THIRTY-FOUR

Todd Palin, high school yearbook.

On p. 34 of Going Rogue Sarah is in the midst of her account of crucial and decisive hours and days in her life. Her dad, at the bottom of p. 33, has just finished with his account of the new guy at Wasilla High, Todd Palin, "...the best basketball player Wasilla's ever had," as he says.

Sarah then says:

"My ears perked up. A week later, between our pickup basketball scrimmages in the Warrior gym, I finally met this mystery guy. When I saw him, my world turned upside down. I actually whispered, 'Thank you, God.' "

Guys, these words are so simple; yet, as we have found and will find over and over in this profoundly lovely book, depths of insight and meaning, I believe, lie disguised beneath them. This is exactly what we would expect. For the words proceed from the mind and soul of a unique lady who is herself at one and the same time profoundly simple and yet also a great mystery!!

SARAH NOSTRA, SIMPLEX ET RECTA, PROFUNDA POTENSQUE, "Our Sarah, simple and upright, profound and powerful." Indeed, just as every cell in our bodies contains, as I understand it, the DNA code of our whole being within its embrace, so, in the case of a special spirit like Sarah, every word and action of hers contains, in a certain sense, her whole life and character within its compass.

I think this is one reason we find even her tiniest acts and actions so endearing, so precious, so potent. Just take her writing on her hand in recent months, her tears shed during the singing of "Amazing Grace" last Saturday in D.C., the regal posture she assumed, so naturally and unconsciously, during the same hymn.

All of these acts, and so many thousands and thousands more, all of them proclaim her spirit's depth of splendor in eloquence that is all the more thunderous and stentorian the more it is enshrined and embodied in gestures that are tiny, sweet, subtle, sometimes almost invisible to our eyes!!

Let me offer just a few remarks about these words.

"My ears perked up."

I must admit that I have been charmed by this sentence ever since I first read it last November. It, of course, represents a literary device: It is not so much Sarah's physical ears that are perking up as her curiosity, her attention, her interest.

Still, the image resonates with us so truly and profoundly precisely because we are humans listening to a human being using a human literary expression. There is the deepest and most mysterious bond between our bodies and our souls.

The exterior ear is at one and the same time an instrument of and an image of the interior ear of the spirit. It is that interior ear that perks up, that leans forward, that says, "This is worth hearing, worth contemplating, worth pursuing."

"A week later...I finally met this mystery guy."

We know well, from the previous page, that Sarah had "just about given up hope" that she would ever meet that special guy. Now, although she does not explicitly say it here, can we doubt the turmoil of hopes and of doubts she must have endured for those long, long, long seven days??

Most importantly, knowing, as we do, how religious Sarah was and is, can we doubt the thousands of prayers she must have poured forth to the throne of the All-Highest during that week of waiting? We can well imagine her saying something like, "Please, Lord, Thy will be done. I shall accept Thy decision if it cannot be, but, if it be possible..."

I might add that I feel that WE are enduring our "week" of waiting right now as we pray and hope that Sarah will run for President: "Please, Lord, Thy will be done. We shall accept Thy decision if it cannot be, but, if it be possible..."

"When I saw him, my world turned upside down."

What is this?? Sarah had not yet met Todd; they had not yet had a chance to talk; they had not yet been on a date. And yet, she says that her world was, not knocked slightly askew, not ruffled up a bit; no, it was "turned upside down"!!! Surely we see here the early adumbrations of that extraordinary faculty of seeing into people's spirits and minds and souls that seems to be a particular gift of our Sarah.


Behold all of the candidates she has endorsed and backed in recent months. She has an eye for excellence; an eye for what is real; and eye for what is true. She has been vouchsafed and granted, I believe, this special interior vision because of the unique vocation she will have in resuscitating our Republic. She will need strong, true, faithful men and women at her side in this momentous task. And it all began when God used His gift to her to help her find Todd.

"I actually whispered, 'Thank you, God.' "

Does not our Sarah seem to carry poised and balanced within her character and spirit a perfect equilibrium in so many ways?!?

Supremely self-confident, and yet humble too.

Gracious and kind and gentle, and yet tough and fearless when confronting evildoers in high places.

Well-read and smart, but not pedantic and pompous.

Deeply and truly religious, but not preachy and sanctimonious.

So what does she do at the very moment she sees and beholds all the hopes of her young heart about to be fulfilled in her Todd? She quietly and truly thanks the Lord!! Not a long orison; not an extended ode of gratitude...just three words: Simple, profound, perfect.

Guys, I can think of no better words myself this fine early morning, the last one of a momentous month of August, no better words to address to the Lord in thanking Him for the gift of Sarah, than those three words of the Lady of the North Country:

Thank you, God.

Read It For Yourself:

Other Great Sarah Books:

Palin Essentials:

Credits:

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: bbrianus@gmail.com.

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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