On p. 89 of GR, Sarah is wrapping up her discussion of her 2002 run for Lieutenant-Governor of Alaska. She writes, "Looking back, my lack of passion in even contemplating gunning for the job should have been a sign. My basketball coaches used to say, 'Practice how you play.' If I was going to run this kind of halfhearted campaign, was that some indication of how I would have performed in the job?

"Reading my journal entries from those days, I detect the note of apathy that I absolutely loathe in today's political culture. I'd made a mistake, but that's the way we learn life's most important lessons. I would not make the same mistake again."

I would like to focus this morning on one key term from this passage, the word "apathy." What is its etymology? It is derived from the Greek word "pathos," "suffering," "feeling," and from what is called alpha-privative, that is, "negating a." We see this "a" often in English in words like "apolitical" and "atheist." It may be translated by our word "without."

So, someone who is possessed by "apathy," who is apathetic, is "without suffering or feeling" … sort of like being numb. Now, sometimes it is good and necessary to be, literally, "without feelings"!! On the physical level, who would want to undergo a root canal or tooth extraction without an anesthetic!!

So too on the psychological level, when we have suffered a great loss, such as the death of a beloved one, we can go into a temporary state of emotional numbness. This is a wise and necessary defensive mechanism that is built into our nature. However, it is very important that such TEMPORARY expedients of nature not become permanent.

 We have all experienced, I think, falling asleep on an arm or a leg, and waking up to find that it is numb from the cutting off of the blood flow. No permanent damage, but we certainly wouldn't want this condition to last!!!

I think that one of the greatest temptations men and women are confronted with is the desire to escape, to dull and obliterate the sharp pain and exquisite dolor of existence and of life. In one of his most famous passages, the ancient Greek dramatist, Aeschylus, juxtaposes two terms in his Greek, PATHOS, Suffering, and MATHOS, Learning.

 Wisdom comes from suffering. A consequence of this ancient truth is that the attempt to flee from, to escape, suffering, can cause one to "flee" from wisdom and knowledge too. Remember, in Aldous Huxley's futuristic novel "Brave New World" how the people of this society would take a drug called SOMA to escape from reality?!? The result was a doped up, drugged up "society" of robots and slaves.

God save America from such a fate!!! NUMB IS DUMB!!! And herein, IMV, is one of the principal reasons that our dear Sarah shines as a brilliant and effulgent Northern Light to all of America!! It is a reason why she seems to be and IS so bright, so alive, so radiant. SHE HAS COURAGE AND GUTS AND COJONES!!!

She has had the courage to be alive; the courage to confront life head-on; the courage not to run and hide from suffering; the courage to feel pain; the courage to face losses; the courage to be human, to be Alaskan, to be American!!!!! Give us just 300 others like her, like Andrew Breitbart, like Leonidas' 300 Spartans of old, and we, like those valiant immortals of antiquity, will overcome all the myriad slave hordes that are seeking the ruination and the fall of America!!

Let me say a few more words on this theme and subject. On the physical plane, when the heart pumps and blood flows, we live. On the spiritual level, if we allow LIFE to flow freely in our "hearts," if we do not shy away from or shun the purgative and illuminative power of suffering, wisdom flows through the "veins" of our souls and of our spirits. But there is more.

Just as a creature that is physically healthy and mature in the fine flush and fortitude of the fullness of its time, and in the strong flow of its blood, can procreate, can generate young, so people who are alive and vibrant with the spiritual blood flow of courage and of wisdom can "generate" spiritual sons and daughters, and can inspire them, thousands and millions of them, to do and live and act in like manner!!

Such has been the victory and the achievement of our peerless and precious Sarah over these last three-and-a-half desperate and dangerous years for the Res Publica Americana!!! She has always fought and resisted the cowardice of anesthesia; the cowardice of apathy; the cowardice of spiritual death. She has inspired millions of others to imitate and follow her.

This is what has made her, in this HOUR of SUPREME CRISIS, a second Founder of America, THE MOTHER OF HER COUNTRY!!!

With the Fair Lady and Warrior of Wasilla and of the North Country, let us always reject the comfortable but ultimately death-dealing, low, miserable roads and anodyne paths of apathy; let us instead walk on the high road and majestic if thorny path that leads ever North, North with Sarah---North to the Great Land of our highest and loftiest aspirations, upward and onward to the North Star, to the True North (like Tolkien's True West), to our glorious and eternal destiny!!


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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