Sarah Palin’s “America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag” is a love letter to the three things she seems to adore best; her family, God, and the United States of America (Alaska being an extra special place.)
“America by Heart” is written in a breezy, conversational style that is as likely to quote a song from Sesame Street as it is from de Tocqueville. This shows that Governor Palin has actually read a book or two (something her enemies, enraptured by the Tina Fey caricature, will never credit), but that also she draws inspiration from an eclectic variety of sources, which includes also the natural beauty of her beloved Alaska and her own life’s experiences.
The portrait of Sarah Palin that is revealed, as with “Going Rogue”, is of a woman who is not at all complicated or tormented by inner demons. Unlike certain people who have been Presidents she does not have parental abandonment issues, problems with drink or drugs, or daddy issues, or anything else that is supposed to make someone more interesting. Sarah Palin is a quire ordinary woman who just happens to be one of the most famous people on the planet, by stint of opportunity, luck, and no little ability on her part.
One is also struck, reading passages describing what Palin calls “pioneer feminism” or of the central place religious faith has in American life, with how obviously clear what she has to say is. One finds oneself, occasionally despite oneself, nodding in agreement while reading the book.
There is, of course, more than enough in “America by Heart” to annoy the left. The pioneer feminism concept is sure the enrage the folks at NOW, who wouldn’t be able to kill, gut, and cook a moose to save their own lives, but are quite capable of sitting around the faculty lounge whining about the “patriarchy.”
Here is another passage that I particularly enjoyed:
“When I was growing up, nothing demonstrated the American ethic of innovation, enterprise, and striving-the “strenuous life”-more than the American space program. I wasn’t even born yet when John F. Kennedy pledged in 1961 to land a man on the moon within the decade. But I have early memories of when that ambitious goal was accomplished in 1969.”
Sarah Palin goes on to admonish President Obama, whom she sees as lacking some of JFK’s more charming qualities, for his abandonment of a return to the Moon and the whole “mission to the Muslims” kerfuffle that roiled the blogosphere earlier this past summer. The passage comes at the end of a long meditation of the nature of striving, informed by Palin’s experience as a long distance runner. The passage has also caused a firestorm among a group I call “The Internet Rocketeer Club”, which eschews the idea of the heroic in space exploration and thus is very supportive of the Obama space policy.
It seems that Sarah Palin’s main talent is annoying people who deserve being annoyed and making them crazy. That is something that is rare and to be cherished. Ronald Reagan had it. George W. Bush had it in spades.
That quality alone will make a Sarah Palin presidency delicious to experience. She will certainly do no worse and likely very much better than the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Source: America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, Sarah Palin, Harper, 2010