Monday, September 1, 2008

Sarah Palin -- The Unexpected VP Candidate

Sarah Palin is just the person to bring new life to the Obama-McCain race, just when the never-ending campaign was about to put us all to sleep.

So, has the “old McCain” come through with a bold move (very bold, for a conservative republican)? Does this signal that the ‘old McCain” – the maverick, the free thinker is back? Or is this a brief reprise in a campaign where McCain has been straight-jacketed by his need to parrot misguided Republican Party platform planks.

(Personally, I enjoy the “old McCain who used his God-given intelligence to think for himself and his first amendment rights to say what he thinks! This is the foundation of my view of American politics – we all need to think for ourselves and say what we think! I have no respect for the McCain as a party platform parrot.)

No matter whether the old or new McCain is behind it, the selection of Palin makes the campaign interesting again.

Sarah Palin doesn’t quite fit any mold, even though the Republicans might like to say she does. Yes, she’s pro-life, a mother of 5, NRA member, and strongly pro-drilling for oil and gas. (This is all encouraging to traditional conservatives.)

Yet, she fought against her own party about corruption (something that would endear her to McCain). And in a party dominated by older white guys, she’s a younger woman - a working woman.

As a women, her life’s been a lot different than most of the party guys. She’s been through the struggle and balancing act of raising a family and having a job and working hard at both – something those Republican guys just don’t know first-hand. And unlike Cheney, who pretends to be a hunter, her credentials are bona fide.

Raising a Down syndrome child testifies to the strength of her person. This is no small accomplishment as anyone who knows first-hand about the heartache, struggles, and joys can tell you. (My mother used to teach one-on-one Sunday school lessons to Downs syndrome children – she knew that patience and endurance yielded great rewards and a lifetime of appreciation by the child’s family.)

The news of her daughter being pregnant won’t derail her, as it would in the “stained glass, holier than thou” piety of Pat Robertson/Ralph Reed/televangelist mold. Rather, in a more contemporary and “real” view of Christianity, there is the recognition that we may make mistakes (yes, even Christians may sin), but the key is turning away from the sin and then “doing the right thing.” And her daughter seems to be doing that by having the baby and planning to marry the father.

It’s too soon to see what Sarah Palin will be like in the campaign. Will she simply parrot what the conservatives want to hear? Will some shady details of her past political life put a shadow on her integrity? Or will she be her real self, for better or for worse, and tell us how she came to her political views from her life experience as a women, mother, Christian, and elected politician?

A McCain-Palin ticket with 2 mavericks speaking their mind would really spice up the election. Having a pair of party parrots will lull us back to sleep. (In that case, wake me when Obama is being sworn in.)

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