Your dreams (and nightmares) about Sarah Palin.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Sept. 12 2008 10:53 AM

Your Dreams (and Nightmares) About Sarah Palin

She hands you a $20 bill. She marries you. She tells you to kill all the animals in the zoo. She's your barista.

Sarah Palin. Click image to expand.
Sarah Palin

This week, we asked Slate readers to e-mail us with their Sarah Palin dreams. So far, you've sent us nearly 500 of them. Many of you were appalled that Slate would undertake such a frivolous (according to liberals) or insulting (according to conservatives) project (click here to read some of those furious responses), but even more readers were relieved to know that they weren't the only ones who went to sleep every night and discovered the newly crowned conservative queen in their dreams.

It's hard to generalize about such a large group of dreams, but there were a few persistent themes: Palin as a gun-toting animal killer, pregnancies and denied abortions, baby Trig, and the landscape of Alaska. Many of you reported dreaming about John McCain dying and Palin taking over the Oval Office. Both men and straight women reported sexual fantasies involving the Alaska governor.

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Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents all wrote to us, though judging by the content of the dreams, we heard disproportionately from Palin foes. This may indicate that Slate'sreadership skews Democratic, or it may signify something else: According to Kelly Bulkeley, author of American Dreamers: What Dreams Tell Us About the Political Psychology of Conservatives, Liberals, and Everyone Else, "conservatives tend to recall fewer dreams, and they take less interest in the subject than do liberals." Even so, not everyone is partisan in their dreams. Democrats had dreams in which Palin helped them with a personal problem or gave them money, and Republicans had nightmares in which Palin brought about World War III. The dreams weren't all about politics, either. Palin appeared sticking her finger in Indian pudding, washing dishes at a Jewish summer camp, and making a hotel bed in Las Vegas.

We've compiled 20 of most compelling dreams below. What do they mean? We don't pretend to know.

"All the animals from the local zoo had been transferred to my house for some reason. Sarah Palin gave me a handgun and told me I had to kill them all. I love animals, and I didn't want to do it, but I was afraid she'd kill me if I didn't comply. I started with lions and bears, but my gun ran out of bullets. I tried to free the owls since they could probably make it to safety before Sarah returned to see if all the animals were dead. She returned, and I just had my empty gun, so I was afraid of what she might do to me, but then fortunately I woke up."—Nadine F.

"I'm on a small town main street. There is no one there. I start walking, and then suddenly Sarah Palin starts walking toward me. She comes up to me and says, 'It's okay. Ignorance is a pretty good excuse.' Then she hands me a twenty."—Josh Cole

"I dreamt that two of my girlfriends from work had a combo wedding to save on costs, and I decided to crash, wearing my old wedding dress as well. The more brides, the better. So as the other two brides took me out in the parking lot to scold me for taking away from their special day, Sarah Palin screeched up next to us in a black BMW X5, the luxury SUV for mommies. She and I are apparently good pals because she leaned out the window and told me to cut the drama with my friends and she'd take me out for some fast food. A sucker for fast food and high-profile friends (both of which I dream a lot about), I hopped in the car with Sarah and took off."—Kimberly Holland

"In the dream I am in the television series Sex and the City. I am there, but not really present, more of an onlooker of the scene. Carrie and Miranda are chatting on a random sidewalk, I think in D.C., when down the street Sarah Palin is seen walking toward them with some sort of entourage, one of them holding an umbrella over her head. She is wearing a red wraparound skirt and everyone else around her is wearing dark suits. As she comes nearer, it appears the group is part of some kind of tour. The group pauses, at which point Carrie and Miranda look on, confused as to what the group is doing. All of the sudden, Sarah Palin lifts her skirt to blow her nose on it, revealing red bloomers. No one in the group seems to notice, or care, but Carrie and Miranda proceed to shriek in horror and disbelief ... and then I woke up."—Tiffany Urban

"Sarah Palin's standing over me (I'm naked, she's not) and shouting, podium style, through a pair of great, floating glasses, 'And you know what? I'm going to cut it off. I'm gonna CUT IT OFF.' I hear cheers. Are we onstage? I don't see it, but I feel the presence of TV camera everywhere. She continues, 'And you know why? Because, well why shouldn't I? If you're good, I know God will put it back.' I look down and realize I have the biggest pot plant ever growing up between my legs. I mean, the thing is beautiful. I think something happens next, but I can't remember what. All I know is we are in a field, and Sarah Palin is kneeling over me decked out in hunter gear. She cradles her rifle pragmatically and smiles pathetically as if to say, 'You silly bear,' and ruffles my stomach. The plant is gone, but I am now covered in fur. And blood. And bits of grass. And as much as I want to bite her face off, I can't be angry at her. Or rather, I can't argue it. I've got nothing. And she knows it too. Her triumphalism is effortless."—Joshua Mensch

