Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pick a Little, Peck a Lot

“I can see Russia from my house.” Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live

Repudiate: v. to refuse to have anything to do with it. Sarah Palin almost got it right; she was only off by two letters – a p and a d instead of an f and a t. For this literary offense, her critics are drubbing her for inventing words and also for the high crime of trying to imitate Shakespeare. Of course not getting the word right, she thought she was just making up a word from the root word, “refute”. But actually the word she was looking for was already in the dictionary. She was twittering remarks about the Ground Zero mosque and asking good Muslims to build their mosque somewhere not quite so sensitive and so repudiate the crimes of the radical Muslims who destroyed New York’s Twin Towers.

Palin takes a lot of guff from all sides, even her own party, but she still comes back, fighting. That’s probably what drives her critics crazy. They knock her down, but the woman just won’t stay down. I just finished reading her book, “Going Rogue.” Anyone who reads it will quickly discover that she’s intelligent, she was a good student, she worked her way through college, transferring from one school to the next not because she couldn’t hack the grades but because she couldn’t hack the tuition.

She’s thoroughly knowledgeable about her state and serves as a terrific spokeswoman for Alaska. She’s your typical mom and not-so-typical politician. “Going Rogue” sets the record straight. When the book came out, pundits like Rush Limbaugh read the book and immediately came to her defense. But when I spoke to women at my local tea party only a few women had read it (it had just come out), and even I took awhile to get around to it.

Rush Limbaugh’s listeners have known the truth but I suspect the rest of the country is largely ignorant of the real Sarah Palin, either through neglect or willfulness. The lie about her having said, “I can see Russia from my house,” was so widely perpetrated that even the faithful, like me were surprised to learn that it was actress Tina Fey who said it, in her impersonation of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Sarah’s family moved to Alaska when she was an infant. Her father was something of a disciplinarian. He expected his children to read and study and get good grades, which she did. He wouldn’t allow a television into the house. When the kids wanted to watch tv, they had to go to an unheated room above a detached garage, huddled in sleeping bags, arguing about who was going to get up and change the channel.

Sarah was a jock, not a cheerleader. She entered the Miss Wasilla Beauty contest because it offered a college scholarship – and she won. She loved basketball and soon earned the nickname “Sarahcudda”. Todd was her high school sweetheart. They worked together in the fishing industry to make a living. She was out there on the ocean alongside her husband, catching fish and slicing them open on the dock. Those who are queasy about her hunting activities gain a new understanding about Alaska. No supermarkets, certainly not when she was growing up. It’s a long way up through Canada to Alaska (think “Ice Road Truckers”). Alaska is do-it-yourself country. If you want meat that night, you go out and hunt it. Game is plentiful while the human population is small.

The Palin Family was by no means wealthy. Her father was a teacher in Wasilla (they originally lived in Skagway) and Todd, when not fishing, worked on the North Slope for British Petroleum. Fishing is the major industry in Alaska and the state’s residents were hard hit by the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Sarah has a new video out called, “Mama Grizzlies”. I haven’t seen it but she’s supposed to call upon the women of America to get out of their kitchens and defend their country and their children’s futures from the ravages of Obama’s socialist agenda. However, in the Miss Wasilla contest she said wouldn’t vote for someone just because she was a woman; the candidate had to share her political values. That was precisely why she was sought to run for the Wasilla Town Council.

It was her first taste of politics. At the time, she had no higher aspirations. During college, she’d planned on being a sportscaster, although her minor was political science. She even did some work for a local Alaskan television station and wrote for a local newspaper. She was busy raising her children, being a mom, when a friend who was running for town council convinced her to run for one of the other six seats. The party wanted her because they considered her a “progressive” but Sarah had a different notion of what progressive meant. To them it meant growing the government. Sarah thought it meant growing the town and its businesses.

Sarah campaigned for office towing her two toddlers (Track and Willow) behind her on a sled. Somehow that paints a more indelible and endearing picture of her than any glossy campaign poster ever could. Her biography goes on to talk about her career as mayor of Wasilla, governor of Alaska, and vice presidential candidate.

