Monday, September 8, 2008

If Sarah Palin isn't McCain's ticket to the White House, Piper Palin is

I've had a lot of critical things to say about Sarah Palin, mainly in comments over at VFR but at a couple of other places as well, including this blog. But today I had something of an epiphany.

No; I'm not taking any of it back. I think I've been fair to Sarah Palin while expressing certain legitimate concerns and criticisms. But I did have something of a revelation today that I'd like to share.

My revelation is that none of my criticisms or Auster's criticisms, or anyone's criticisms for that matter, are likely to make any difference at this point. Not that we shouldn't continue to criticize her when criticism is called for, but that it's not going to make any difference one way or the other.

When Sarah Palin's absolutely adorable six year old daughter Piper was caught on camera during her mom's speech at the RNC swiping her palm across her tongue for the purpose of laying her brother Trig's hair down, at that point the Palin family won the hearts of average Americans for once and for all. For those that didn't see it live, they heard about it and they've seen it now.

I watched it live and I even got a lump in my throat as I witnessed the scene. But don't tell my wife whose instinctive reaction was to let out a gasp and utter "Oh my God!" Then we both began to laugh joyfully together. This little perfectly innocent gesture of love toward her baby brother, this little non-scripted event involving this little girl acting the role of good little mother, which no amount of noise in the auditorium would turn her undivided attention from, captured our hearts. This was powerful, powerful stuff. The kind of stuff words cannot explain. It just is what it is. That's all.

A few minutes ago I found the You-tube video and watched it again. And this event still elicits very positive emotions in me. I can't help it. And I'm betting a lot of other Americans can't help it either. There's something almost magical about it. The shot starts out on Piper's mom giving her speech. This woman is easy to look at. And it's not just her physical beauty, though she's obviously very pretty, but you can see in her eyes almost a sincerity and goodness, maybe even a degree of naivete or uncorruptedness. But in addition you see her youth, the brightness in her face and her eyes, a very positive and outgoing attitude, and you just sense that Sarah Palin is a good and decent person, albeit one to be reckoned with. Then suddenly, without warning yet very naturally, the shot is on Sarah's youngest daughter Piper caring for her little brother. She's sweet and gentle, but not so cautious with him as to make you feel as though she thinks she's going to break him. You get the feeling this little six year old girl has already been trained very well; that she's a capable motherly caregiver with abilities well beyond her years, and that the Palins are well justified in placing a great deal of confidence in her ability to maintain perfect undivided focus, under virtually all conditions and circumstances, on her task of taking care of Trig. No amount of noise or commotion in the auditorium can divert Piper's attention from the duties at hand. She has a job to do; she can't be distracted by the insignificant goings on around her inside the auditorium. Relative to her job of taking care of Trig, this is all meaninglessness; a bunch of noise and racket that she simply can't be bothered with.

What a powerful testament; what a powerful scene! How could Obama ever touch it? How could he ever come close to touching it? Barack Obama doesn't have the stuff it takes to match this scene, let alone top it, even if he tried.

So as I said in the title to this entry, if Sarah Palin isn't McCain's ticket to the White House, Piper Palin is. But of course, you don't get Sarah without Piper or vice versa, they come as a matching set. With almost sixty days left until the general election and several debates to come, I'd bet my last dollar on it. Not that I'm particularly happy about it, or that I'll vote McCain, but I'll wager a McCain victory with anyone that cares to. And Piper Palin is a big reason why.


The_Editrix said...

Pardon me if this is off topic and I certainly do not intend to be fatuous, but the header of this post draw my attention to one of my pet peeves -- names.

I think no conservative would name his (or her) children Piper, Willow, Bristol, Trig and Track, but Lauren, Fiona, Charlotte, Victoria, Emma, Andrew, David or George.

Or am I confusing conservatism with class here?

P.S. Would Paris Hilton have turned out quite that awful had she been named Elizabeth Rose? Maybe not!

The_Editrix said...

I just watched the video and I caught myself grinning the broadest of grins and then laughing out loud.

It is incredibly cute (a word I usually don't use).

Terry Morris said...

Interesting you should mention this, Nora. I mentioned it in a comment at VFR some days back in which I lamented Sarah and Todd's naming of their children, and implied that it was a sign that they are not conservative.

Conservatives generally don't go against the grain like that. I have family members who do this, and not a one of 'em can be called a conservative. They may have conservative leanings on certain issues like Mrs. Palin does, but they're not conservative in the sense that you and I understand the term.

