Wednesday, September 03, 2008
So What to Think of Sarah Palin and Her Baby Problem
Okay, if you have read this site for any amount of time, you are aware that while we (wife and I) are not down the line conservatives (actually we have a consistent philosophy, its called the Kingdom of God, which we do not live out perfectly, and so we are passionate about AIDS in Africa, against the death penalty (at least in almost all cases), and the like), that we tend towards Republicans.
Well, as much as we have great personal respect for President Bush – look anyone who is passionate about human rights cannot help but notice that 50 million people, almost all Muslims and many women, are now free to make their own political decisions, not bad – he has really been, not a bad president, but not an aspiring leader. I have written this before, but probably the worst Presidential statement in history was asking Americans to go shopping, even as the fires of the WTC and Pentagon were still smoking. Yikes.
Anyways, once it became clear that we were looking at John McCain as the nod in one party, our attention turned to, and we have shared this with very few people, Hillary Clinton. I have always respected Hillary as a tactician, and the simply fact is that outside of the Supreme Court (granted, a biggie with us as we believe in democracy rather than oligarchy) we saw little difference between Hillary and McCain on policy. Maybe that is not fair, but as my wife and I wrestled with things, we had decided to support Hillary.
So then we were facing Obama vs. McCain after Hillary was defeated. At that point we had decided to listen carefully, and make a decision based on the proverbial “evil of two lessers.”
We began to be less and less impressed with Obama as he showed a lack of understanding of the evil in the world. It is not about actual experience that matters. Ronald Reagan never sat in a foreign services meeting or faced down the Russians before he became President. The key was that Reagan understood the nature of evil, the fact that there are people and nations who really mean the worst for us. And he never overestimated his own intelligence.
I mention this because Joe Biden was the one who supported and tried to push the partition of Iraq, a plan that was universally panned by the people of Iraq (Biden was operating in old colonial mode). For Barak Obama the reason that the 3am advert by Hillary was so powerful was not because she had tons of experience, but because Senator Obama had already said he would meet with any nation anytime, without qualifications. It showed to most average Americans that he really doesn’t understand the world. Not that he lacked experience but that he lacked an understanding of our enemies and, I hate to say it, our friends.
The election for Tan and I changed somewhat when McCain and Obama appeared with Pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback. My friend Brandon Fibbs (read his blog at http://thereadyroom.blogspot.com) seems to believe that this was illegal and threatened our democracy, but Brandon is wrong about that (sorry Brandon, you need to re-read your Constitution and look at American history, this is right within the mainstream of American history and as long as it is done fairly, does not bring disrepute to our churches). For the most part we were impressed by Obama, save for his response to the question of evil and the now famous abortion answer. The problem was not that Obama said we all have evil in us. This is very correct and theologically proper. The problem is that he indicated that he would not be willing to assume the best about America’s needs and actions, instead he would play the moral equivalency game, which we saw by many on the Left regarding Soviet (oops, Russia) actions in Georgia. This showed that we would not be advocate for America, which is, in the end sort of the President’s first job. The abortion answer showed that he was not ready to take on tough decisions. Again, its now about experience, its about a willingness to stake a position, and while not being stubborn, be willing to take slings and arrows. I would have given more of a break on this had it not been for his vote against the Born-Alive bill in Illinois (which his people lied about before the data was shown to be indisputable).
McCain at Saddleback was pretty good. I felt good by his response to the abortion question. It made me like McCain, at least as much as I like Obama, which is important (why didn’t I vote for Gore in 2000 (I voted Nader)…simple, I couldn’t stand him as a human being, and eight years of being lectured was not my idea of a good time.
Last weeks Denver Convention made me yawn. No real change in our lean towards McCain. And then Friday McCain picked the woman I thought would be best for the VP. Sarah Palin has been called a surprise pick (I was surprised not by her pick but that McCain actually chose her over Leiberman). Friday night we listened to her speech in total. We went on-line to read all the good and bad about her – trooper gate, the Bride to NoWhere yes then no, the whole nine yards.
At the end of it, both of us were ecstatic by the choice. One key thing – my wife is a native born Alaska, born in Palmer and raised in Kodiak and graduated from Kodiak High School. She is Alaska through and through. Her poor mom when she was a college student from Seattle dating Tanya’s dad, was invited up to meet in the future-in-laws, and be checked out. What does an Alaskan potential spouse check-out look like in Alaska? I kind you not. She was taken on an elk hunt, made to gut and drag out the carcass. She did it, and so passed the test. That is Alaska.
So when my wife and I began to look at Govenor Palin, Tanya saw the life she knew. Alaska asks a lot out of people – not the government, but the nature of life up there. You cannot afford to be on both sides of an issue. You put down your stake and fight for it. That is Sarah Palin. We were very impressed by her taking on of the very corrupt Republican state system up there. We were impressed by her taking on the oil and gas industry (her stair-stepped tax system on oil companies make a lot of sense, protecting them against downturns, and getting them to contribute more from spikes in production. Its not “obscene profits” tax, but one tied to returns. Its more progressive than many conservatives like, but remember, there is an exchange between the state and its resources that once taken are gone, and an industry that benefits from factors outside of its controls (the oil market).
