This is a post I've been mulling for some time. I would have written it way back in the fall, during the Presidential campaign--if I had been blogging back then. But I didn't start until three weeks after the election. By the time I found my "voice," the party was over. Oh, well--as if my opinion, even broadcast to the world, would have changed the outcome! But it makes me feel better to get my thoughts out there where they might get others to think, and maybe think like I do. A small beginning, but that's how revolutions get started.
So now, in honor of her birthday on February 11, I thought it might be appropriate to share with you why I was so taken with Sarah Palin during the 2008 election campaign, and why she still matters to me. I know many, many other people share these feelings, so this might give you some insight into the Sarah Phenomenon, and why she seems still to strike abject terror into the hearts of far-left wackos (and intellectual snobs) everywhere.
I first saw Sarah (and had barely heard of her before) when she addressed the crowd upon her announcement as John McCain's running mate in late August, 2008. I had been skeptical when I first heard of her selection, as I had assumed it would be one of the better-known names like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, and this pick seemed at first like a crazy stretch. But I was floored when I saw her speech in Dayton, Ohio, and yet again at the Republican National Convention. I had never seen nor heard a politician--especially a Republican--quite this appealing, this exciting. More than just being relatively young, and quite attractive (I'm a guy after all), she was positive, optimistic, exuberant! She spoke proudly of faith and family, home and country; from the heart, not from abstract ideology. She was completely uncontrived, utterly genuine and sincere. She connected with us common people instantly, in our language, on our level. She was the girl next door, the hometown beauty queen, the hockey mom, your sister--she was your own, the one you rooted for. One of US.
What really cinched her for me, even more than all those things, was her family. The bond of love among them was obvious. They were proud of her, and she of them, warts and all--which is how good families are. Todd is a good, solid husband and father, and Piper and Trig are just precious (I can hear the snobs sniggering now)! And to know that Sarah chose Trig's life despite the enormous challenges of raising a special needs child--and what that might mean for her family and career--elevated her that much higher in my estimation. What better schooling to understand the importance of family, and the challenges that families face today, than to be surrounded by such a good and strong one?
Other traits emerged in the course of the campaign. Despite a torrent of mockery and falsehood unprecedented in Presidential campaign history--not to mention a hostile and shamelessly biased press--Gov. Palin was unflappable and kept her grace, charm, and good humor. She didn't take and eye for an eye, but also didn't run away, and met some of her most cynical critics on their own turf (e.g., Saturday Night Live). She wasn't ashamed to profess her faith, or to let us know that she sought Divine guidance in her public as well as private life. She didn't apologize for America or for being American, but exulted in them. She didn't pull punches in calling her opponents to account for their positions and associations. She never deferred to the demands of political correctness.
Of course, Gov. Palin had her shortcomings. Not a trained lawyer like Obama or Biden and not having positioned herself for high federal office for years, as they had, she was less well-versed on some national issues, particularly foreign policy (though the policies she did advocate were wiser by light years than those advanced by the Democratic ticket). She wasn't thoroughly prepared for being ambushed by "journalists" who never thought of giving her opponents the same kind of treatment. And she was reined in far too much and too long by a McCain campaign team who clearly didn't appreciate the incredible asset they had in their hands, or were surprised and frightened by the fire she ignited.
But none of them, and none of what she endured and still confronts today, have kept her down, or will. She remains a potent symbol and inspiring leader for millions of Americans who "cling" to their religion, their families, their country, and the way of life that their ancestors lived and died to make possible. She's a self-made woman who got where she is by faith, hard work, confidence, and daring to do what's right--nothing inherited, nothing bestowed on her for complying with some elite's preferences or expectations (i.e., left-leaning feminists and intellectuals). And it's fear of this--that Sarah, or someone like her, could lead an irresistible movement away from the Left and back to America's founding values--that animates all those doing their best to destroy her. Given who she is, and who we are, that's just not going to happen.
Perhaps it's only a coincidence that Sarah's birthday falls on the eve of that of another figure from a "frontier" state who burst onto the national stage with little experience in national issues, was widely demonized by Democrats, was condemned by self-styled "moderates" in both major parties for his "divisive" policies, and was dismissed as a rube by the intellectual elite of the day for his awkward, homespun speech and ways.
Then again . . .
Happy Birthday, Sarah!