Sunday, July 5, 2009
Sarah Palin: Resignation as Heroism
The mainstream media doesn't "get" Sarah Palin -- doesn't understand who she is or what she does -- because she's an American heroine in an age of anti-heroism.
I believe -- and know Sarah believes -- that our country's "problems" -- in immigration, in healthcare, in education, and in national security -- are solvable. Many of them were at least partially "solved" a generation ago, not by over-reliance on government but by reliance on the American values Sarah represents.
The supposed solutions socialist governments in Europe have pursued have led to very high unemployment, slow growth, and a truly crippling burden of debt on coming generations. They have no way on earth of paying for their versions of Social Security or health care. I urge people to read about this in Niall Ferguson's Collosus: The American Empire. The only country in Europe that will be able to meet its stated obligations to their Baby Boomers is Great Britain -- and that's only because of the foresight of Margaret Thatcher, who refused to promise ten times as much as she could deliver.
Sarah Palin is an authentic heroine, someone who values family, state, and country rather than engaging in the usual political narcissism and self-dealing. Sadly, that's a problem in an era that thinks a pathetic, tragi-comic figure like Michael Jackson is somehow a hero.
In the words of Professor Guelzo of Gattysburg College: "Heroes have become invisible. Their virtues have become unexplainable in the language we now use to explain human action . . . . Great deeds somehow keep on being done, but we have lost a capacity to see them as great. Biographies grow to ever-greater and greater length, while the subjects of them shrink into the shadows of the pedestrian, the ordinary, and the relentlessly disclosed 'secret.' . . . The hero is the story, not just of a good deed, but of a great deed -- a great deed which climbs the unclimable, endures the unendurable, holds fast to the lost."
Professor Allen C. Guelzo, meet Sarah Heath Palin. Conservative activist Karen Allen and I had a discussion a while back about various things, including "constitutional amendments" on various issues. I told her I opposed them -- and believed Sarah Palin did also. We don't need a "better" Constitution. We need better people who make us a better country.
Most important, we desperately need Role Models ("Sarah, we need you!") who will remind people what great individuals do and how fulfilling basic goodness can be. On Friday, Sarah proposed her youngest son, Trig, as a role model, someone who needed her but whom she needed even more. Those comments would not -- YET -- be intelligible to most Americans.
She may (or may not) have made a political sacrifice by her recent actions, but then, she -- yes a consummate politician -- doesn't think ultimately in political terms.
What is best for my family? What is best for my state? What is best for my country? When our American people begin focusing on those questions -- the same ones that drive American soldiers -- the nation will be one that recognizes and reveres American heroes and heroines.