Faye Palin, Todd Palin's Stepmom

On p. 87 of GR, Sarah is winding down her discussion of her run for Lieutenant-Governor of Alaska in 2002. She here discusses an incident that caused a scene between her and Todd in connection with the race to fill the job she was about to leave, namely, Mayor of Wasilla.

She writes, "With my mayoral term in its twilight, candidates had been throwing their hats in the ring to replace me. One of them was Todd's stepmom, Faye Palin, a sharp, very professional leader in the city's business community. I'd always said our parents were too smart and too nice to get into politics, yet now Faye was offering to serve Wasilla in a new capacity.

"But the rumor was that John Stein was thinking about running yet again, and I'd be darned if he was going to get back in and wipe out the progress we'd made in Wasilla with his liberal agenda. So I had approached a couple of well-known council members who shared my conservative free-market views and asked them if they'd consider running.

"To beat Stein, I thought we needed a safer bet than Faye, whom I feared wasn't as well known as the council members. Plus my political detractors would take it out on her because of our relationship.

"This did not go over well with my husband. 'That's two-faced,' he said.

"Instead of instant remorse, I jumped on defense. 'That's not entirely true,' I said and quickly tried to spin my way out of trouble. I loved Faye and knew she'd be a great mayor, but I didn't know if she'd defeat a former multiterm mayor. It was a lame excuse for a lame deed, and deep inside I realized it.

"Todd stood his ground and pierced me with those eyes. 'No. That's two-faced.' "

I can perceive that some people might want to seize on these words and on this passage, and attempt thus to interpret the announcement of last 5 October. I can see that an argument might run in this way: "She learned once, when she placed POLITICS above FAMILY, that it was a mistake. This time she placed family above politics."

Perhaps. But I think, first of all, that we do not know to what extent family considerations weighed on her momentous announcement of last fall. Besides, the situation, as many of us believe, is on-going and dynamic. We think she may indeed be running for POTUS, but in an unusual, unconventional way.

The bottom line is that we may never know the full story behind the 5 October proclamation. I do think that those people may be right who suggest that family considerations, and especially concerns for her dear Trig, cannot have been the only factors.

Trig has been a concern all along, and yet, until the last moments or weeks before the start of October, many things seemed to be pointing to a run. Hence, it seems probable that other factors intervened.

So, instead of following this track and path of commentary, I would like to focus on the two-word phrase with which Todd reproached her, and examine it in some detail.

Two-faced. This is one of those phrases that we perhaps encounter and employ from time to time. However, I wonder if we really examine its meaning and its implications.

The expression is a pejorative one, but why is this so? It is certainly not because of the bare fact of the presence of the word and the concept of "two" in the phrase.

Consider a two-edged sword, for example, or a two-mile run, or a two-parent family. These entities would generally be viewed by most people, I think, in a positive way. A two-edged blade will more readily fulfill its "teleology," its purpose, of cutting and slashing.

A two-mile run can provide good exercise, and thus promote good health, although I am sure the Governor would say, yes, but a twenty-six-plus mile run, a marathon, is even better!!

The two-parent family, mom and dad, is one of the foundation blocks of a stable and prosperous and moral society. (This is, of course, not meant as a reproach to heroic single parents who do wonderful jobs with their families; it is just a general observation!)

So, why is it that it is wrong to be "two-faced"? Why, when Todd reproaches Sarah and uses this term in doing so, is he making a pointed and pertinent censure, one with which Sarah agrees in the above passage, as she concedes that she behaved badly?

I think, in general, that we must always look to the telos, the finis, the purpose, end, or goal of an action or of an implement or of an entity of any kind in order to assess its character.

The "twoness" of some things actually makes them more effective: Two-edged swords, two-mile runs, and two-parent families can be more effective in achieving their purposes than the corresponding single-part entities.

In the case of a "two-faced" individual, however, we should consider both the literal and the figurative significations of the term. In the literal sense, a two-faced or two-headed person would be a monstrosity, in the literal sense of that term!!

In the more important and weighty metaphorical sense of the term, I think that the face is an image for the integrity, the wholeness, the ONENESS of mind and soul that we ought to present to others. Since perceptive eyes and spirits can often "read" a person's visage and countenance, and thus acquire a "window" into the soul, the face is aptly used to represent that soul.

While we may like and applaud a two-edged sword, a two-mile run, or a two-parent family, we do not care at all for two-faced people!! We very much want to see brave, morally consistent persons, whose souls are all of one piece. When people look you in the eye (if they look you in the eye) and speak to you, you want to know that they are speaking to you with one voice, one mind, one heart, one spirit.

Our Sarah is such a person. However, no one of us is perfect. She here acknowledges that Todd was right: She should not have gone behind Faye Palin's back to ask other people to run for mayor.

And let us also consider Sarah's greatness of soul in her humble acknowledging of a fault!! How many of us, in our stiff-necked pride, can do this?? How many of us, upon being rebuked and reproached in the way that the Governor was, might have harbored and cherished and nurtured for years angry feelings of resentment? Not Sarah: When she is wrong, she admits it!!

The great Lady of the North Country, whom we met on Sarah Palin Day, 29 August, 2008, is very much ONE-FACED!! She shines forth with one beautiful and integral face of moral consistency and courage, and philosophical wholeness and integrity.

We may note too that she gave us a prime example of the TWO-FACED political hack and fraud and fake when, in her RNC speech of 3 September, 2008, she censured barack obama for speaking one way about conservative people in Scranton, and another way in San Francisco (the "bitter clingers" passage). Other politicians do not seem just TWO-FACED, but THREE-, FOUR-, MULTI-FACED!!

Sarah Palin speaks with one face, one voice, one mind, one heart, one brave, Alaskan and American spirit. It is this ONENESS in her countenance and in her character that equips her to help keep us ONE NATION UNDER GOD. She is a unifier.

She is a WONDERFUL, and, pardon the expression, a "ONE-DERFUL" leader!! God bless you all always. DEO VOLENTE, SARAH 2012!!!!

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: 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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