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The Real America Pep Rally

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The waiting game at the airport usually results in nominal boredom, and with that comes the embarrassing choices that will probably hit you the morning after. In this case, the impatience of waiting caused me to make a trip to the terminal bookstore where gleaming on the shelf is the newest copy of Sarah Palin’s book America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag. With all of the hubbub from the media circus about this newest political star, I decided to purchase the book to satisfy my curiosity. After reading her last book, Going Rogue, for similar reasons, I found this short political manifesto to be almost a repeat. 

            Its pages are filled with Republican talking points. Echoing the sentiments of the “lamestream media,” her cutsie name for the mainstream media, it was a book that was vapid, inane, and quite pugnacious in the negative sense of the word. A summary of its content would be America is good, God is great, and the Tea Party is here to stay. Within its pages, she includes personal stories about her son’s noble service in Iraq, reflections on her happy marriage with “the first dude” Todd Palin, dealing with the unexpected pregnancy of her teenage daughter Bristol, and redefining feminism from the liberal hippies who she claims unrightfully misinterpreted its meaning to be for liberals only. All of these lovely political points and personal mementos are wrapped up in a cuddly blanket of Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson quotes.

            Her main inspiration appears to come from playing sports in high school. Apparently, she participated in basketball and track, also the name of one of her children. While playing sports was not the central theme of the book, the constant use of the term “American exceptionalism” gave me the sense that she has not moved on from high school pep rallies. 

There seems to be two sides that are dividing the U.S. political system. One side is the jocks, represented by Sarah Palin, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and political commentator Glenn Beck. This side thinks in slogans and chants the old time crowd favorite “USA! USA!”  to drum up support for their policy ideas. The opposite end of the spectrum is made up of the nerds. President Barack Obama, Republican Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels, and former campaign strategist Karl Rove are all on this side. They spent their time doing homework and reading in high school. They also cheer for America, but it is more of a quite cheer. The war between who will run the country, the loud voices or the quite policy wonks has been debated for decades. 

The main problem here is where Americans fit into this puzzle. Sarah Palin likes to believe she represents “Real America,” which is to say most Americans are on her team. I am quite dubious of this glittering generality, but I am also not naïve enough to believe all Americans are on the left either. Neither the nerds nor the jocks have control of the American populace. 

Most Americans are probably somewhere in the middle. They probably are liberal on some issues and conservative on others. Many have a healthy, but respectful, skepticism for government, religion, and various institutions. This crowd is the one who just goes with the flow in high school and did not constantly study or play sports. More than likely, this group will be the one who makes the decisions about the direction of the country. 

This, my friends, is the real America, one that does not think in talking points, absolutes, or campaign platitudes. The voice of the American people is probably a moderate one that Washington has a hard time hearing, only because they are too busy talking for us. Sarah Palin might believe she speaks for Real Americans, but that is probably farther from the truth. Her side just shouts the loudest at this grand pep rally that is the American political system, thus her side sadly calls the shots.

To read more commentary by John Stang check out his blog called “The Independent Internationalist.”  Also, check out his new radio show by the same name on WRKE 100.3 FM on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:00 p.m.  His opinions do not reflect those of the Brackety-Ack.