Monday, June 15, 2009

In Defense of Sarah

I have spent years as a political groupie and an observer of the personalities who played major and minor roles on the political scene. Living in Washington for decades, I knew many of the political figures who appeared on and off the stage, including Presidents, Senators and Congressmen.

Before my literary career gained traction, I ran a number of political campaigns for both Democrats and Republicans and can say, with modesty, that I understand how the system operates. I have seen political stars rise and fall for reasons both deserved and undeserved.

I do admit to a centrist position as my personal political doctrine. Admittedly, I am, like many novelists, more of an observer than activist and I do feast on argument and contention as a learning experience.

Having reached the age of entitlement, I say what I think, however outside the mainstream of prevailing opinion and I do believe in the polite laws of debate. I love hearing contrary views, listen carefully, applaud and encourage them in others and passionately refute them without restraint or personal animosity.

All that said, I vociferously disagree with obtuse entertainers like David Letterman and the vast Army of media mavens and talking heads who have been bashing Sarah Palin. It disgusts me.

Governor Palin, to my mind, is the ideal of a certain type of feminine achiever, a role model to a vast majority of women who have aspirations to have it all, meaning marriage, motherhood and achievement in a profession that requires hands on leadership skills. Others might not consider this path the paragon of female aspirations nor does it disparage them to offer her as an example.

Imagine, this full time devoted mother and wife, a woman of tireless energy, who brought down the old boy network in her home state and worked her way into the Governorship and is considered one of the most popular Governors in the United States to be the object of the vilest personal attacks in modern political life.

One might argue as Harry Truman did, that if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. Indeed, our political life has been filled with vicious accusations of sinister motives hurled by journalists, talking heads and political enemies against people with whom they disagree. Every politician knows he or she is fair game.

While I don’t agree with Governor Palin on every issue, I admire her achievement, her pluck and her remarkable restraint in the face of the worst underserved drubbing of a political figure in modern memory. I’m not an Alaskan or a Midwesterner but I do know of her remarkable achievement in pushing a gas pipeline that will carry Alaskan gas through Canada to warm the homes of many Midwesterners. Even her enemies will acknowledge this as a major accomplishment after years of fruitless negotiations by others.

As Americans we all have a right to excoriate our politicians, to vocally blast them when we think they are wrong, but I do think that remarks like those of an insensitive TV host insulting a 14 year old child is beyond the pale, in fact nauseating. What devoted and loving mother or father wouldn’t kick back when their child is insulted? Remember Harry Truman writing that letter to the music critic who wrote an insulting review about his daughter’s singing. Every politician who knows the sting of such criticism should have come to her defense and the idiot host should have apologized. Are you listening Carters and Clintons?

Sarah Palin, whatever you may think of her, has proven that she can take care of herself. She may not be some Ivy League hotshot, many of who have screwed up the country in the last couple of decades. She may not speak with great rhetorical flourishes or offer an image of gravitas so beloved of talking television heads. Indeed, she may even be too attractive to be taken seriously by those who expect their female politicians to be more matronly, prefer pants suits to dresses and not be burdened with the messy mommy problems of child rearing.

I need not wonder how Michelle Obama would have reacted if some TV host had disparaged her two beautiful girls. Mr. Letterman would not have been able to sit down for days.

Those like myself, who celebrate the rise of women in our society after years of restriction should be defending Sarah Palin, especially in this instance, not demeaning her.


Fiona said...

Yes agreed! I'm not a supporter nor politically a fan of Palin. But I nevertheless applaud her achieving what she has achieved in a predominantly male environment. Letterman was crass and crude and NOT FUNNY.

GC said...
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GC said...

After hearing about Mark Sanford's disappearing act, John Kerry just couldn't resist saying:
"Too bad if a governor had to go missing, it couldn’t have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin."

Attacking Palin never seems to lose its appeal for the Democrats or the media. One must ask - What are they so afraid of?
She made it on her own talent and drive without family backing or an Ivy League education or marrying the heir to the Heinz fortune. Sarah Palin represents the rugged individualism of our heritage, a modern day Horatio Alger, and that is something her political enemies resent. The more they berate her, the more petty they look.

sarah g. said...

Fine, no bashing. However I am unsure how "American" it is to give a huge oil contract to another country, even Canada, while intentionally targeting and eliminating American businesses to make a point and strictly with the intent on gaining votes and support from Alaskans Angry at Exxon. There are plenty of driven people who are not good, I bet any of us can think of 5 in a heart's beat. I am neither a Democrat or in the media. I for one would like a leader who has at least a reasonable education, did not marry into oil ( i find it far more dangerous than ketchup or even catsup), and whose politics aren't in direct opposition to her life.

gc said...

Sarah G.- You claim "No bashing" and then you go on to accuse Palin of being no good and you claim that her politics are in opposition to her life -- and then for good measure, you insinuate her education is inferior ... hmmmm...if that isn't bashing, I'd hate to see what is.

Prime Time said...

What happened to the winter writing contest? was it fake? i would tell people not to enter the current one until they hear if you are acknowledging the submissions from the winter.

Prime Time said...
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Warren Adler said...

Beware when you make baseless and slanderous accusations. The winners were not only acknowledged their cash prizes were awarded on time. We do not acknowledge submissions only winners. Frankly, you owe us an apology for your rather disgusting allegation.