PAGE SEVENTY

Positive-ly Palin

On p. 70, Sarah provides further words about her run for the office of Mayor of Wasilla. She writes, "I decided to challenge the mayor in the upcoming election in order to effect greater change than I could as a council member. The city's chief executive position provided much more responsibility and more opportunities to see where change could be effected. Besides, as every Iditarod musher knows, if you're not the lead dog, the view never changes.

"We had a two-term-limit law, but [Mayor John] Stein had been grandfathered, so he was running for his fourth term. I ran another very grassroots campaign, mostly with the help of my girlfriends. We painted pink-and-green signs with my familiar slogan, "Positive-ly Palin," and posted them all over town. (Pink and green because no one else ever used pink and green.) And when it was time to knock on every door in the city again, I pulled Track and Bristol in a little red wagon, and this time toted Willow in a toddler backpack.

"I promised new energy and an end to politics-as-usual. I raised some eyebrows by promising to cut property taxes. I also promised to take a pay cut. It would be a money-where-your-mouth-is move. If I was going to run as a budget cutter, I figured the cutting had to start with me.

"Plus, as a council member I had just voted against a mayoral pay raise, and it would be hypocritical to conveniently forget that vote if I were elected mayor. Todd wasn't enthused about the pay-cut promise. But Curtis [Menard] Jr. had once shared an observation with me: 'In politics, you're either eating well or sleeping well.' I wanted to sleep well."

Before I proceed to the principal line and course of reflection that these words have inspired in me, I would like to make a few quick observations.

We may note Sarah's droll sense of humor yet again in this passage: The Iditarod/ lead-dog remarks and the pink-and-green campaign signs both make us chuckle. I remember that back in '09, when GR was published, a C4P commentator said something like this: "Governor, there is a reason that no one else ever used pink and green as campaign colors!" I think that Sarah is well aware that these colors kinda clash!! She is poking fun at herself here, IMO.

We may also note Sarah's political and moral consistency: She had voted on the council against a pay raise for the mayor. She was not going to now conveniently forget that vote when she herself had a shot at the city's top spot!! As she says, "I wanted to sleep well."

The principal path of observations and remarks that I wish to follow this morning is derived from the analogous nature of the grassroots campaign that Sarah ran for mayor and the grassroots campaign that she is running and will run for POTUS. The link and bond that ties the two campaigns together is the dual nature of man/woman, namely, our physical nature and our moral/spiritual nature.

It is obvious that Sarah cannot physically approach and visit every home in America, as she visited every home in the city of Wasilla (though what a once-in-a-lifetime privilege and pleasure it would be for each one of us to entertain her in our homes, even if only for a few minutes!!)

However, we human beings can move not just with our feet, but with our minds and spirits too. I can approach someone physically; I can also approach him or her morally, in the mind.

With our feet we can traverse a room, a street, a town; with our spirit we can traverse the entire mighty majesty of the universe, indeed the universe of space and time and fertile, fruitful imagination!!

Here, I believe, is the essence of Sarah's grassroots campaign plan for the Presidency of the United States. She cannot draw nigh unto our HOMES and our HEARTHS, but she can draw nigh unto our HEARTS, unto the hearts and minds of all Americans of good will!! Like her hero, the great President Ronald Reagan, she intends to bypass all of the professional class of paid pundits and professional manufacturers of mendacity, and appeal directly to the American People.

She cannot bring her kids around to each of our homes, wheeling them around in a little red wagon, or carrying them in a toddler backpack. Her older children are grown up or are rapidly growing up. Even if they were still tiny, it would clearly be impossible for her to do this.

However, MORALLY she always carries her precious ones in her heart, wherever she goes; MORALLY speaking, UBI SARAH, IBI ET FILII FILIAEQUE EIUS--"Where Sarah is, there are her sons and her daughters too!!" So, when Sarah approaches us, it is always as a MOM, since being a mother is at the very core and essence of her persona!! No kids, no Sarah!!

We will not hear Sarah's "knock, knock" on the physical doors of wood of our homes as she campaigns in 2012. However, we will certainly perceive, indeed we can already hear, with the ears of the lively and sympathetic spirit, her soft but persistent "knock, knock" at the thresholds of our minds, our hearts, our hopes, our dreams, our aspirations...our love for our country.

Lo! I can hear it even now!!!

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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