I've had the experience on occasion of having the topic of Governor Sarah Palin come up in conversation. Okay, it happens more than occasionally. Sometimes my opinion has been politely dismissed (and sometimes not so politely, depending on who I am speaking with). The dismissal results from the correct assumption that I like and support the Governor and the incorrect assumption that liking her is tantamount to being blinded or "a kool-aid drinker" or whatever. That's hogwash! Confronting that attitude is frustrating for me because the reality is that I like and support the Governor because I actually have researched her record, her opinion, her stand on the issues etc. It cracks me up to have someone argue with me about one of her Facebook posts when they have not actually read it, and yet my opinion is the one that is dismissed. Anyway, I've done the research and have found Sarah Palin to be an excellent leader, politician and person. I wanted to reiterate here my support for her and to discuss some of my reasons for supporting her.
The 2008 election was fascinating from start to finish. I became increasingly interested in following it, watching debates and primaries and really solidifying my personal political beliefs. As it became obvious that John McCain would capture the Republican nomination, my curiosity turned, as did many others, towards possible Vice Presidential nominees. In researching I happened upon Adam Brickley's blog “Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President.” I was immediately intrigued. I learned a lot from that great site, but I also did what research I could on my own. I found interviews, op-eds, public records, whatever I could to find out more information. I went from intrigue to being impressed and than to a supporter.
The lady became Governor after running against the Republican incumbent in the primaries and than a former Governor in the general election. She stood up against corruption in her own party. She was not at all well liked by the Republican establishment, a huge plus in my book. She was a strict Constitutionalist, to the point that she was willing to lose favor with some of her base. Her willingness to do so actually did not hurt her popularity as she had incredibly high approval ratings. She championed not just ethics reform, but an ethics overhaul. Her staunch defense of ethics could have ended her political career, but she knew what was right and stood up for it, regardless of the consequences. She was willing to sue the federal government for placing polar bears on the endangered species list. She took on corruption in the oil companies and government and won. And really important for me she was a pro-life woman. So much so that she and her husband had recently welcomed a baby boy into their family. He happened to have special needs. I absolutely value congruency, being who you say you are, and living what you believe. I was and continue to be convinced that Sarah Palin has that.
So yeah, I liked her and I thought she would make an excellent VP choice. Family and friends can attest to the fact that she was a popular point of conversation for me that entire summer. I did not think McCain would pick her, but I sure hoped he would. I was ecstatic when he did. The campaign was brutal, but I'm not going to go into that much. I will say the media did not portray the Sarah Palin I had come to know. It seems they were unwilling to do even a smidge of real research. They were bent on distortion and destruction. What little trust I had of the MSM dissolved very quickly.
I never wavered in my support of Sarah Palin. But, since that time my support has changed. . . it is even stronger. Why? Because she kept doing things that made me like and admire her all the more. Let me explain.
In a previous post I discussed one of my favorite quotes from her
"Some days politics makes me roll my eyes and say 'I don't know if politics are in my future.' and it's certainly not the be-all, end all for me personally.
If there are platforms, opportunities for me to be able to effect positive change in people's lives, whether that's political or another venue I will embrace that.
But, I don't know if its going to be in politics or running for president in '12."
She has a true servant's heart and has continued to prove that. She is all about effecting positive change, in whichever way she can. That's honorable, that's admirable.
Another favorite is the oft quoted "politically speaking if I die, I die." She is willing to stand up and do what is right, regardless of the consequences. That is something she already proved in Alaska before and during her Governorship. Doing what is right, even and maybe especially when it is hard is a trait I look for in a leader.
One of my heroes is a man who gave up an elected political position because he felt he could better serve his people in another capacity. Early last year I was thinking about him and thought how amazing it would be to have a political leader who was willing to do something like that. This hero of mine lived a very long time ago, and I never thought I would see in my lifetime someone give up political power in order to better serve the people. When Sarah Palin resigned I understood why. I have this weird knack of taking what she says at face value. She felt she could better serve out of a political position, unhampered by the agenda set against any progress her administration was trying to make. I appreciated her decision, and am still a little in awe that I actually saw it in my lifetime.
Not long ago I blogged about the need for this nation look to God for answers. I pondered how amazing it would be for a leader to speak about the importance of God and seeking His blessings and counsel as a nation. Not long after posting that I watched an interview Sarah Palin did while spending time with the Reverend Billy Graham.
