Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin
I was at home sick yesterday and watched in astonishment as John McCain picked first-term Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. I listened to her speech and I was impressed. I found Sarah Palin refreshing in the political world for her brashness, for her blue-collar roots, and for what she has accomplished in her short political career. As I was watching her speak, my mouth dropped repeatedly and I quickly came to the conclusion that Barack Obama would soon rue the day he did not pick Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
I am a lifelong Democrat and I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. But I was never as excited about Hillary's campaign as I am by what Sarah Palin represents. But I was quickly dismayed as the predictable talking heads and surrogates lined up to either denounce Sarah Palin or to extol her virtues depending on the network editorial philosophy or what side of the aisle the surrogate represented.
You see, I have been disgusted with our two-party system for some time. In the HBO mini-series John Adams, our nation's second President warned of the dangers of our new country dividing itself across a line of ideology created by a two-party system. Never has the United States been more divided. We're either residents of a red state or a blue state. We're either a liberal or right-wing zealot. We're either an atheist or a bastion of orthodoxy spouting fire and brimstone. We're either pro-life or against it. We're either a war monger or a pacifist.
Well it's not that f*cking black and white. It is possible to be a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. It's possible to be a fiscal liberal, a social liberal, and to be an isolationist. It's possilbe to be pro-Israel, pro-military, pro-choice, and pro-environment. And it's possible to change or evolve where we stand on the liberal-conservative continuum as we grow older and the balance of power in the world and the economy changes over time.
Our nation's polarization does not have to be this way. The truth of the matter is that life is complicated, and world issues continually force us to reexamine our choices and make decisions based on the context of the day. It is so easy for Barack Obama to say that he never supported the Iraq War. Well you know what? I never supported the Iraq War either, but as much as I have always disliked President Bush, in the days following 9/11 I was out for blood, I wanted retribution, and I was standing together with all my fellow Americans as one. Yes, we were a mob and yes, perhaps we acted too quickly without finding out all the information we could. Fine. But after New York and Pennsylvania and the Pentagon were punched in the face by that bully down the street, the rest of the American family wasn't going to stand for it and we were going to march over to that bully's house and kick his ass. That's what brothers and sisters do. That's what any member of the family will do when another family member is attacked. That we were lied to and manipulated by our President and his senior advisers is not our fault. It's his. And yes, we beat up the wrong bully. We have to live with that and ask for forgiveness and try to learn from our mistake. But it's really disingenuous on the part of Barack Obama to say he never voted for the Iraq War when he was not in the Senate and not in a position to vote for or against the war. Because if he were in the Senate on 9/11 and he didn't vote for the war, his electorate would have voted him out of office.
I believe that John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin is a "Hail Mary" pass. I believe that John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin is an attempt to reach out to disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. But I also believe that John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin is a daring and inspired choice made by someone who truly wants change and an end to business as usual in Washington.
Let's face it, John McCain, if elected, is a one-term President. There's a strong possibility that this two-time cancer survivor may become incapacitated while in office. Whoever John McCain picked as his running mate would have to be ready to take over the job as President of the United States with potentially little warning. John McCain knows this. So what does John McCain want for this country?
John McCain is a war hero. We all know that. No one can question his love for the United States, or his heroism--which I will admit is being used way too much by his campaign. Being a war hero does not qualify you for the highest office in the land. But what does he want for this country that he loves? Could it be that what John McCain wants is to end the lip service of bipartisanship by picking a running mate that broke down party lines in her own state, who fought corruption, who cleaned house so that government could stop wasting time and start taking care of the issues important to the people and to the nation?
There are many issues that Sarah Palin supports that scare me. I'll be the first to admit it. But there is so much more in this woman to admire that I'm excited about the chance to shake up our government and start dealing with issues rather than dealing with the same old result of politicians being politicians and securing their own reelections.
Here's what I know about Sarah Palin:
1. She took on and fought the good ole boy network in Alaska. She took down an incumbent governor of the same party in the primary, she got a corrupt attorney general fired. She got a corrupt US Senator out of office.
2. She reaches across both aisles and puts democrats and independents in high positions in her government.
3. She understands Energy Policy like no other in Washington as Alaska is an Energy State even bigger than Texas.
4. She does not cave to the oil interests in Alaska and taxed them at a greater rate so she could return $1200 in gas taxes per person to the people of Alaska.
5. Russia borders Alaska across the very narrow Bering Strait--it's only 53 miles wide. How ignorant of foreign policy can she be? In addition, her oldest son has enlisted in the army and will be deployed to Iraq.
6. She comes from a blue-collar family, the daughter of teachers, the wife of a fisherman and union member.
Some of the criticisms that have been thrown at her include:
1. She's not experienced, she was mayor of a town of 9,000 people, less than 1/20th the size of Obama's State Senate District. So? She's run a city, she's run a State for two years. She has more executive experience than Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and John McCain combined.
2. Alaska is inconsequential with less than a million inhabitants. So? Alaska makes up a land area 1/5 as large as the entire Lower 48. Governor Palin is responsible for all that takes place within that huge landmass's borders--earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, roads subject to huge extremes in temperature and upheaval due to the annual freezing and thawing of the permafrost layer, and cities and towns so inaccessible that they can only be reached by air. Not to mention a world-renowned tourism industry, and the governance of more National Parks Land than in all of the rest of the United States combined.
3. Sarah Palin is a staunch right-to-lifer, she would abolish Roe vs. Wade and ban abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Well, the Supreme Court would probably have something to say about that. Roe v. Wade is a landmark decision. Congress would not pass such a law, although certain legislators might try. BUT, knowing that her youngest child would have Down's syndrome, she and her husband brought that child into the world anyway. This is a woman with convictions she believes in and who will not sacrifice them to take the easy way out--if that is not the definition of leadership, I don't know what is.
What I want out of my elected leaders in Washington is simply to lead this nation. To address the issues of the day instead of hiding their heads in the sand. I want my leaders to be honorable men and women with strong morals, values--even if they differ from my own, and integrity. I want my elected leaders to listen, to care, to anticipate, and to be responsive. And I want them to be honest.
I think Sarah Palin has the potential to be the leader we have been craving for, and that's what has me so excited. I believe Sarah Palin, if elected to the office of Vice President, would be in a strong position to help end the partisan gridlock and corruption and ineffectiveness in Washington. I really believe that's what John McCain wants. He's been saying it for over a decade. Why wouldn't it be true? His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate just reinforces that idea.
I don't know yet who I'm going to vote for. But I'm not going to vote against someone because of:
1) What the talking heads on television tell me to think.
2) Because my choice of candidate didn't win the nomination.
3) There are issues the candidate supports that I don't agree with.
First and foremost, I want change in Washington. I want an end to partisan bickering. I want an end to gridlock. I want our government focused on what it needs to do to take care of the issues mentioned in the preamble of our constitution:
We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.And that's for all Americans--the poor, the middle class, and the rich. Because at the end of the day, we are all in this nation together. For those of us who are still striving to make our version of the American Dream a reality we want a government that will support us and help us. And for those of us who have made our version of the American Dream a reality, we don't want our government involved in taking any part of it away.
John McCain and Sarah Palin might very well be the no-nonsense ticket we've all been waiting for to shake up Washington at last.
Thanks for reading.
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