September 13, 2008

REACHING EVEN THE LEAST LIKELYS:

'I am a liberal, but I'm blown away by Sarah Palin' (Rebecca Johnson, 11/09/2008, Daily Telegraph)

[I] ran down to the beach to find my mother. A left-leaning Quaker who is president of the League of Women Voters in her Texas town, my mother is the least likely person to celebrate the election of a Republican to national office. [...]

"Sarah Palin is the vice-presidential candidate," I told my mother when I found her under a beach umbrella.

We hugged each other joyfully. Politics be damned, Palin was a woman and she was an Alaskan! Moreover, I had been impressed with her when I interviewed her - not for her politics (I'm one of those east coast liberals she doesn't care about) but for the other things that people across the country are responding to right now:her warmth, her work ethic, her "can-do" attitude.

If life is simply a reprise of high school, Palin was the jock who attended church faithfully, ran the soup kitchen, and organised the bake sale. If her paper on the Lincoln-Douglas debate wasn't the most nuanced, so be it. Something has to give.

In my article, I wrote about how hard it is for Palin not to smile. The American media has been dismissive of that beauty-queen smile, but Palin really did enter the Miss Wasilla contest for the scholarship money. (To make extra money, her retired parents currently shoo the birds off the runway at the Anchorage airport so the birds' bodies don't muck up the engines' turbine.) Even then, Palin didn't like the pageant and was appalled when they asked her to turn around and show the judges her behind.

Once upon a time, I also would have been contemptuous of Palin's incurable optimism but, having been knocked around by life a bit, I now understand what a gift chronically happy people are given.

Life hands them difficulties -a Down's syndrome baby, a 17-year-old daughter pregnant before her life as an adult has even begun, a much-needed job on the oil and gas commission that comes with too many strings - and she is not flummoxed or depressed or angry or self-pitying. She endures.

My liberal friends were outraged when rumours about Barack Obama attending a Madrassa or being a Muslim surfaced on the internet, but all week they have been gleefully trading emails of Sarah Palin distortions.

There was the doctored picture of her carrying a rifle, wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini while a man in the background drank Schlitz beer. Or dopey quotes about God, creationism and moose, all of which have been subsequently debunked.

There have also been snide remarks about Wal-Mart and K-Mart, as if there is something shameful about trying to save money.


Does the Secret Service provide Joe Biden with a food taster?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 13, 2008 6:52 AM
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