Monday, February 15, 2010
I don't know about you, but I'm beyond fed up with all the whining and complaining by people who've discovered they cannot control every decision Governor Palin makes. There are people out there who would throw a hissy fit if they suggested she go to the Bahamas for vacation but instead she opted to go to Italy. It's just that crazy right now. We are all aware, for example, of the conniptions some professed supporters are having over her endorsements.
Dan Calabrese addressed this issue today in his article, "Support Sarah Palin all you want, but you can’t demand that she fulfill your fantasies."
But if there is a group even more guilty than Palin’s critics of demanding she fit into their box, it is a great many of her supporters.
Granted, there are Palin supporters so taken with the former Alaska governor that they will support and agree with whatever she says or does, no matter what it is. But the more substantive core of Palin supporters consists of conservative activists, and here is what this group has decided:
Sarah Palin is the “true conservative” hope. Her ascension to the presidency is the greatest thing that could happen not only to the conservative movement, but also to the country. She is real, pure and true whereas most others are somehow and to some degree less than this. And we can’t let her fail.
OK. But there are problems with this, and not necessarily problems that reflect negatively on Palin.
First, as discussed previously in this column, Sarah Palin thinks for herself. Her governing instincts certainly appear to be conservative in most cases, but she is capable of judging a given situation on its individual merits.
So when Palin decides to go campaign for McCain, conservative activists are aghast: Oh no! This is a terrible mistake! She won’t help her credentials as a real conservative if she does this! Someone needs to talk to her!
Here is something to consider. When Sarah Palin does something, it may not be because she is trying to burnish this or that set of credentials, or because she is trying to please this or that constituency. It might just be because she wants to do it. If this comes off as ill-considered to those who are exasperated not to detect a strategy behind it, perhaps the analysts should recognize the liberty that is bliss for the person who allows herself the freedom to simply come and go as she chooses.
Sarah Palin has never signed an I-must statement promising to do everything that a given constituency wants her to do. She has never promised to abide by the list of requirements that will make her a so-called real conservative.
Sometimes her supporters will agree with her. Sometimes they won’t. I wasn’t thrilled when she endorsed the son of Ron Paul in Kentucky, but I don’t feel the need to believe in a Sarah Palin who is perfectly molded to fit my ideal of who and what she is supposed to be.
When did Governor Palin put up a suggestion box like you see at the local library? When did she issue a Facebook note that said, "Tell me what I should think"?
I have come to two conclusions for the strong reactions to the governor's decisions:
1. People say of her, "She is average-America. She is just like me. I can relate to her." Because she is so much "like us," people actually begin to think that they can dictate what move she should make next. Somehow they have failed to realize that being "one of us" means she has a quality that each of us values: independence of thought.
2. As a Black conservative, I see a parallel between the reaction to Black conservatives and the reaction to Governor Palin. Some people treat the governor the same way some Black Democrats treat conservative Blacks such as myself. That is, they love you as long as you subscribe to their big government, leftist agenda, as long as you remain "one of them." They respect you until you step out and do your own thing, like think for yourself in a manner that doesn't jive with their thinking. Then you're labeled a "sell-out." Then you'd better be prepared for some to shun you, insult you, and question your identity, simply because you have the audacity to step away from the system they thought they had you locked into. They thought they owned you; realizing they don't throws them into a frenzy--and they actually feel betrayed. People who respond in this manner don't appreciate independent, principled people. No, they want puppets on a string or slaves on a plantation. Whether they coin you a "sell-out" or a "RINO," the desire is the same: to enslave and control. The tactic won't work on me, and it won't work on Governor Palin.
Dan Calabrese ends the article with these strong words:
Just as Barack Obama isn’t necessarily what you imagine him to be, Sarah Palin isn’t going to be what you demand her to be. She is who she is – a very smart, skilled public servant and political figure who thinks for herself and makes her own decisions.
If these decisions sometimes don’t comport to the strategy you think she should be following to achieve the objective you’re sure she’s obsessed with, check to see if maybe you’re the one with the obsession.
And if they sometimes don’t fit with the orthodoxy of your particular movement, and that makes you want to have a hissy fit, too damn bad.
Perhaps Mr. Heath, the governor's dad, would simply put it this way: "Let Sarah be Sarah."
Read Dan's full enlightening article here.
(H/T Ron Devito)