As you'll know by now, John McCain's running mate is the previously unknown Sarah Palin, who became governor of Alaska two years ago. Before that, she was the mayor of somewhere we've never heard of in Alaska. She didn't even have a passport until last year. She had to get that, apparently, to make a visit to some Alaskan troops serving in Kuwait.
That somewhere we've never heard of, by the way, is called Wasilla. It is home to 8,500 people. You'd have to be pretty talented to go from representing 8,500 people to being namechecked as the potential vice president of the United States of America within a couple of years, wouldn't you?
A deeply pro-oil industry conservative (which, it would appear, you'd have to be to get anywhere in Alaska) through and through, Palin is a passionate pro-arms lobbyist and a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association. Her office is decorated with the pelt of a bear shot by her father. She is an evangelical Christian and deeply opposed to abortion. She's gone on the record as saying that she doesn't believe that global warming is man-made and she is opposed to listing polar bears as an endangered species. She is also apparently under investigation by the Alaskan legislature, which will rule on October 30th regarding her conduct over the sacking of Alaska's public safety commissioner. The election is due five days afterwards.
Although she seemed like a lady of some substance when she gave her acceptance address, I also found myself wondering whether McCain's people picked her in a cynical 'get the girlie vote' gambit. I also wonder how much he really knows about her - take a look at this, for instance - particularly the bit about that investigation.
So we're looking at a deeply religious, ultra-conservative redneck with a taste for shooting things who has arguably little or no knowledge of the world outside being proposed to be the second most powerful person in the world's most powerful country.
You do have to worry, don't you? I'd be laughing about it, except that I've just reminded myself of who the president is, still...