"Going Rogue" is not Shakespeare, though there’s plenty of drama. She writes about the pettiness of Wasilla’s hometown politics with its jealousies and scandals. She was appointed by Gov. Murkowski to the Alaska Gas and Oil Commission, a three-member board that oversaw oil production in the state. The major oil companies held leases on properties on the North Slope which they weren’t developing. Sarah insisted the leases be renegotiated so that they could be opened up to competition. BP, in particular, was notorious for cutting corners on maintenance.

Her explanation of Troopergate is concise and plausible, and she defends her right as governor to fire the Public Safety Commissioner, who she says was using political tricks to pressure her into including funding for some public unions in her budget. As governor, she retained an office in Anchorage where she would be closer to the people (and to her own home and family in Wasilla). Juneau, Alaska’s official capital, is remote from the main population and inaccessible except by boat or plane. Alaskans are accustomed to traveling long distances of course, and they probably would – if a road led to Juneau. One wonders how much that remote location had to do with the corruption there, much like New York’s capital of Albany, tucked away near the Adirondack Mountains.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, opponents had little trouble finding adversaries willing to dish about Sarah in Wasilla. Alaska has a law that allows citizens to make charges against its public officials with no cost to the citizens, but plenty of cost to the public officials. Led by Rahm Emmanuel, they filed every charge they could find against her, and Sarah was obliged to foot the legal bills, which ran into considerable money, for every single charge. The state picked up some of the bills; the GOP very few. They told her that if McCain had won, they could have helped her. Since he lost, she and her husband were on their own.

She knew it couldn’t continue; Alaska now has a debt per citizen second only to New York. So she resigned as governor. If you read her book, you’ll learn the truth about the clothes, the airplane flights, and all the rest. Not a single charge stuck legally, but she’s still bearing the burden from a public relations perspective. She makes no mention of the famed Bridge to Nowhere, the planned bridge at Ketchikan, the port of entry for the Inside Passage. As I recall, the Alaskans turned it down and probably the cruise lines breathed a sigh of relief (as did certain politicians who no doubt have money invested in the cruise lines, as they did in the Havanna lines back in the Thirties).

You’ll also learn how infamously McCain’s campaign staff – at least, his main campaign staff – treated her. She says the “B Team” which was assigned her was kind. But orders kept coming down from someplace called “Headquarters” muffling Sarah anytime she wanted to say anything or went off point. You really have to wonder what kind of favor McCain (whom she says treated her with the utmost respect and kindness) did her, pulling her off governor duty to run for the thankless office of vice president.

Just what was the GOP machine thinking? We Tea Partiers have been wondering that ourselves this last year or so. They’ve been quite as much trouble as the Democrats. Instead of ending with a solid record (I think she’d have been re-elected as governor very easily), and going on to a seat in the Senate or Congress or, if the Republicans somehow managed to win, some Cabinet post (Energy Secretary would have been a good fit for Sarah) or ambassadorship, she’s been cast adrift.

The Tea Party has offered her a political haven of sorts, but she has to be careful. It’s still a new movement and the pieces are, indeed, jockeying for position, as Rush Limbaugh noted on his show about an article in The Spectator. There are a lot of mystery people running around wearing masquerade Tea Party masks. We don’t really know who they are or what they honestly plan to do (the Morristown Tea Party found that out the hard way right after their first tea party).

For awhile, they had me there to help defend the conservative voice. I could spot phonies and where possible, took them out, metaphorically speaking. But my obligations wouldn’t permit me to attend regularly and the meetings started to get too large for my little voice (well, it’s not little when I yell). I didn’t want to interfere too much with how the party organizers conducted their meetings. Fortunately, they knew me from early on and have pretty much taken the advice I gave them. When I can, I go to their meetings and I always make it a point to attend their rallies (though I’m often late because the rallies are usually the same day as my band’s parades – but the parades are always in that same vicinity).

I read somewhere that Sarah’s now heading up the Anchorage Tea Party. Originally, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska Senator) led them, but judging by their website, which hasn’t been updated since 2009, I’d say Murkowski quickly the dropped the ball. Anchorage seems to be a relatively quick drive from Wasilla, so it would be a good spot for her.

But she’s got to stick to it. We all do, really. In any case, she has a big family that needs her attention. While it’s true that women can do both – hold office and run a family –it’s not necessarily true that a family can hold public office and run together. She can take the time to rebuild her credentials, do some more good for Alaska and the Tea Party, and raise Piper and Baby Trig.

