Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin's Alaska

I have only lived in Alaska for one year, but I wanted to share with you my impression of Alaskans so that you might have a better idea of what sort of environment Sarah Palin comes from, and what sort of person she is.

Alaskans are incredibly independent. This is the sort of place that attracts people looking to earn their fortune the old fashioned way, with their hands and their wits. It is the sort of place where success isn't automatically assumed to happen to only those with a college degree, but that success happens due to a good old fashioned work ethic and a little bit of miners luck. While they definitely lean towards the conservative side, there is a strong libertarian way of looking at things. Alaska is full of mavericks and people here have a live and let live sort of attitude.

Alaskans are conservative, but in a different sort of way than southerners. While there are plenty of Churches, religion here is not worn on a persons sleeve, but is demonstrated in the way people live their lives and treat other people. People here are just as likely to spend Sundays worshiping in nature as they are in a building, especially during fishing season in June - August.

One of the things that shocked me and my wife when we first moved here from South Carolina, is how friendly people were, even at typically bureaucratic places like the passport office or the DMV. And when I say friendly, I don't mean the sort of "good manners" type of friendly, I mean in a sincerely, eager to welcome you to Alaska, friendly.

Outdoorsy; Alaskans are very outdoorsy. When you live in a state as beautiful as Alaska, it is a given that people would enjoy the outdoors, but what really surprised me was how much even the winter doesn't slow them down. Their hardiness is bred in elementary school. In my kids elementary school, they have outdoor recess unless it gets down to something like -10 to -20 degrees F. In most places in the lower 48, any temperature 5 or more degrees below zero is enough to shut down the school. My kids spend more time playing outside in the middle of winter that they did during the spring, fall, and summer of South Carolina put together.

Now what does this mean for Alaska. Well I think the first thing to note is that many politicians are going to look at Sarah with an initial condescending attitude. Her looks, camouflage a no nonsense, take no prisoners, lets get down to business sort of attitude. What many Republicans have yet to realize is John McCain has probably single handily started the reform and modernization of the Republican party by choosing her as his running mate. Make no mistake, that she is loyal to a tee, and will stick with and by John McCain unwaveringly, but she will have very short thrift for the "good old boy" network that exists in today's Republican party.

She will be the antithesis of Barack Obama's elitism and arrogance. As you have may already noted, she is a social conservative based on her deeply held religious convictions, but unlike many Christians out there, her beliefs are tempered by a sense of doing right and respecting others point of view. This is a woman that resigned from a pretty cushy job as Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, because a member of her own party of legal and ethics violations. Then after defeating a corrupt governor, she swept into the old boy system of Alaska politics and completely turned it on its ear.

Finally, I want to say something about her experience. Let's be real here, no one has the entire breadth of hands on experience to deal with the complexity of the job of the American Presidency. What we need in the office is someone who has executive experience to take in information and to quickly make an executive decision based on sound advice and the information available at hand.

I ask you this. In the next couple of days, carefully watch her, watch the way she handles herself. Metaphorically look her in the eyes, and then... then do the same with Joe Biden and Barack Obama. I also want you to listen to her on the issues. If you truly don't think she has what it takes to be President or don't agree with her, then don't vote for her, but I think that you are going to realize that she is one of the few politicians out there that is truly sincere and is someone you will trust to lead this country.


Anonymous said...

Have you ever been to rural Alaska? I lived and worked there for four years and not once did Sarah come and see the "real" Alaska. So she might be from your Alaska, but she is not from mine. Did you know that people live without running water and indoor plumbing? While Sarah was securing money for Wasilla rural Alaskas were hauling water from the river. You should get out more and see more of the state, you might have a different outlook on Sarah.