Paris Hilton is an eccentric raised by eccentric parents who decided to give her an eccentric name because they were eccentrics when she was born and gave her a name to reflect their eccentricity. Or something like that.

The_Editrix said...

I have missed that, Terry. VFR is not always easy to follow and I tend to skip posts which seem to be more of American than of general interest.

I was partly socialized in England and have picked up some of the snobbisms there, of which the German culture is largely free. (This is a statement, not a judgement.) I wasn't sure whether my preoccupation with names would be too far off base here.

But then, it is so obvious...

Terry Morris said...

I have missed that, Terry.

Allow me, Nora:

"(2) The names of the Palin children. Apparently they're named after Alaskan trees. While she and her husband have traditional names, they've chosen to give to their children non-traditional names. I have family members who do this, and I've never understood it. They name their children such things as "Sky," and "River." And true to the names they give their children, these family members of mine are a bit eccentric, for lack of a better term. And by the way, speaking of eccentricity, there is a fairly significant "eccentric" community in Alaska consisting of what I would describe as "hippie holdovers." These are the people who are responsible for the five Alaskan votes that went to Ron Paul. I think this community has had an influence on Mr. and Mrs. Palin, evident in the naming of their children. In what other ways might we learn of this hippie influence on the Palins, Mrs. Palin in particular?

And so I think the face of political conservatism has forever been altered in America. We have the "maverick" John McCain and his eccentric female running mate Sarah Palin representing what's left of political conservatism in America."

Nora, I agree with you, names that people choose for their children say something about them. In fact, I mentioned the name thing even before this when Bristol's pregnancy was first revealed. I wrote to Auster then "And by the way, what kind of a name is Bristol anyway?"

I have a cousin who has two children, a girl "Stormy" and a boy "Rowdy". And I hear tell that they live up to 'em, their names.

I have six children, Nora, and they all have traditional Christian names such as Gabriel and Sarah.

The_Editrix said...

Thanks for the link Terry. I had totally overlooked it.

As I said, names are a pet peeve of mine and I am a keen observer of the current trend, whatever it is. In Germany, the custom of lumbering children with crappy names and thus revealing one's class is relatively new. Different from England, names didn't have social overtones. Princes and workers were named Wilhelm or Heinrich alike and princesses and workers' daughters Wilhelmine or (if Catholic) Maria. Now they are actually importing unsmart names like Dennis, Marvin or Kevin. Anything to stand out, even if it is as a hick.

I have made the horrible observation that almost all of the children (we seem to have a wave of infanticide cases here recently) who were killed by a parent or died from gross neglect bore pretentious names and I don't think it is pure chance that those unspeakable Ramseys lumbered their poor child with a name like JonBenet.

But I digress and this had certainly nothing to do with the Palins.

I am not sure whether there is a Hippie influence in the Palins' choice. I'd say that people who give their children non-traditional (to put it politely) names somewhat want to stand out from the crowd (and then fail to notice that thousands of other individualists do want that as well). It is a counterproductive attempt at social climbing.

Like you, I believe that names have an influence on the child's demeanour as well.

It is interesting that the reader who commented on a different topic related to the Palins here confused Piper and Bristol. The names, not the girls. Would he have confused "Margaret" and "Anne"?

On a funny (haha) note: Trig and Track reminded me of Donald Duck's nephews who are in German named Tick, Trick and Track.

The_Editrix said...

One remark for all of you who have (like I have) qualms about criticizing decent people like the Palins. I think the email from the Wasilla neighbour went a long way towards reminding us that they are real people who might read what we write and get hurt. But then, Sarah Palin has sought the limelight and ought to be prepared that every aspect of her life will be now under the microscope.

If you want to know what UNFAIR criticism is (if anything like that deserves to be called "criticism" at all) go to YouTube and read the comments about little Piper grooming her baby brother. But don't forget your sick bag.

Sometimes, I hate people.

Terry Morris said...


On my remark about the hippies in Alaska: what I should have said about that is that there's a whole hippie sub culture in Alaska that's put on display at the Alaska State Fair and various other Alaskan events, as if it's something to be celebrated. "Normal", or regular Alaskans go to these events sometimes just to see it and be around it, and experience it. There's one annual event there -I can't think of what it is called- in which this is particularly true. I attended it one year, and one year only. It was really just sickening, not just because it was put on display and celebrated in a special event, but because average Alaskans fawned over it. But I guess they're just "celebrating diversity" up there, who isn't? Anyway, that's what I was talking about, and I was merely using the hippie sub-culture as one example among several similar ones in Alaska.

