"A ship in harbor is safe, but that is
not why the ship was built."

On p. 14 Sarah is describing and discussing her family's migration to the Great Land. She writes:

"In those days, it was unusual for an entire family to pull up stakes and relocate to the Last Frontier. Unless you were a member of a multigenerational Alaska Native family like my husband Todd's, it was usually the family breadwinner who trekked north to seek adventure and job opportunities, while the nuclear family remained in the safe, known confines of the Lower 48."

I would like to focus attention on the very last of these words. Do you guys remember Sarah's words, delivered in Dayton, Ohio on 29 August, 2008, Sarah Palin Day?

She used the image of a ship, and said something like the following (I am citing from memory):

"In politics, it is always simpler to do the safe and easy thing. A ship in harbor is safe, BUT THAT IS NOT WHY THE SHIP WAS BUILT (emphasis added)."

Profound words!!!

Sarah is looking at the "teleology" of things here, their ultimate "telos," "finis," end, aim, purpose. A ship is made for adventure; a ship is made for challenges; a ship is made to confront and essay the perils of the deep, the perils of the might and majesty of Neptune's salty seas, either for the purposes of commerce or for those of combat!

Surely the same is true of us human beings!!! The Lord made us to go to war for Him and for our fellow men/women ("Love the Lord thy God...Love thy neighbor").

We may even consider for a moment the Hobbits of JRR Tolkien's deathless Middle Earth. Ah, the little folk, lovers of their Shire; lovers of their six or eight (or whatever) meals per day; lovers of good pipe-weed; lovers of good brews!!!

And yet, and yet...that GOD who is omnipresent in Tolkien's work without ever being named in it (I am not thinking of The Silmarillion, etc.--maybe this is why Tolkien gained the dubious and puzzling support of 60's radicals: they did not really understand his work)--anyway, that God who is everywhere on Tolkien's pages, ultimately called and summoned the Hobbits of the Shire to trial, to testing, to combat. Indeed, they were the ones destined and chosen, at the ultimate and final hour, to turn and bend the scales of the Third Age to victory in the person of Frodo and Samwise at the cracks of Mount Doom!!

Let us now briefly consider each of the three words that Sarah uses at the end of the passage from Going Rogue cited above ("safe," "known," "confines").

First, "safe": Surely there is a time for rest; a time for respite; a time for being safe. But this is only true because we must rest, we must gain respite FOR a special end and purpose. We can rest and be safe and regather our strength in Lothlorien (Tolkien again) for a time; eventually, however, the Mission and War of the Ring must go forward!!

Second, "known": precisely because we cannot see the Lord's ultimate purposes for us and for the course of our lives ("teleology" again), we must be open to that which is UNKNOWN; to that which is risky; to that which is fraught with danger!

Chuck Heath rides the rails.

Third, "confines": the noun is closely related, of course, to the verb "confine," with all of the pejorative weight that that word bears and carries (the position of the accent, the word stress, differentiates the noun and the verb). We, in fact, are called to liberty and freedom, and, under God's Law of course, are asked to FREE ourselves from constraints, from "CONfines that "conFINE" us!!

Well, Chuck and Sally Heath took the path of the brave and the bold in heading north with their little kids to Alaska in the mid-60's. And children, while retaining their own individuality and free will, are greatly influenced and affected by the choices that their parents make.

So, what return of gratitude and grateful thanks can we ever make to these two hardy souls who did the unusual thing; the daring thing; the gallant thing...and brought into this world a lovely and unique leader and lady, Sarah Louise Heath Palin?

WE cannot make adequate return, ever. That is for the Lord to do.

However, we can say: "Thank you, Chuck and Sally, for giving us, for giving this time and this generation, for giving America and indeed the entire world the gift of Our Sarah!!!"

Read It For Yourself:

Other Great Sarah Books:

Palin Essentials:


All sidebar photos are from Wikimedia. I have tried to post all royalty-free images or to get permission, but in a few cases I could not locate the original source of a photograph or find a way to ask permission.

Contact info:

Other Great Going Rogue Reviews:

Jedediah Bila:

"Palin’s inviting first-person narration that is sometimes whimsical, often confident, and always patriotic...Going Rogue is truly one of those reads in which you put the book down after your eyes graze the final lines and you somehow feel like the writer is someone you’ve known all your life."
John Ziegler:

"I was simply blown away by Going Rogue on almost every level. For many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime..."
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata:
"Her book washes away all doubts that any reader might have had about her readiness to be president. She comes across as exceptionally bright, dedicated, and passionate about public service. Her moral compass is strong, pointing true North in this case. And she has a wicked sense of humor."
Don Surber:
"Conservatives know why Palin is still standing — and standing taller today than those who tried to bring her down. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Thank you, Tina Fey."

Sarah Palin is Coming to Town

Review by Stanley Fish:

When I walked into the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan last week, I headed straight for the bright young thing who wore an “Ask Me” button, and asked her to point me to the section of the store where I might find Sarah Palin’s memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.” She looked at me as if I had requested a copy of “Mein Kampf” signed in blood by the author....

A few days later...I had begun reading Palin’s book, and while I wouldn’t count myself a fan in the sense of being a supporter, I found it compelling and very well done....

First, the art. The book has an architectonic structure that is built around a single moment, the moment when Palin receives a call from John McCain inviting her to be the vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party. When we first hear about the call it is as much a surprise to us as it was (at least as reported) to her, because for six pages she has been recounting a wonderful family outing at the Alaska State Fair. When her phone rings, she hopes it might be a call from her son Track, a soldier soon to deploy to Iraq, but “it was Senator John McCain asking if I wanted to help him change history.”

And that’s the last we hear of it for 200 pages. In between we hear a lot about Wasilla, high school, basketball, college, marriage, children, Down syndrome, Alaska politics, the environment, a daughter’s pregnancy. The re-entry of John McCain into the narrative on page 208 introduces Palin’s account of the presidential campaign and its aftermath, especially her decision to resign the governorship before the end of her term....

Paradoxically, the effect of the neatly spaced references to the call is to de-emphasize it as a dramatic moment. It is presented not as a climax, but as an interruption of matters more central to Palin’s abiding concerns — her family, Alaska’s prosperity, energy policy. (She loves to rehearse the kind of wonkish details we associate with Hillary Clinton, whom she admires.)

Indeed, it is a feature of this narrative that events we might have expected to be foregrounded are elided or passed over. Palin introduced herself to the nation with a powerful, electrifying speech accepting McCain’s invitation to join the ticket. It gets half a sentence (“I gave my speech”)....

The only event that receives an extended discussion is her resignation. It is important to her because as an act it reflects on her integrity, and she has to be sure (as she eventually was) that she was doing it for the right reasons.

Resigning was a moral act for which she was responsible. The vice-presidential candidacy just happened to her; her account of it reads like an extended “what-I-did-on-my summer-and fall-vacation” essay.

For many politicians, family life is sandwiched in between long hours in public service. Palin wants us to know that for her it is the reverse. Political success is an accident that says nothing about you. Success as a wife, mother and citizen says everything...

I find the voice undeniably authentic...It is the voice of small-town America, with its folk wisdom, regional pride, common sense, distrust of rhetoric (itself a rhetorical trope), love of country and instinctive (not doctrinal) piety.

It says, here are some of the great things that have happened to me, but they are not what makes my life great and American. (“An American life is an extraordinary life.”) It says, don’t you agree with me that family, freedom and the beauties of nature are what sustain us?

And it also says, vote for me next time. For it is the voice of a politician, of the little girl who thought she could fly, tried it, scraped her knees, dusted herself off and “kept walking.”

In the end, perseverance, the ability to absorb defeat without falling into defeatism, is the key to Palin’s character. It’s what makes her run in both senses of the word and it is no accident that the physical act of running is throughout the book the metaphor for joy and real life. Her handlers in the McCain campaign wouldn’t let her run (a mistake, I think, even at the level of photo-op), no doubt because they feared another opportunity to go “off script,” to “go rogue.”

But run she does (and falls, but so what?), and when it is all over and she has lost the vice presidency and resigned the governorship, she goes on a long run and rehearses in her mind the eventful year she has chronicled. And as she runs, she achieves equilibrium and hope: “We’ve been through amazing days, and really, there wasn’t one thing to complain about. I feel such freedom, such hope, such thankfulness for our country, a place where nothing is hopeless.”

The message is clear. America can’t be stopped. I can’t be stopped. I’ve stumbled and fallen, but I always get up and run again. Her political opponents, especially those who dismissed Ronald Reagan before he was elected, should take note. Wherever you are, you better watch out. Sarah Palin is coming to town.

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