Friday, August 21, 2009
If I had a dollar for each time someone asked me why Sarah Palin resigned, I'd have, well, I'd have a lot of dollars.
Today I drove two and half hours to Rome, NY to speak at a Youth Camp at Delta Lake. As I made the journey, I was reminded of the last time I traveled that road. It was almost three months ago when I went to Auburn, NY to meet Governor Palin. Read and see pictures of that weekend here, here, and here.
In Rome, I was introduced to a fellow conservative, and we began a conversation about politics which included some sharing of my recent month-long trip to Alaska. He asked if I had ever met the governor, and when I told him I had, I got the question I have been asked all too often: "So why did she resign?"
The first couple times I was asked that question, I broke into a lengthy explanation. I no longer do that. Instead, I respond with some questions of my own.
The first one is, "Did you see her resignation announcement?"
When I hear, "Yes," as I did today, I move on to my second question.
"What did she say?"
Here they explain to me what Governor Palin said. Then they look at me, and I know they're expecting something more. There's a Yeah, but what's the REAL reason? kind of silence. I was reminded of this today.
I have experienced this several times, and at first I didn't get it. As far as I was concerned, Governor Palin made herself quite clear during her press conference. I have since come to a conclusion for the apparent difficulty to take her at her word.
People are so accustomed to politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouths that they cannot wrap their brains around the existence of a person who calls it like it is. That person, of course, is Sarah Palin. They heard what she said. They fully understand what she said. However, something simply won't let them believe what she said, so...they're waiting for the real story.
"No, that can't be it."
"Okay, but what else?"
This is their reaction to a person like Sarah Palin because most have never seen a politician like her. One definition of politician is "a schemer who tries to gain advantage in an organization in sly or underhanded ways." Although there are other more honorable definitions, this is the one we have come to believe. We expect the usual political paraphernalia: a forked tongue, a wandering eye, and a hidden agenda--and usually we are not disappointed. The result? Distrust and/or an unfulfilled desire to discover more when there's nothing more to discover. I suppose it's understandable. After all, how often does someone step into the political arena who says what she means and means what she says? Where do we find a person who is willing to sacrifice a title and a position of prestige because it's the right thing to do for her state? When was the last time we encountered someone who would exchange the governor's mansion for Facebook freedom? In fact, "self-sacrifice" and "politician" in the same sentence is oxymoronic, isn't it?
Enter Sarah Palin--the same Sarah Palin who took on her own Party in the state of Alaska, desiring simply to boot out corruption, the same Sarah Palin who is nothing if not the antithesis of "politics as usual." She came armed with paraphernalia some have not come to expect from politicians and therefore could not recognize in her: the simple truth.
But some of us do get it--and we like it.