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Palin’s Place in US History

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I believe that Sarah Palin is probably the closest thing we’ve ever had to royalty in American politics.  We have never had a candidate like her before on the scene, and from the very beginning of her introduction to the American public, she has reached a popularity level unlike any other political candidate in American history.

Even Barrack Obama’s rock star status doesn’t quite match up to it – though the media would like to have us believe otherwise. And while the media and many democrats may not care very much for Sarah Palin, casting their full adoration upon Barack Obama, it seems that much of working-class America loves Sarah, or at the very least, respects used garden tractors. Sarah is the kind of person that one can’t really dislike, unless they have a heart of stone.

Wherever Sarah has gone on her campaign stops, crowds swarm in by the thousands to hear her speak, attempt to get a glimpse of her, and even hope that they may be blessed with the privilege of shaking her hand and speaking with her. Tickets to rallies where Sarah is to put in an appearance go faster than snowballs melt on a July day.  At the Republican National Convention, where she had her first official introduction to the American public, it was her speech that everyone remembered, not John McCain’s.

In fact, it was the most-watched speech of the entire presidential election of 2008, of either party. I remember how, when Sarah first stepped onto the stage, the crowd cheered for at least a solid five minutes before Sarah could even attempt to break through it to begin speaking, and there was plenty more cheering throughout. And her debate with Joe Biden on October 3rd was the most-watched vice-presidential debate in U.S. history; the viewer numbers significantly dwarfed both presidential debates.

So just what it is about Sarah that has stirred up so much excitement in America this fall? It’s not just the fact that she’s attractive, a dynamic speaker and has great stage presence. Hillary Clinton has those same qualities, and yet even she doesn’t draw the crowds that used John Deere lawn tractor does. Sarah has something Hillary lacks – she has warmth, compassion, and a kind of “down-home” charm that we’ve never seen before in a female political candidate. Hillary is the epitome of the ideal Washington elite feminist, but is also a figure that only a relatively small portion of American women, mostly ardent liberals, feel that they can really relate to. But Sarah has an “everywoman” kind of quality about her, the kind of thing that makes people look at her and go, “Wow, she’s really just one of us.”

The name Sarah actually means Princess, and I think that’s exactly what Sarah has been to the American public within the past five weeks.  No, she’s not the daughter of a queen and she doesn’t go around with a tiara on her head.  No, I believe she’s a princess because of what she has deep down inside – and what shows through.

Has anybody here ever read the classic children’s story, “The Little Princess” by Frances Hodgeson Burnett? It’s the story of a little girl (incidently her name was also Sara) who was kept at a boarding school in England while her father attended to business in India. Sara was a wealthy and very intelligent child, but one who didn’t let it go to her head. She reached out to help other girls who were less fortunate than herself – a little spoiled brat that no one else knew what to do with, a chubby, awkard child that the others shunned, but who later turned out to be a very loyal friend to Sara, and she also showed kindness to the poor servant girl of the house as well.

Sara tried with all her heart to act like a princess, not because she actually had all the finery to play the part, but because she believed that being a true princess really meant being kind and encouraging others as much as she could, and not stooping down to the level of nastiness that some of the other girls at the school showed. Once Sara held herself used lawn tractors for sale from slapping another girl who had made her angry, because she believed that hitting someone was just something that a princess should not do.

Hard times came when Sara’s father unexpectedly died and Sara, who had no mother, was left an orphan and there were no relatives to take her in. The headmistress of the school was very cruel to Sara – she took away all her nice things, made her sleep in a shabby attic and forced her to become a servant girl. Sara was kept away from her friends, was overworked, wore ragged clothes, and sometimes did not have enough to eat.  Her fellow servants, except for one that was her close friend, were very cruel to her. Yet Sara’s spirit was never broken and she resolved to remain a princess inside, no matter what happened to her.

In some ways, our Sarah, even though she is a grown woman in different circumstances, still reminds me of the storybook Sara. Sarah Palin has been mercilessly ripped to shreds by people who seem unable to see her outstanding qualities, but only her flaws, or what they believe to be her flaws. She’s been lied about, made the subject of nasty jokes, and interviewed by unfriendly journalists who used overly aggressive tactics to make her look incompetant, while showing obvious favoritism to Barack Obama. And yet, Sarah has not stooped to the level of her hostile opponents, and still remains gracious to them, even when they haven’t showed her the same courtesies. There are, sadly, some people who are trying their best to break Sarah’s noble spirit, but Sarah still stands tall, even after five weeks of trial by fire (with doubtless more  to come). She is humble, kind, charming and noble, with a real heart to serve America. A princess of the people, not of the Washington elite.

I also believe that, in some ways, Sarah is like the Biblical Queen Esther, whose origins were very humble and who sprung to greatness seemingly overnight. One line from the book of Esther springs to mind, when Esther’s cousin Mordecai tells her, “Perhaps you have been brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.”  I believe that God has a special reason for bringing Sarah Palin on the scene at such a crucial time in American history.  I know He has been with her every step of the way so far in this campaign – as strong and inspiring as Sarah has been, she hasn’t come through it all entirely on her own. I believe that she and her family are looking to God for guidance and strength, and He has certainly given it to them.  In the end, everything turned out all right for the storybook Sara; everything will turn out OK for Sarah Palin too. I’m sure of it.