Today, Governor Sarah Palin declared independence from the deeply-entrenched political system of our country, the system that has gotten us into the absolute mess that we’re in today.
Was it a gamble? Of course. However, I think that this move could help her in spades.
By putting Alaska first, Governor Palin has stayed true to her creed. She has always exemplified Alaska’s interests and Alaska’s needs. And when thousands of state dollars and hundreds of state hours were wasted on disproven ethics complaints against her, she made the right move by not remaining as the figurehead of Alaska. She is a lightning rod, attracting both praise and scorn wherever she goes and whatever she does.
By ceding her personal ambition for that of the state, Governor Palin has fulfilled the role of the citizen politician: she has placed the office above herself, not simply stepping on the office in order to reach a new one. She has fulfilled the ideals of 1776: of breaking free from the old, entrenched political order and becoming the anti-politician. And by listening to her statement today, that couldn’t be more clear.
She forces all of us as Americans to take a good look in the mirror, and question our ability to just expect scandal. In light of what has happened the past few weeks, Americans are deeply suspicious, jaded, and confused with the political process. People are equally suspicious of this situation, as they await “the other shoe to drop”.
However, she asked us, as Americans, to do one thing today: trust her.
Instead of this being her big test, it is our big test. We have become suspicious of everyone, trusting of no one, to the point where good people avoid politics altogether. Of course, we have been betrayed by perverts of our political system innumerable times. We have been scarred by liars, cheats, and hucksters of every breed, in the most unimaginable ways possible. The American people don’t know who to believe in anymore, with half of us clutching on to a man whose words and persona are simply a veneer for a politician like all others.
We need to get over the fact that the presidency is just a musical chair for politicos. That once you “graduate” from the Senate or the Governor’s chair, that you’re entitled and expected to take a crack at the chair in the Oval Office while not fulfilling your responsibilities of the office which you currently hold. We’ve seen what the Beltway has done; Democrats, Republicans, it doesn’t matter.
We have been had most egregiously.
Perhaps nothing exemplifies that better than the Waxman-Markey climate change bill which passed a few days ago. Were we informed by our media that not a single person read the bill, which was longer than an unabridged copy of War and Peace? Were enough people aware that a novel’s worth of amendments were added just hours before it was voted upon? Of course not. We ceded our skeptical abilities to an equally-corrupt media, who has perverted its mission to the point in which lobbyists can now buy access to some of the most powerful members of our government through the Washington Post. Does that seem to affect people as much?
Of course not. Our media has taught us to obsess more over a governor’s exotic crush or a dead man’s medicine cabinet.
However, after learning of today’s announcement, the media has failed to address one aspect of this situation: the Alaskan level of analysis. What better way to ensure that Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has a chance to win in 2010 than to endear him to the Alaskan public ahead of time and gain some experience at the same time? It is no secret that the Murkowski clan as well as some enterprising conservative Democrats will be aiming hard for that governor’s chair, and she would be doing a disservice to Lt. Gov. Parnell and Alaskans by leaving them high and dry after not seeking another term.
By not seeking a second term, by not staying as Governor, Sarah Palin has exhibited a certain grace which is alien to us. We expect politicians to run again. We expect Obama to run for President in 2012. We expect all of our politicians to max out their term limits and try to squeeze in more, a la Michael Bloomberg. We expect our politicians to act like Chavez and Zelaya, and try any way possible to stay in office like the statists they are. Not since LBJ have we seen a politician so gracious as to step aside when the time is right. Now, to be fair, Gov. Palin maxed out her terms as Mayor of Wasilla. However, that was at a point in time in which nobody outside of the state knew who she was, which is the way her life was up until a little over a year ago. With the focus on her and not on the office, she would be unable to run Alaska as she did before she was chosen to be the VP nominee.
She has been able to bring Alaska to the national spotlight, and highlight the importance of our neighbor to the north like no person since William Seward in the 1860s. She has overhauled the Alaskan political system from a corrupt, tightly-knit oligarchy of backroom wheelers-and-dealers to a transparent, ethical, responsible system that is the envy of the other 49 states of the Union. She has enabled Alaska to contribute to fueling the United States on a scale never before imagined. She has helped to reform the Alaskan education system, brought climate change to the forefront of the state government’s concerns, highlighted the importance of Alaska to America’s national security, simplified the tax code to be more responsible to Alaskans, and even made the state more attractive to tourism. In a year and a half, she has done more to change and improve Alaska than all of its past governors did over their multiple terms, with an independent spirit and a servant’s heart. And now, she passes the torch onto Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who will be able to ensure that the flame of the people in Alaska never dies out, no matter what opposition it faces from the corruptocrats who will be ready for round two in 2010. She is a success story, in a way that makes citizens of disaster states like California simply envious of such progressive change.