As far as Mrs. Kania goes, I wish she'd find my blog and comment here. I'd like to catch up on some stuff, such as exactly where the battle against explicit sex education in Alaska public schools is currently at, etc. But, yes, as I said at another blog during the John Edwards sex scandal thing, politicians and high profile public figures basically forego their right to a private life whenever they choose to enter the public scene. The Palins and their friends and family are just going to have to get used to it, because from hence forward their lives are going to be under a microscope. That's just the way it is. And Mrs. Palin could have avoided it all for herself and her family had she rejected McCain's offer.

But I'm with you, Nora, I read some of those comments you're talking about and they're sickening. Some of them are simply way out of bounds for any decent person, but there are a bunch of us who aren't. I hate people too sometimes, something else I've said before.

Ain't this fun?... ;-)

Terry Morris said...

It is interesting that the reader who commented on a different topic related to the Palins here confused Piper and Bristol. The names, not the girls. Would he have confused "Margaret" and "Anne"?

That's a pretty good question; one that might be worth some further exploration. Although I tend to think Piper, with her wonderful adorable personality, has done more than anyone else could have done to make Bristol's indiscretions seem ... trivial to the general public. I think it's easy for someone to mix their names up because they're odd names, but notice that Howard didn't call Bristol Willow...

The_Editrix said...

but notice that Howard didn't call Bristol Willow...

I don't get the implications. Can you explain?

And thanks for the explanation about the Alaska Hippies. So it may be fair to assume that the Palins fell for a fashionable trend.

Ain't this fun?... ;-)

It is indeed!

I intend to revive my blog by putting up this (and some of the discussion at VFR) there. Can't do any harm to give it as much publicity as possible. I used to have quite a solid readership (couple of hundreds per day) before I stopped updating it.

Terry Morris said...

I don't get the implications. Can you explain?

Well, I wasn't trying to make a connection to what you were saying concerning the oddity of the names and how that possibly contributes to our confusing them. I just thought it worth mentioning, given that this post is about Piper's irresistable personality and her effect on the election, that Howard made the error he did (albeit in a separate post), and didn't confuse Bristol with Willow, the Palin's other daughter. Does that make sense?

And thanks for the explanation about the Alaska Hippies. So it may be fair to assume that the Palins fell for a fashionable trend.

I think it's fair to say that ... in more ways than one.

I'm speculating, of course, but I'd lay good money down that Mrs. Palin named all of her children, and that her husband really didn't have much say in the matter. Whatever involvement he had in naming the children was at Sarah Palin's discretion, and it was really just a charitable act on her part, as much as anything, to involve him at all. Though I'm sure she would deny that.

I'm not saying that Todd necessarily wanted to give them traditional names, or that he was uncomfortable with giving them "unique" names, I'm simply saying that in the end it wouldn't have mattered if he did because Sarah Palin runs the show, and Todd allows her to run the show.

Subtle things inform me on this, like when she said of Todd in her speech at the RNC "...and after twenty years of marriage, he's still my guy." To read the statement, it reads like a compliment. But it's not a compliment, it's degrading towards her husband. That's revealed in the tone of her voice, her facial expressions and so forth. In my personal view it was inappropriate to speak of her husband that way, as if the only measure of Todd's importance to her is that she still just can't get over her teenage attraction to him, not that he's the man of the house to which she owes deference and honor and respect. I fear that her relationship to God is somewhat like that, and that disturbs me.

So besides being influenced by the presence and celebration of these odd sub-cultures (hippies and other eccentrics) during the course of their lifetimes in Alaska, Sarah and Todd have also been influenced by the wider cultural movement towards marital egalitarianism which, though it purports to be aiming at perfect equality, actually results in female dominance and a reversal of roles. To me this is a very dangerous trend.

I intend to revive my blog by putting up this (and some of the discussion at VFR) there.

I'm honored, Nora. Thanks for providing the link. I had almost forgotten that you have your own blog. Do you mind if I add it to my blogroll?

The_Editrix said...

Do you mind if I add it to my blogroll?

Of course not! I would be delighted. I have added you already -- without asking first.

More later.

The_Editrix said...

Not to appear like a hit-and-run poster again, I better say that I may not find the time to post again before Sunday.