Prelude 2: Israeli American documentarian films Sarahcuda this spring as part of "Amazing Women" documentary, comes away "mesmerized".
Reading Whittle is a pleasure:
She is so absolutely, remarkably, spectacularly ordinary. I think the magic of Sarah Palin speaks to a belief that so many of us share: the sense that we personally know five people in our immediate circle who would make a better president than the menagerie of candidates the major parties routinely offer. Sarah Palin has erupted from this collective American Dream — the idea that, given nothing but classic American values like hard work, integrity, and tough-minded optimism you can actually do what happens in the movies: become Leader of the Free World, the President of the United States of America. (Or, well, you know, vice president.)
Sarah Palin has done more than unify and electrify the base. She’s done something I would not have thought possible, were it not happening in front of my nose: Sarah Palin has stolen Barack Obama’s glamour. She’s stolen his excitement, robbed his electricity, burgled his charisma, purloined his star power, and taken his Hope and Change mantra, woven it into a cold-weather fashion accessory, and wrapped it around her neck.
A candidate who is young, funny, well-spoken, intelligent, charming, drop-dead gorgeous — and one of ours? Is this actually happening?
I have seen these women, hard-core, feminist Democrats for 30 years and more, sit in slack-jawed amazement at Palin and at how fiercely Republicans — Republicans! — are defending her, backing her, and cheering her to the rafters. These Clinton supporters say they don’t know what to think any more: The Republicans are behaving like Democrats and the Democrats are behaving like Republicans!
If you think that’s an insult, you’ve got it exactly backwards. That is not only a huge compliment from these abandoned, centrist Democrats who bemoan the loss of their party to the radicals, it is an early rumbling of a tectonic shift in American politics which we are only dimly beginning to grasp. Who are the real feminists? A significant portion of our former hard-core opposition is now rethinking in a fundamental way who it is that actually does what their former allies only talk about.
That, my long-suffering and now giddy and sleepless friends — that is the smell of victory. That is conservatism with a future.
I knew McCain’s father and grandfather were admirals. I did not know his grandfather was on the USS Missouri, came home, and died the next day after giving everything he had for his country. That’s powerful. And the image of his father standing on the North Vietnamese border, looking out toward his missing son as he orders the bombing of the city where he is being held? McCain reminded us that there are things far more important than politics.
As for the speech: yes, it was stilted. Awkward in places, true. Ugly background, cheesy flagpole, lack of polish — got it. But as the northerners said of Abraham Lincoln in the first days of the war, when he was mockingly compared to the effortless grace of Jefferson Davis: “We didn’t get him for ballroom purposes.” Damn right we didn’t.
I had heard before that John McCain had been beaten in prison, and I admired him for it. But when he said he had been broken . . . I gasped. When this sometimes cocky, arrogant old man told me he had once been a cocky, arrogant young man until he was “blessed by hardship,” until he had been broken and remade — and in that remaking discovered a love of country so fierce and pure that even as a patriot myself I will never approach it — well, in that moment John McCain won my heart, to add to the respect and admiration he had already had.
When John McCain told me what I and untold millions of Americans have always believed, what others tell me to be ashamed of and mock me for — that I live in the greatest country in the world, a force of goodness and justice in dark places, a land of heroism and sacrifice and opportunity and joy — to me that went right to the mystic chords of memory that ultimately binds this country together. Some people don’t know what it is, but there is such a thing as patriotism — pure, unrefined, unapologetic, unconditional, non-nuanced, non-cosmopolitan, white-hot-burning patriotism. John McCain loves this country. I love it too. Not what it might be made into someday — not its promise, always and only its promise — but what it was and what it is, a nation and an idea worth fighting and dying for.