Watching the talking heads and reading the scribbling of the Washington wizards concerning the announcement by Sarah Palin of her resignation as Governor of Alaska, I am reminded of an incident that happened a number of years ago.
A friend and I were driving through the countryside of northern Michigan when my friend decided he would like to stop for a beer. We pulled into the parking lot of a roadside tavern on the outskirts of a small town and went inside. We walked up to an empty spot at the bar and stood waiting for the bartender to finish with other customers and take our order.
My friend is a rather imposing figure, standing six-feet-four in his size twelve brogans, with hands only slightly smaller than an outfielder’s glove and a physique reminiscent of a Chicago Bears linebacker.
As we were standing there, I noticed two locals engaged in a friendly game of darts, except that my friend and I were standing between them and the dartboard. I reached up, tapped my friend on the shoulder, and quietly informed him that we were interfering with the men’s game. Looking around he noticed the dart players for the first time and quickly stepped aside with an apology; “Sorry, I didn’t notice”.
One of the dart-playing duo looked up at my friend with a slight smile on his face and replied, “That’s OK big guy; you can stand anywhere you like”.
That’s about the way I feel about Sarah Palin. She has served the state of Alaska well in every public office she has held, from the PTA in Wasilla, to the Governor’s office in Juneau, and she gave the Republican candidate, John McCain the only hope he had of winning the Presidency. For the most part she has gotten only grief for her troubles, plus a staggering legal bill from defending herself against a continuing stream of unfounded and unwarranted accusations by her political enemies.
She owes nothing to the Republican Party and any obligations she may have had to John McCain for picking her as his running mate has been canceled out by the behavior of his campaign staffers after the election. She certainly owes nothing to the political establishment or the uncaring and thoughtless masses that have delighted in the public attacks on her and her family. If she does retire from politics, it will be a serious but well-deserved loss for America.
Those of us who admire her and appreciate the “All-American spirit” she brought to the political arena will wish her well if she chooses to re-prioritize her life not to include politics. If she chooses to spend her time as first mate on the family fishing boat, or just helping her family heal from the wounds inflicted on it by a cruel and unfeeling media, so be it.
On the other hand, if she decides to run for Congress in 2010 or for the White House in 2012 or 16, millions of Americans will be in her corner cheering her on and supporting her efforts.
The most frequent advice she has gotten from the wizards of smarts, is to spend the next few years getting to know and understand the issues in possible preparation for a later return to the political stage.
That would be good advice if there was any evidence that experience or knowledge of the issues was of any benefit to the welfare of the nation. No one in their right mind can look at America today and say that the experienced, ivy-league educated, professional politicians so valued by the political class has done a good job in steering the ship of state.
It seems to me that what America needs is a non-partisan citizen-politician uninfluenced by the decadence of the “Beltway” establishment; that understands the founding principles that make this county great and unique among the nations of the world at the helm. By coincidence, Sarah seems to have just these qualifications.
I don’t know if she is the right one to carry the Republican banner in 2012; it’s much too early to tell. However, she stands head and shoulders above any of those most frequently mentioned by the would-be “king makers”.
I for one, am looking forward to the possibility that having removed her family somewhat from the firing-line by resigning the governorship, she will continue in the forefront of political discourse as an example of the true citizen-patriot-politician so desperately needed at this point in our history.