If we don’t do something, there won’t be a White House for her to move into. There may not be a Congress for her to serve in or preside over, as Vice President. There may not be an America for her to lead. Wasilla is as good a place as any (like Morristown) to help save the country. From Wasilla, she may be able to organize a proper National Tea Party (depending on how tethered she is to the GOP). The ones running now are too corrupt; they’ve forgotten all about the people who started them. They trust too much to candidates they don’t know and are too dependent upon party machinery.

Can the voice of the people be heard over the grinding of the political cash machinery, their glossy radio and tv ads, and so forth? Can they dodge the fifth columns attending their Tea Party meetings, racist phonies of all stripes, and the straggling college students on the periphery? Can they convince their family and friends who regard their activities doubtfully? Nobody was listening when I said Scott Brown was a fake, phony fraud (I didn’t have a blog at the time).

I wish I could meet her. She’s in Alaska and I’m in New Jersey, but what the heck. Incidentally, maybe Sarah’s from Alaska, but I was born in New York (Yonkers, actually – one city north), and some 800 9/11 victims were from New Jersey, both in the Towers and on at least one of the planes. It wasn’t called the WORLD Trade Center for nothing.

Now the whole world has its eyes on Lower Manhattan. I’ll tell you something: the contemporary residents of Lower Manhattan don’t want any commercial buildings there. They never did. They never wanted the World Trade Center built there. They protested it, complaining that the Towers would interfere with their television reception. But by 1974, along came cable television and they had to find another excuse to gripe. They’d as soon the entire island south of Chambers Street be declared a residential zone. And it is a nightmare to drive in. It would be okay by me. My company has an office there. I hate going there.

But it’s too late for them to decide they didn’t like the World Trade Center and don’t want anything else built there, either. That they don’t want the buses that will inevitably invade their “paradise”. The restaurants, hotels, and other businesses that will likely sprout up (even though they know perfectly well that, commercially speaking, the Lower West Side is dead). They want nothing that will bring Lower Manhattan’s business district to life. But they will suffer this affront to the memory of the World Trade Center. Not only suffer it, but welcome it. It’s said that Manhattanites’ view of the country is Manhattan, the Hudson River, a blank space, and then the Pacific Ocean. They’d just as soon pretend the rest of the world doesn’t even exist. Or at least the rest of America.

They’ve done everything possible to delay the resurrection of that site and discourage the free enterprise (and the admittedly monstrous traffic it entails) that would follow. But, freedom-haters, they welcome. They’ve placed traffic lights in the middle of blocks for the convenience of pedestrians (which only clogs their narrow streets further). Sarah was too kind in begging them not to build that mosque two blocks north of the WTC.

Technically, there’s nothing the mayor can do. He can’t stop the property owner from building what he chooses (within whatever zoning ordinances they have in Lower Manhattan). The city would probably be sued on grounds of religious discrimination. Still, the city didn’t have to grant its consent; that’s what cities have zoning boards for – to apply good judgment. The only thing we can hope is that some benevolent, patriotic real estate magnate will purchase the building across the street from this mosque and replace it with something so high that the mosque will see nothing but glass and steel.

We can’t stop them, especially if they have the blessings of the LMDC. However, we can still remind them that there’s a whole world between the Hudson and East Rivers and beyond New York Harbor. People as far away as Japan and Germany mourned on 9/11. A Japanese/American worker was greeted the next day by a line of his Japanese co-workers offering their condolences. The German people laid a ring of flowers around the American embassy in Berlin. And these countries were former enemies of the United States.

Meanwhile what do New Yorkers want to do to a building that suffered damage when the landing gear of one of the planes crashed through right to its basement on 9/11? Perhaps rebuild poor little St. Nicholas Church, which stood at the feet of the Twin Towers and was utterly destroyed? No; they’re going to allow the Muslim owners to build a mosque. Are they for real? Are they kidding with this peaceful purpose rubbish? The owners quietly changed the name of the building when someone revealed the history of Cordoba – and the damage the building suffered. Funny how its proponents failed to mention those details. That should tell you the whole story, right there, whether they’ve changed the name now or not.

New Yorkers may live in Lower Manhattan. But a whole lot of other people, from all over the world, died there.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home