THIRTY-SIX

"My family fell in love with Todd
right along with me..."


On p. 36 of Going Rogue Sarah continues with the discussion of Todd that she began a few pages before. She writes:

"Despite his steel core, Todd was shy and quiet in demeanor, typical of Yupik men, who, unlike some others, don't feel the need to full up the air around them with words all the time. He was also incredibly well-mannered and polite to my parents, who were smitten with his work ethic and and his constant offers to help anyone who needed anything.

"He stacked firewood for Dad and drove my mom out to the mountains so she could find the perfect skiing conditions. He picked up Molly and me for practices so we wouldn't have to walk. Todd and Dad hit it off because not only could Todd fix anything, but Dad had never met anyone who had an even greater respect for Alaska and her wildlife than we did.

"My family fell in love with Todd right along with me."

Ah, the emptiness of (mere) words sometimes; the eloquence of silence; the puissance and power, power that extends even to the moving of millions of minds and the altering of the very landscape of history, yes, the efficacy of the exterior words of the lips when they dance and flow and frolic from the interior words of the heart!!!

I have a few general thoughts about words and about silence; then I have a few thoughts about the heart-touching and life-changing eloquence of America's (soon-to-be) First Couple.

Who shall dare to deny that the splendid and solitary eloquence of Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill changed history during the frightfully fateful summer and autumn days of 1940, when Britain stood alone against the viciously efficient might of the Nazi Empire??

His unconquered, unvanquished, and unconquerable spirit, as expressed in his BBC speeches, like the "we shall never surrender" and the "this was their finest hour" orations, communicated itself to his countrymen/women, and prepared the way for that interior mental and spiritual victory that will always precede and foreshadow and pave the way for exterior military and/or political triumphs.

And yet, what was the source and spring of this history-altering eloquence?? Those days of thunder and lightning in '40 had their origin in years of quiet spiritual labor and quiet acts of courage.

The young Churchill who faced unflinchingly the bullets of the enemy as a young cavalryman in the late nineteenth century; the Churchill who was taken prisoner in South Africa by the Boers; the statesman whose Cassandra-like warnings in the 30s about Germany's rearmament and Britain's unprepared state fell flat on the uncomprehending ears of his countrymen; it was this Churchill, with his decades-long spiritual and interior preparation, who at length roared forth as a veritable FOURTH LION on England's three-lion battle standard!!

When we hear with our physical ears the words, the strong, intrepid syllables, of brave men and women, we are really listening with the ears of our hearts to the brave-hearted souls of these heroes and heroines...and these stout hearts have often been formed and molded on quiet, silent battlefields of the spirit, battles and struggles that have often stretched over the course and compass of years and even decades.

Now let us consider for a moment the trite but true expression that "actions speak louder than words." A better way to express this might be that actions can BE the "words" that flow from a great heart.

Think, then, of the eloquence of young Todd Palin. Think how he "spoke" from his spirit to Sarah's family in all of the quiet, considerate actions he performed for and with them!!

At a time and age when many young people in our "elite" colleges and universities were learning the nefarious anti-art of using and abusing words for lying and deception and propaganda, this true Alaskan and American spoke to his soon-to-be in-laws and relatives in gentle, noble "words" that were as true and brave and golden as they were quiet and subtle and even silent!

Finally, let us think of our Sarah for a moment. For me, and I suspect that millions upon more millions of Americans would consent and concur with me in this, for me, Sarah's scintillating smile is worth more than 10,000 words. Her brilliant, kind eyes are worth more than 10,000 words.

Her tiniest gestures of kindness, of nobility, of humor, such as writing on her hand and humbly putting TV make-up on a Vietnam war hero, are worth more than 10,000 words. Her lingering and lingering for extra hours upon extra hours to greet her people along the '08 campaign trail is worth more than 10,000 words.

Her signing and signing and signing of thousands upon more thousands of copies of GR during the course of her '09 book tour--an exercise that almost wore out her heroic right hand--this action too is worth more to me than 10,000 words.

Sarah has indeed waxed mighty and moving in her oratorical splendor and eloquence these last couple of years, and never more so than on 3 September, 2008, the night of her deathless RNC speech. Eloquent she will be again when, as we ardently believe and hope shall come to pass, she accepts the GOP nomination for President in 2012, and then pronounces her Presidential Inaugural Address on 20 January, 2013.

However, already, already, just as she and her family listened with joy and happiness to Todd's eloquence of deeds so many years ago, already has Sarah spoken to us in a language more eloquent than Shakespeare's English, than Cicero's Latin, than Plato's Greek...

COR AD COR LOCUTUM EST,

HEART HATH SPOKEN TO HEART!!!!!

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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