"I dreamt last night that I went to a local political event, and Sarah Palin was being introduced as Pennsylvania's new governor. I got really upset, and I asked, 'But what happened to Ed Rendell?!' And then she stopped her speech, stared me down, and told me, 'Ed Rendell is gone now.' "—Teresa Reilly

"I had this horrible dream about Sarah Palin on Monday, the day of the release of the Bristol Palin pregnancy news. I dreamed that I was walking down a dark, grimy street and felt a strange feeling on the right side of my abdomen. I looked down and there was a little bump there, a bulge, and it was moving. Suddenly, a huge, oily, millipede-esque parasite started crawling out of the bump. I was horrified and disgusted as I began to pull on it to get it out, and when I pulled the whole thing out (it was about 6 inches long), I saw that it had a head on each side of its body. I looked up and Sarah Palin was there, smiling her huge smile, looking like an evil librarian, and she said to me, very sweetly 'Oh, there it is! How wonderful! Now I'd like to talk to you about an amazing opportunity to host another one in your body ...' She smiled the entire time she was talking to me, and it was almost a Joker-like smile."—Anna Tarleton Potter

"(To start with, you need to know that I have a 17-year-old daughter with Down syndrome.) In my dream, my daughter is pregnant and gives birth to an almost fully grown African-American baby boy who looks a lot like Barack Obama!"—Ellen Jennings

"I dreamt her hubby was killed in an strange accident, and we somehow met in Germany. My wife was also gone, not sure how. McCain became ill, and Sarah and I were married. My son and I moved into the White House, and I gave a speech about Americans not using common sense, etc. Of course there are some romantic portions of the dream I will not go into detail about. She is very attractive—as you know. My speech was powerful, as Sarah and I both scolded the media for not holding the right folks accountable for certain accounting scandals, etc. I also tried very hard to give America a wakeup call on issues like common sense parenting, buying more house and car than we need, being very wasteful, etc. The dream was a bit foggy, but in the end, I wrote several books, and Mrs. Palin-Kaiser ran the country for a year, doing a very good job. I also see her shaking her finger at the media over and over in the dream. But she always gave me a kiss afterward, so I only got on her case a little about the finger-wagging. Much of the dream is foggy, as I did not even know she existed until six weeks ago. Now I think about her a lot."—Michael A. Kaiser

"Last night I dreamed I was the 'superhero' version of Sarah Palin (certainly a force to be reckoned with). While singing a solo in a church choir, a crazed woman from the congregation came at me with a knife. I responded by skillfully evading the attack and disarming the woman with a karate chop to her knife-wielding hand. I then adjusted my hair, smiled at my family, and jumped right back into the song without skipping a beat! I should mention that I am a Christian, an adamant Palin supporter, and hold a minor in vocal performance."—Kelli Willard

"My parents and I were in our driveway, rearranging our golf bags, when I saw Sarah Palin walking down my street. She was alone with no Secret Service, no press, just her, with her purse, walking around my neighborhood. I was kind of weirded out; then Palin approached us. She reached into her purse and pulled out this small bag with a golf thing inside. It held a ball, recorded strokes, and was a practice putting cup. She said, 'I don't know if this will work for you, it's a half-gallon cup.' My mother shot back, 'Great. That's great.' I reassured Palin that I could still use it, and I was genuinely excited about it. My dad just remained silent.

"My mother angrily said to Palin, 'Is this part of your campaign, walking up to people in random neighborhoods?' Palin smiled and said, 'It's a really great campaign. I'd love for you to be a part of it.' It was strange for my mother to be doubting Palin in this dream, as she's a Palin supporter in the real world. The conversation suddenly shifted to Palin's face. She hadn't been out in public for a while because she had pimples, and my mother remarked, 'I really hate when that happens! Sometimes the pimples turn into acne!' The dream then abruptly ended."—Emma Johannes

"I had a dream last night where there was a problem with boulders coming down hills and crushing cars. Sarah Palin made the police put up machine guns to disintegrate the boulders as they passed by. Unfortunately the guns were triggered by movement, so animals were getting killed by mistake. She and I were in a screaming match about the poor animals. She kept calling them collateral damage, and we used them to feed the homeless."—Asylynne Wright