There she was saying exactly what I personally believe is one of the most important messages for this nation. Standing up for God and faith in this country is something that I support.
Way at the beginning of my blogging venture one of the things I posted about was how cool it would be for a politician to embark on a "What's Great About America" campaign across the country. I suggested that they discover the real greatness of America, within the lives of the people. The people make this country great. Sarah Palin, with her recent new gig with FOX announced that she will be doing specials on real life Americans what she termed "Real American Idols." She will be going around the country highlighting the greatness of America through the greatness of Americans. Like I said she just keeps doing things that I can really support.
I could go on. I've had a few personal experiences, including meeting her briefly, where I got to see that servant's heart for myself. I'm left to the conclusion that I originally had, that Sarah Palin is a good and decent person. Moreover I think she is a leader for our time. So, given all this and my own political opinion, I think the question is not so much 'Why do I support Sarah Palin?' The question is 'Why wouldn't I support her?' I mean come on, she is brimming over with qualities that I like and admire.
Do I think that she is perfect? Heck no, she is human, and none of us are perfect. Do I agree with her on absolutely everything? No, but I don't agree with anybody on absolutely everything. That's not what support is all about. I support her because she believes in, proclaims and acts with correct and honest principles of freedom and common sense. So, just in case you did not get that, I like, support and admire Governor Sarah Palin. I would support her in whatever direction she would go in order to serve the people. She could choose to do any number of things and be successful at it. She could choose to stay in Wasilla and be a great mom, without any regrets and without any complaints from me. If all she wanted to do was be a spokesperson for the special needs community she could do so and her life would be a resounding success story. But, she has chosen to do more. She has chosen to stand up for what she believes. She has chosen to take whatever shots are slung her way in order to stand for principles of freedom. For her willingness to do so I'm struck with gratitude and frankly humility that a person would be willing to sacrifice their own well-being for the welfare of others. She has a servant's heart, and I think she likely feels the weight, that so many of us do, of the responsibility to turn things around, back to freedom in America. It's all our responsibility. Her being willing to take up that challenge, to do whatever she can, inspires me to do the same.
Now the question is how do I support her? To me it involves more than cheering from the sidelines, and definitely more than throwing advice at her. I trust her decisions, because I trust in the reasons for those decisions, to effect positive change for Americans. I tell the truth about her, and correct the distortions and misperceptions when I am able. I also keep her, her family and any Americans standing up for what is right in my prayers.
I want to use a bit of a religious example here in talking about supporting a leader. I want to talk about Moses. Yes, yes, I know I'm a religious nutjob, haven't I proven that enough already? But, I actually blame the media for the comparison between Sarah and Moses. They always talk about how she is a "polarizing" figure and it puts this image in my mind of her standing on the capital steps, holding up a staff and commanding the American waters/people to part. I mean come on, she didn't divide us, we are already divided and she is just a loud voice on one of the sides. So, anyway it's the media's fault that I'm making a comparison (I could blame Bush if I really wanted to). But, come to think of it I do like the idea of her walking into Congress and telling them to "Let my people go!" But, I digress.
Exodus 17 tells us that during a great battle Moses was told to lift up his arms. As long as his arms were lifted the Israelites were winning the battle. As soon as his arms fell the tide began to turn. Eventually the Israelites, realizing this, had several of their own go and hold Moses' arms up for him. This eventually led to the victory.
So, in this time when it feels like a battle is raging for the heart and soul of America do I look to one of our leaders and just encourage her to keep holding those arms up. Encouraging words are helpful but only to a point it doesn’t take any of the weight off. Do, I tell her how to hold her arms "You know if you turned that arm a quarter turn to the left, it might stay up a few seconds longer." Again advice, however friendly will only get you so far. No, what I need to do is stand with her, and take up my own responsibility in the fight. I take courage from her courage and I offer whatever assistance I am able to her, and to anyone who needs it. I stand for principles of freedom where I am at. Many hands make the load lighter.
When I think of Sarah Palin, I don't see her as a leader who is demanding that people blindly follow her lead. She's not a 'get in line behind me' kind of person. Rather she has taken a stand and invites us to stand with her. Well, I will stand by anyone who stands for the things she does. And while I'm standing there shoulder to shoulder if the occasion warrants, I'll hold up those arms.