideology. Would Christmas be ruined?

Luckily, Alaska ex-Governor Palin came to the rescue. She admitted in a friendly Fox News interview with Greta Van Susteren that she hadn't actually read Robertson's remarks, even though she had taken to the airwaves to defend him.

After tensions almost boiled over in this country, it was refreshing to see a little humor in the situation involving Palin, once knocked for a disastrous 2008 interview, where she struggled to say what she read.

"Because of that one episode, that one episode, that would turn an issue into what it has become over the last two years. I think that's ridiculous," Palin said to Barbara Walters in a 2010 interview, as reported by Huffington Post. "That's one of those things, where that issue ... that I don't read, or that I'm not informed, it's one of those questions where I like to turn that around and ask the reporters, 'Why would it be that there is that perception that I don't read?' "

So it's back to late-night show laughs, where the joke, once again, is that Palin doesn't read. It should give more fodder to "Saturday Night Live," John Stewart's Daily Show, The Colbert Report, etc. Maybe Tina Fey can reprise her role.

With a nation divided, Palin "took one for the team" by showing her ignorance, and giving us a few laughs. I'm sure she won't lose a single supporter over this, so it hasn't cost her any political standing. Whether she meant to or not, Sarah Palin saved Christmas, by replacing our scowls with smiles.

John A. Tures, associate professor of political science, LaGrange College;

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