In the whole of her biography and resume we saw one big thing. When given a choice between taking the easy way of getting along or doing the hard things, she has chosen the hard way. That is important, and it is the one thing that has always disappointed me about Obama, that given his popularity and eloquence he could have undone the great corruption of the city.
Does she have foreign policy experience? No. Oh sure, she interacts with Canadian and Russian officials. But just like Obama, Regan, and basically everone who wasn’t a negotioator or UN Ambassador, she has no hands on experience. But it is very clear that she understands that there are people who wish us evil (she has had to deal with Russian bombers restarting their flights over the Bearing Strait). She knows how to make a decision and act on it. As much as I like Obama personally, you can see in his response to the Georgia crisis, trying to push it into the Security Council of the UN where Russia has a veto and thus negates and action from the world go (I sure hope he knows this), because I sense that he does not really feel confident to take on such issues.
All of this is the externals. The internals are more important. My friend Brandon said that he doesn’t want someone like us in charge of the country. I am afraid he may have ingested a bit too much of the elitism of New York and D.C. since he has moved from Colorado (Brandon, I hope you don’t take that as an insult, but its what I sense in your posts).
We have a good country with a good potential in front of us. But here is the thing. Spending is out of control. Congress, made up of millionaires, lawyers and professional politicians passes laws that have huge implications for the average people out there, as they work, drive, raise their kids, pay their taxes and the like. Now I don’t believe these people are evil. I just think they are totally disconnected from real life. They don’t know how the other 280 million or so (figure there are 20 million elites) live life. They are held in the power of lobbyists and special interests. America has not had an average person in the White House since…U.S. Grant? (okay, bad example, he was too loyal to those who were not loyal to America).
When Tanya listened to Sarah Palin she heard someone just like her. She heard someone who knows the challenges of meeting a payroll (in her husbands fishing business, which she has experienced as well), balancing a checkbook, who fills up her own gas tank and has watched the cost from $30 to $60 or more. I have always said that I have a soft spot for Bill Clinton, who really wanted to “feel our pain,” but Palin does know. She knows what it is like to send your child into the military. She will not want her son sent to die on a battlefield for “business” reasons, but for national security reasons.
This is the first year that Tanya has gotten really interested in politics. Part of the reason she says that she has never gotten involved is that most of the politicians she has heard and seen through the years really don’t care much for how she lives her life. Look, she is an Alaskan. She doesn’t want much help in her life. She just doesn’t want have her way of living thwarted by government actions. So she finally got frustrated and decided to get involved. And after six months of interests she had given up.
And then Sarah Palin pops up. And Tanya sees exactly why she wanted to pay more attention to politics. She is energized. She is excited. She sees herself in Sarah Palin, and not just because she is from Alaska, but because she know our life.
And then Monday we heard that Sarah and Todd’s oldest daughter is pregnant, five months pregnant (which at least puts an end to the sick rumors that baby Trigg is Bristol’s baby, not Sarah’s). And we watched coverage as basically everyone, especially on CNN tried to make Sarah out as a bad parent, irresponsible, and misunderstood that the choice to keep Bristol’s baby was between abortion and a live birth, instead of between keeping the baby and ADOPTION.
Did it change Tanya’s opinion of Sarah? One of the things that non-Christian don’t understand about the Christian view of pre-marital sex is that we can be both against the action and embrace the fruit of that action. We teach that having sex before marriage is going to have big implications for your life. Its not just getting pregnant. It sexually transmitted diseases, its emotional fragmentation, its bringing shame to yourself.
Yes, having sex outside of marriage brings shame, not from the outside, but from the inside (and not for all people of course, but for many who regret their decision later). But we do not shame people who become pregnant. Yes, you made a mistake. Yes, you have implications for your future. But we love you, and we are willing to stand beside you. That is what Tanya saw in her statement yesterday. Our kids are all still a good chunk of time away from having to face these challenges. But should the same situation come about in our life, we will have Sarah’s words to help us communicate the same thing – we are disappointed in your choice, but we love you and stand beside you as you move far too soon into a new stage of your life. We love you and we love your child.
Again, its shows that Sarah Palin understands the challenges that we face. In Congress they pass bills that give money for sex-ed or for abstinence only education (and by the way, since I went to school when it was condoms and the pill as sex-ed, and so many of my classmates got pregnant, doesn’t that, by the logic of the “see abstinence doesn’t work, look at Bristol Palin, mean that condoms and the pill education also doesn’t work, aheme, Morton Kondrake whose words yesterday made me for the first time ever want to kick him in the shins for being such an ass). But they don’t have live with the implications.
As Tanya said, she has shown courage. She has shown she understands life in the Morton household. And when a President McCain is about to make a speech or push a policy that is going to adversely affect the average American household…we know that there is someone who is going to be an advocate for us.
So, yes, Tanya is excited as all get out about Sarah Palin. She is going to canvass our neighbour hood for mccain AND PALIN in the coming weeks. We don’t have many heroes in our lives, and I am not sure Palin rises to the level of hero for Tanya. But she sure does rise to the level of advocate and symbol.
So, we are voting for McCain and Palin in November. We are doing it because Washington does need a change. It needs a dose of realism. It needs to serve Americans and not ask Americans to serve it. That is what the ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin means in our house.