"Oh, no," said one woman, reflecting sentiment typical of millions.
photo credit: Gage Skidmore
UST WHEN the world was beginning to breathe easier over the welcome absence of unaccountably public figures such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, a gathering known as "CPAC" brought these same disturbing individuals to its stage last week and actually allowed them to speak into microphones.
The news media released footage of the so-called conference, which took place March 14-16 and featured all of the figures thought to be taking at least a lengthy sabbatical, "or leaving us forever so we could lead normal lives again," one woman from Oregon said. "But I guess it was too much to hope for," she added, holding back tears.
The woman said she had just turned on her television when she saw footage of the CPAC gathering, with Sarah Palin "giving a thumbs-up" to the audience.
"'Oh, no,' I said to my husband," the woman recounted. According to Twitter logs, her reaction was typical of millions who Tweeted disbelief and dismay at the sight of Palin, who it was hoped "had maybe been sucked up by an enormous black hole?" said the woman. "I realize it's a long shot."
Things only got worse, according to viewers. A man from Iowa said, "I just could not believe my eyes" when he saw Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota striding onto the CPAC stage "waving like a crazy aunt, ranting some word salad about caring with love and guns. Just like she had never left.
"I hoped maybe she had been abducted by aliens a couple of months ago?" the man said, "but I suppose that's a slim reed. Still."
During the three-day event, all individuals thought removed from public display were not only allowed to speak in front of others, but also encouraged by applause, and even captured on digital film for replay and discussion by the media, who admitted having given up on "actual news" during the conference "and any time we air this stuff in future," said an anonymous reporter.
Now that those thought to be well out of the spotlight have returned, a pall has settled over millions.
"Let's face it," admitted a Connecticut native. "We were completely unprepared to go through this again.
"Maybe CPAC was just a freak quantum transmission from an alternate universe!" he said, brightening, if only momentarily. "But I guess I'm kidding myself, huh."
© 3.19.13 Kate Heidel