How Sarah Palin Convinced me to Blog

I thought I could be a fan. The day was August 30, 2008 and I was on my way home from speaking at a workshop when NPR announced the news that Senator John McCain had picked a running mate and changed the dynamic of the election. Her name was Sarah Palin and at a glance, it seemed we had a great deal in common. She was conservative, I consider myself conservative; she was once part of a union, as a nurse working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am part of a union. She has 5 kids, I have 5 kids; She was homecoming queen, I was carnival queen; She can see Russia from her doorstep, I could see Pakistan
from mine… (oops, I really could, I grew up in Pakistan);  

She made involvement and influence from the unknown seem possible, and I am unknown.

But Sarah and I parted ways as I realized that we are as different as the geography of where we were each raised.  Her voice is louder and more influential, her bank account is larger, but my sense is that her view and opinion of the world is far smaller. Her voice drowns out one like mine, a less persuasive, but equally faith-driven and knowledgeable about the Evangelical world voice, and a voice convicted and convinced that the world is big and critical to our understanding of life. A voice that looks to find words to recognize the importance of a larger and infinitely complex world, where cross-cultural competency and negotiation deeply matter, where America is understood separate from exceptionalism.  It is her louder and more authoritative voice and audience that assumes her words are fact that convinced me to blog.

I want to have a voice. I stand as pro-Life, but want to be able to dialogue and negotiate with those on the other side; my faith is paramount to my worldview  – but I want that faith to challenge and inform, not dictate and demand.  Red – Blue; Beck – Maddow; Right- Left; they are all boxes and stereotypes that divide and prevent dialogue. And Sarah? Well, she’s climbed into a box and shut the lid.

The ‘parting of ways’ widened as my oldest daughter went to study Refugee and Migration studies at the American University in Cairo and her oldest daughter went to ‘study’ Dancing with the Stars.  It became a chasm when I realized that it was 2005 before she obtained a passport, and I realized that my tepid defense of her with strong, smart feminist co-workers was waning.  But the Grand Canyon emerged when Pakistan was overcome by floods, and Egypt experienced mass protests.  When asked about the situation in Egypt, at a time when the world, the nation, and the blogosphere all had something to say, Sarah was unable to give a single substantive word to her many constituents, many who would benefit from more information and  could have supported both the protests from their pulpits and Pakistan from their pocketbooks. Her Facebook page was equally silent, with no mention of either of those events through a medium that has given her well over 2 million fans.

Such a big audience… but so little said.

If I sat down with her for coffee we would most likely agree on some things. But over coffee I would have the opportunity to challenge her that a nation and politics are small when they ignore the larger world, and assume a false stature. That faith has to convict and inform, constantly drawing us to those who have less and need so much more. Most of all, that faith can be winsome and winning, not angry and disenchanting.

As for me? It was time to take my frustration and put it to action. A time to get on to my computer, find a blog platform, and move the words and voices in my head to the screen in front of me. Time to find my voice and use it. Time to thank Sarah for convincing me to blog.

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10 thoughts on “How Sarah Palin Convinced me to Blog

  1. Great post. I’m linking to this one on facebook. Paradoxically, I can say after reading this post that Sarah Palin has earned a few points in my book, as her visibility has compelled you to start this blog. Having accomplished this task, her work here is done (one can only hope).

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    1. Huge compliment! Thanks for both reading and linking. It has been on my mind to write for awhile as I have felt the drowning out of the “equally faith-driven” response.

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  2. The little imp that lives in me, tempts me to ask here with a totally blank and confused look on my face.. ” and who is Sarah Palin?”
    The problems with this world Marilyn, is that everywhere, all around the world, people’s visions are shrinking. People don’t seem to want to widen their perspective or understand where the rest of the world is coming from. They keep on dividing and further subdividing themselves into Nations, races, religions , castes, sects, tribes, groups political parties, the list is endless. We forget that we are all connected. The balance of wealth is so totally unbalanced that it is frightening.
    People’s problems are not something which are far away and do not affect us. Our world is shrinking by the second and in some way or the other when the majority is allowed to suffer due to total apathy on the part of those who could easily alleviate that suffering, then it is going to have its repercussions. If the haves choose they can so easily relieve so much pain and deprivation in the world. It is frightening that a person of a narrow outlook can hold the minds of millions.
    I am glad you began this blog. It is so well rounded and gives a deep insight into so many problems.

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    1. Love the imp! But also love it because it is that picture of someone who occupies so much of the U.S news on a regular basis not even being a recognized name with much of the world – I think of the women who I worked with in flood relief…they would never have recognized her face or name and there were hundreds of them. Thanks for reading and for your insight into our shrinking world.

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  3. hahaha!! I wasn’t pretty enough to be homecoming so they voted me in as Winter Carnival Queen!! so funny remembering. And I snuck to the dance. That is a whole different story!

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  4. What a great analysis of the mighty Ms. S.P., Marilyn! Here in Canada, we`re continue to watch in horror at her climb to power – scratching our heads in confusion. We need fewer voices that drown others out yet have no substance (like hers), and more voices that are reflective, reasoned, open-minded, and globally aware and sensitive…voices like yours! BTW, the only things Ms S.P. and I have in common are glasses and a preference to wearing red. ;-)

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  5. Homecoming Queen and Carnival Queen? Are those the same things? :-)

    Seriously, this is a fabulous blog! I love how you trace the “evolution” of your ‘relationship’ to Palin over time. I, too, have often lent knee-jerk support to people and ideas based on superficial analysis. Always need to remember to stop, look and listen (and always use your head!). What applies to crossing the street seems to apply here, as well.

    I guess it is true, everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten!

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