I'm no feminist and I abhor identity politics, which tend to divide instead of unite. But seeing Sarah Palin yesterday stirred feelings I never knew I had. I couldn't help but contrast her with Hillary.
Consider: Hillary has spent her whole life in the quest for power. She is a political animal through and through, willing to do what ever it takes to obtain the highest office in the world. How galling to see a beautiful young upstart come out of nowhere and grab the acclaim that is rightfully hers. Hillary is finding out that life just isn't fair. Welcome to the real world.
Speaking of the real world, Sarah Palin is a life long member. No power hungry politico, she. Gov. Palin, by all accounts, is a woman who embodies the best of the female species. Experienced in real life, she is the epitome of what America stands for. She exhibits the traits that have made America great. And she does it effortlessly, because that's who she is. A mother of five, a wife, a conservative, a person who has lived life and succeeded at everything she has set out to do. That's what America is.
Unlike Hillary, Gov. Palin has never had the need to 'reinvent' herself. Unlike Obama, her message comes from the heart instead of the teleprompter. Unlike McCain, she is not a career politician. She has a life, and politics is a part of it. Kinda like the citizen legislators our founding fathers favored.
The difference between Hillary and Sarah was glaringly evident yesterday. Gov. Palin graciously acknowledged Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton for paving the way, for breaking the glass ceiling. Hillary, on the other hand, issued a tepid, "Congratulations." Scripted vs from the heart. Classy vs craven. Finally, substance trumps perception. Finally, proven merit trumps vague intentions and scripted sound bites.
Unlike Hillary, Palin has a history of practicing what she preaches. From taking on corruption in her own party and prevailing, to standing up for her principles even thought they weren't politically expedient. She governed Alaska not by polls, but by doing the right thing. Can anyone mention the last time Hillary did the right thing?
The experts opine endlessly on the risk McCain took in naming a relative unknown as his choice for VP. A look into a forum of Hillary supporters, however, indicates that the experts may have it wrong, once again. 99% of comments posted on Hillary Clinton Forum reveal Hillary supporters are already in Palin's corner. Ah, the fickleness of politics.
The barbs already winging Gov. Palin's way all have the word 'inexperience' highlighted. One need only look to Reagan to suspect that Palin's supposed inexperience could be a major advantage. When Reagan was running for Governor of California in 1966, he said, "I am not a professional politician. The man who currently has the job has more political experience than anybody else. That's why I'm running." Just so.
The institutional bias in favor of 'experience' is one of the problems with our current system. Most politicians are lawyers, experienced in working the system. Finally, along comes someone like Palin, who is more interested in making the system work than in working the system. I expect she will pose a genuine threat to the status quo, to say nothing of the 'good old boy' system. Sounds like change to me.
Her experience as an American citizen, mother, wife, Mayor and PTA member mean that all those people in flyover country, the millions of Americans who aren't part of the 'elite' might finally have found a voice inside the beltway.
Most politicians claim to speak for the common man. Sarah Palin IS the common man. And, thank God, she seems more than willing and able to speak for herself. And me.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina