Governor Palin: Another Exclusive Sneak Peek of “America By Heart”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Governor Palin shares more of her new book with us via Facebook:

Here’s another exclusive sneak peek at my new book “America By Heart” which hits bookstores tomorrow. You can click here to pre-order your copy.

Enjoy the excerpt:
In Alaska, the only thing we take more seriously than a grizzly bear is a mama grizzly with cubs to protect. Some misguided souls—particularly in the Lower 48—are determined to portray these bears as cute and cuddly. We call this “bear propaganda.” Grizzly bears—mamas or otherwise—are beautiful, ferocious, serious-as-a-heart-attack creatures. When you come upon one, you don’t give her a hug. You tread lightly. Because when the ones she loves are threatened, she rises up.

So it’s with only a little bit of overstatement that I call so many of the new generation of American women leaders—many of whom I’ve met on the campaign trail and in the towns and cities of America—mama grizzlies. These are tough, serious, formidable women like Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Carly Fiorina of California. These women are at the forefront of a new wave of strong, confident American women who are positively affecting not just the Republican Party, but America itself. They’re building businesses, managing charities, leading men and women in government—and, while they’re at it, raising families....

Some people are calling the emergence of these successful conservative female leaders a new phenomenon in America—as if we’d just invented smart, capable women who also believe in the Constitution, the sanctity of life, and American exceptionalism. Truth is, mama grizzlies have been with us for a long time. These are the same women who settled the frontier, drove the wagons, ploughed the fields, ran cattle, taught their kids, raised their families—and fought for women’s rights. These women are like America itself: strong and self-sufficient. Not bound by what society says they should do and be, but determined to create their own destinies....

It makes sense that moms would be at the forefront of the great American awakening we’re experiencing. Moms can be counted on to fight for their children’s future. And when politicians start handing our kids the bill for their cronyism and irresponsibility—when they engage in generational theft—moms rise up. We shouldn’t have to work for government; our government should work for us....

The women’s groups and mainstream media have greeted the rise of the conservative mama grizzlies in much the same way they treated the vice-presidential campaign in 2008: with disbelief that people so alien to them could win the support of the American people. Back then, left-wing feminists didn’t know what to make of an Alaskan chick out on the campaign trail talking about the Second Amendment, kids (the more the merrier!), and America’s urgent need for greater security through energy independence.

Today, left-wing feminists and their allies seem to be similarly perplexed. Commenting on the victories of commonsense conservative women in primaries earlier this year, liberal editor Tina Brown complained, “it almost feels as if all these women winning are kind of a blow to feminism.” Another liberal commentator said that the true test of feminism is a belief in abortion rights and government health care. It was a new, “selfish” variety of feminism, she declared, that was coming to the fore with the victory of conservative women candidates.

What kind of feminist is it who declares that a diversity of political opinion among women (but not men!) is somehow “selfish”? And what kind of advocate for women is it who laments the success of female political candidates? The fact is that it’s these feminist and media elites who are out of touch with American women. They claim to speak for us all, when in reality they speak for a very narrow liberal fringe. The bad news for them—and the good news for America—is that the country as a whole is waking up to this fraud. So many of the voices that claim to speak for American women simply don’t have our best interests at heart. We’re coming to realize that the empress isn’t wearing any clothes. No single group can speak for all women any more than a single group can speak for all men. To suggest otherwise is no less than old-fashioned sexism....

It surprises some people to hear that I consider myself a feminist. I believe both women and men have God-given rights that haven’t always been honored by our country’s politicians. I believe women and men have important differences, but those differences don’t include the ability of women to work just as hard as men (if not harder) and to be just as effective as men (if not more so). I also consider myself a grateful beneficiary of the movement for female equality, particularly Title IX, the federal law that mandates equal opportunity for women in high school and college sports. So I proudly call myself a conservative feminist. One question liberal feminists would do well to ask themselves is why most American women today reject the label “feminist.”

Maybe it’s my upbringing in Alaska that leads me to challenge the feminist stereotypes of what a woman ought to be. I grew up in a place and time where women did the same work as men—but were still allowed to be girls. My sisters and I were expected to work just as hard as the boys. We hauled wood to stoke the stove heating our house, we hunted, we fished, and we played sports. But at the same time, we were taught to be proud of the fact that we were girls. There was a time for dressing up, playing the flute in the band, and doing some traditionally “girl” things—and there was a time for getting into dirt clod fights.

For most American women, the feminist movement actually lost its appeal decades ago. The reason, I think, is that somewhere along the line feminism went from being pro-woman to being effectively anti-woman. I mean “pro-woman” in the sense that it was once pro–women’s capabilities, strengths, and judgments. Our foremothers in the women’s movement fought hard to gain the acceptance of women’s talents and capabilities as equal to men’s....

What is hardest to take about liberals calling the emerging conservative feminist identity anti-feminist or even anti-woman is that this new crop of female leaders represents a return to what the women’s movement originally was. The women’s movement used to be about honoring for women the same God-given rights that our country honored for men. It used to be about dignity and hope. It used to be about respecting women by respecting their choices—whether it is to be a nuclear engineer or a stay-at-home mom—not denigrating them when they aren’t sufficiently like men. And it used to be about respecting women’s unique role in creating and sustaining life.


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