WASHINGTON—Undoubtedly many Americans, not least among them television producers, are disappointed by Sarah Palin's decision not to run for president.
On the bright side, Palin has proved (finally) that there is a God.
For the past three years, since she rocketed from relative obscurity to political diva, Palin has hinted that she might run for the highest office, but would rely on God's guidance. This template is not unique to Palin. Millions pray to a higher order to discover the right path. I recently watched a few minutes of "Eat, Pray, Love" before succumbing to an ennui-induced coma, in which Julia Roberts tearfully implores God, to whom she admits not having spoken on a regular basis, to tell her what to do: Dump her boring husband and follow her appetite for pasta and spiritual enlightenment through casual sex? Or ...
The title of the movie and the book upon which it was based correctly hints at God's directive. She eats, prays and loves—and millions of like-minded fans mistake insipidness for insight. Watching Roberts eat pasta is the wet T-shirt of chick flicks. But I digress.
Palin prayed, we can be certain. She is no novice, as fans and foe well know, and is fluent in faith. She often has referred to her steady relationship with God and has deferred to him any time the subject of her political aspirations arose. She talked of doors opening, lights shining on paths, and other divine signals that would indicate whether she should or shouldn't. Speaking to Greta Van Susteren in 2008, she said:
"I'm like, 'OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere'—this is what I always pray—I'm like, 'Don't let me miss the open door, show me where the open door is, even if it's just cracked up a little bit, maybe I'll plow right on through that, maybe prematurely plow through it, but don't let me miss an open door.'"
This week, when Palin finally announced her decision, she made her priorities clear. In a statement to supporters, she said that she and her husband, Todd, "devote ourselves to God, family and country." Her decision, she said, maintains that order.
We can only infer from these tidings—glad or sad, you pick—that God did not open that door or reveal it. I'm not exactly sure how this works, but clearly Palin got the word that she should not run for president.
Consider the alternative of a Palin candidacy: Mayhem.
The Republican primary race would have become ridiculous as the media turned its sights on Sarah. They can't help themselves. She is the flame of moth dreams, the siren of mariners. Put her on the stage or a truck bed with other members of the GOP menagerie, and Americans would forget their purpose. The nation would splinter even more into cultish groups untethered to reality, their focus either to destroy Palin or to worship her, two equally potent passions that can't be harnessed in her presence. Those red shoes. That wink. That pointy finger. Women would have to fill their ears with wax and men strap themselves to flagpoles.
On a more practical level, the distraction of Palin would have diluted the strength of better candidates. Some aver that she would have hurt only Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who shares her pipeline to the heavenly realm. But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also has declined to run, would have been much more damaging to Mitt Romney, goes the conventional wisdom.
Whatever the case, Palin certainly would have caused havoc for the GOP. Who knows? She might have won Iowa and the nomination, and then surely would have lost the election.
The best thing that could have happened to Barack Obama would have been a Palin candidacy. The disarray would have been a gift to Democrats and a plague on Republicans, who would have been left wandering in the political desert for another four years, or 40. God obviously saw this and, just as he picks winners in the NFL and other contests in which victors invariably thank Him, he wanted to diminish the frenzy.
Obviously, God exists.
And he, like, said, "OK, don't run."
And Sarah Palin did hear him, and Sarah Palin was wise. And a heavenly light shone on the naked and the clothed alike, and the people were at peace once more.
Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker(at)washpost.com. (c) 2011, Washington Post Writers Group.