"The night of Sarah's speech I fell asleep and dreamt of saving her young daughter from getting hit with a hockey puck at a Philadelphia Flyers game. With a quick peck on the cheek and a photographer close by, the kiss became the picture of the year on all the tabloids. She was so thankful for what I had done in saving her child, I was invited to the inauguration and personally escorted her to the ball afterward. Her husband having somehow died, everyone raved about how she found her new dude."—Joe Waetjen

"Last night I dreamt that I was being sent to jail for four months, for an unknown reason. I kept telling everyone around me that I had a new baby, she was only five months old, and I couldn't leave her for so long. Then Palin appears and starts telling me that I've breastfed her for long enough, that she doesn't need me anymore, and she and my husband will be fine without me. 'Just wean her already so you can go to jail!' I kept arguing that I was her mother and she needs me, plus I've done nothing wrong, and Palin keeps brushing me off as overly sentimental and clingy to my child!"—Katherine Meyers

"I was at a coffee shop much like Starbucks, but it was called Snyder's (not a real place, as far as I know). I stepped up to the counter to get my coffee, and the barista was Sarah Palin, who used one finger to push the cup toward me, while silently giving me a frank stare. The cup had a red, felt-tip marker taped to the side. I understood all of this to mean that my boss was angry that I was late turning in an assignment, and that I was to write the assignment in red ink, which would indicate to my boss that Sarah Palin was responsible for my getting it done.

"Incidentally, even though the coffee shop was called Snyder's, Ms. Palin was wearing a green apron with the Starbucks logo, which I understood to be the Snyder's employees' way of protesting a takeover attempt by Starbucks."—Chris Stvartak

"I had stomach cancer, and my parents were preparing me to die, nurturing me. Sarah Palin was a doctor who delivered the bad news I would die. She was calm and stern. She put her hand on my stomach. She and my parents exchanged a look as if they knew something that I didn't."—Jake Breeden

"In my dream she is seated in the Oval Office busily using her crayons and a coloring book. I am standing in front of the desk where she sits, at attention, with my hands behind my back. In my dream, I am a man, looking like the stereotypical Secret Service agent (sans sunglasses and earpiece). I keep trying to get her attention for some urgent matter, but she is feverishly coloring. I want to grab her and slap her, and I strain to keep my composure. Her tongue is sticking out of her mouth as she concentrates on her masterpiece, and her hair is disheveled, although she is impeccably dressed. There are many other people milling around behind me in the room, and the atmosphere is tense, but no one approaches her, no one can figure out how to get her attention. I have this feeling of impending doom. I am frantic. Then I wake up."—Marta Nelson

"Last night I dreamt I was at a strip club, and Sarah Palin was dancing on stage in a G-string and being periodically groped by three professional baseball players dressed in uniform. I looked next to me, and Bill Richardson was sitting there smiling and giggling at me, gesturing towards the stage with a big cigar. I attribute this dream to watching a little bit of CNN, TheColbert Report, and Baseball Tonight before bed."—T.D. Botkin

"In my dream, I was with a group of people watching the election results on television. However, pundits weren't announcing the results. Both candidates and their VP picks were sitting on two couches in a room full of journalists/pundits. McCain and Palin were on one couch, and Obama was on his couch with his VP pick, but it wasn't Joe Biden, it was a woman in an emerald-green ball gown. In a way she resembled Doris Kearns Goodwin. What stood out to me is how insignificant McCain appeared. All attention, a spotlight even, was on Palin. It was like McCain was a sad old man on a park bench, and Palin was just soaking up all of the energy in the room. She seemed to be a magnet for all of the energy in the room—a bit like a Dementor from Harry Potter. Obama and his Doris Kearns Goodwin look-alike VP were also relatively insignificant, but not as much as McCain. Obama smiled graciously the entire time. At some point, Tim Russert's disembodied head appeared through a doorway in the room where I was, and I started to cry. Tim didn't say anything, he just floated there observing the group. One of the journalists/pundits in the room was overheard whispering, 'It's McCain!' It wasn't an official announcement, but he let it slip, and it was true—McCain won the election.

"But McCain just sat there not moving. Palin stood up and started queen-waving. Obama got up to shake her hand—graciously—and Doris Kearns Goodwin sat on her couch, as I was sitting on my dream-couch, crying."—Amy Howland

"I dreamed I was in the audience of the RNC. I looked down, and I was breastfeeding Trig Palin. After he finished, Piper Palin put a piece of gum in Trig's mouth, which he chewed casually as he turned his head to watch the end of the speech."—Jenny Jemison

David Plotz is the CEO of Atlas Obscura and host of the Slate Political Gabfest.

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