Friday, December 18, 2009
I don't agree with everything Stephen H. Dinan has to say about Governor Palin, but I am willing to listen to what he has to say. The reason is simple: he's chosen to listen to what she has to say. In so doing, he has taken the road less traveled by the mainstream media. He chose to travel down Going Rogue Lane to find out who the Governor really is, rather than who the haters want people to believe she is. He chose to get to know her himself. The best way to do that, obviously, is to read her memoir and hear her words "unfiltered," as she says. He does just that. For this I commend him.
So what led Dinan on this journey?
Over Thanksgiving, I was hiking with my brother-in-law when he commented that he only knew two kinds of people: those who loved Sarah Palin and those who hated her. Nobody was in the gray zone. While I didn't consider myself a "hater," I also knew that she had triggered intense reactions in me when she joined the Republican ticket. After Obama's victory, the fear of her becoming President subsided along with the negative charge, but I had to confess to a lingering prejudice beneath the surface.
One week later, I bought her autobiography, Going Rogue. Why? To dissolve my own prejudice and to better understand how we as a culture can go beyond the extreme political polarizations that have so paralyzed our country.
So reading Going Rogue was something of a test for myself - could I find the place of appreciation, respect, and even love for Sarah Palin?
What I found is that it wasn't really that hard, actually, simply by taking the time to meet her on her own turf rather than through sounds bites, spin, and polarized media battles. Reading someone's personal memoir is an intimate journey into their inner sanctum, and I developed a real appreciation for Sarah in reading the book.
This brings to mind a quote from my favorite novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus Finch taught his six year old daughter, Scout, a very important life-lesson when he said:
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.
This further reinforces my philosophy that most of the lessons one needs to learn can be gathered from Harper Lee's classic novel.
Stephen H. Dinan came away from Going Rogue with a deeper understanding of Governor Palin, her upbringing, her love for family, her patriotic passion, and her desire to serve. He acknowledges, too, the prejudices she continues to face. He admits what liberals have been loath to admit--that she arouses fear and worry in people--and he doesn't exempt himself from those same emotions. Furthermore, he states that this has led to
a barrage of distorted stories, inflated fears, and downright misrepresentations, some of which were quite damaging to her family.
It's the sad truth, yet it's refreshing to finally hear someone confess what we've always known to be true.
The bottom line is that Dinan had the courage to put aside his own prejudices in favor of the truth. And when he did, he discovered the Governor Palin who always existed, but one he had heretofore been deaf and blind to because he had been listening to and looking at others who themselves didn't know her. Going Rogue allowed him to get a real look.
Although he doesn't agree with every position Governor Palin takes, he has come to find what Scout finds at the end of To Kill A Mockingbird when she finally sees Boo Radley, the man she has known only through the rumors and smears of her neighbors. Scout realizes Boo cannot be honestly defined by others. The real Boo Radley would write his own story for Scout Finch to read.
To Kill A Mockingbird ends with this exchange between Scout and her father, Atticus, when she realizes Boo is not the monster he has been made out to be:
"When they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things...Atticus, he was real nice..."
"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."
Dinan made the effort to see Governor Palin.
Stephen H. Dinan's article is a good one--and it's published in the Huffington Post, of all places. Maybe they'll get the message and take a look also.
Read the full article, Dissolving the Palin Prejudice.