Okay, after careful consideration I’ve decided to speak my piece. I began this blog as a way to share news and photos with friends, and that continues to be its primary purpose. There are times when I have vented my spleen about one thing or another, but I have chosen to keep lightening-rod topics away from this place. I have gone back and forth with myself about this self-censoring, and finally concluded that censorship is fear-based. As a rule I choose my words carefully to be sure that what I write is clear. I will endeavor to maintain that effort in this post as well. Should what I write offend anyone, please understand that I don’t write to offend, but to express my view. And it is just that, my view. Here goes.
I have been fascinated by the introduction of Sarah Palin into the national political landscape. When I first learned of her selection my reaction was one of disbelief. The little bit that was known about her made it very clear that she lacked the credentials for the job for which she was being tapped. Forget Bristol’s pregnancy, forget Troopergate, forget the pageant wins and sports journalism. Forget, even, her evangelical conservatism. Her life and times and experience were too parochial. Had she decided to throw her hat in the ring to run for president her campaign would never have gotten off the ground. She simply doesn’t stack up against the competition.
It’s been pretty clear, however, that she wasn’t chosen for her experience, or even what skills she brings to the table that might solidify the Republican ticket as the best representation of leadership from the party. An interview I heard recently offered the commentary that by June, McCain had elicited as much support from the Republican base as he was going to. The limit of his appeal had been reached, and it appeared that it wasn’t sufficient to beat Barack Obama. That is, in a sense, all I need to know. If the candidate doesn’t have what it takes, then the candidate doesn’t have what it takes. The choice of Palin doesn’t alter McCain’s appeal as a leader or shore up his own credentials. If anything it demonstrates a lack of authenticity and integrity in the man, and that is a deep concern to me. If the party platform is adjusted, through Palin, to woo the religious right and those stances are at odds with McCain’s views (and there are more than a few where that seems to be the case), then duplicity is at work.
As for Palin, there’s plenty of information now available on the internet to assess her politically, both in terms of what she values, how she works and how she exercises authority. To me her style appears more autocratic than democratic, and she uses her charm and charisma to get away with that. There’s been plenty of debate (and yes, criticism) about her contradictions, and I have no need or desire to elaborate on any of what has already been noted. I will observe, however, that her pageant training has served her well. I don’t trust the gracious and disarming smile. And I do wonder why we haven’t heard more about the $20 million deficit that she left Wassila as a parting gift.
It comes down to trust. Whether I agree or disagree on the issues with one party or another is one thing. What we need in a leader is for their yes to mean yes, and their no to mean no. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.