The last few days have me once again at the center of a lot of talk. This time, it's not what I asked candidate Obama or what he said back to me. But it is because I again said exactly what was on mind and some people have now rather gleefully seen my words as a stumble on the national stage. Maybe so--or maybe it's another step toward honesty that only looks like a stumble to those who think every word must be scrubbed for effect and the political advantage of those "behind the curtain".
For those who missed it, I questioned whether Sarah Palin should have supported John McCain in his Arizona Senate race. I said it because I can't help but think that this honest-to- goodness, true blue American hero has been changed by Washington, D.C. and not for the better. I said that instead of him "making me," as a reporter asserted, he "ruined my life." Truthfully I wish I hadn't said that last part or at least had the chance to fully explain it because it's not at all the "rest of the story."
So let me set the record straight: I broke Ronald Reagan's "11th commandment" not to criticize fellow conservatives in public and the liberal mainstream media has had a field day with it. I regret that. I wish I had said it to his face and privately. I do honestly believe that John McCain's service to our country as a courageous naval aviator and POW rightfully earned him nothing but respect. He has represented the epitome of honor, duty and unimaginable sacrifice. And for the record, he didn't ruin my life. He and Barrack Obama sent me down a far different path than the one I was happily on--a new path that made me famous, notorious, sought after and vilified. I have learned that all those good and bad things happen when you are thrust into the public eye. Like almost anyone else, I have loved the good and hated the bad.
Also for the record, I like Sarah Palin because although she has served as an elected official as Governor of Alaska, she still acts and speaks like any real person you meet who is worried about the country, the kids and our future. It has always seemed to me that she has a lot of good things to add to our national discussion and that her value does not have to come down to--as the liberal media has tried--whether she should be our next President. Is that the new test of a person's worth and whether they can add important views on patriotism, faith and family and the role of the citizen? She might make a very good President but that is not the test of her worth. That false test, the subject of various recent polls, is designed by the elitists who have almost ruined our country to chase people off what they believe is their territory.
I do think Washington, D.C. changes most people for the worse. There is a sense of entitlement, a callousness when it comes to the opinions of average Americans and an opportunistic ethic that treats us like the means to every candidate's personal ambitions. We have been lied to, ignored, taxed within an inch of our lives and generally treated with contempt instead of respect. It makes me angry and I don't think I'm alone in this.
For the last year I have been working with the "good part" of the fame that my chance meeting with Barrack Obama afforded me. I have been speaking at Tea Parties, encouraging people to get involved and helping conservative candidates win deserved attention for their policies and promises. I'm using my fleeting moment of fame to do something good for the country I love. Anyone who knows me knows that I speak from the heart--not from a TelePrompter or script. Even with candidates I'm helping I tell crowds to pay close attention to what is being promised and to hold the person to their promises after they are elected--and throw them out if they betray the voters. I also don't believe that the GOP has a right to assume that Tea Parties' honest and spontaneous grassroots outpouring of dissatisfaction automatically wins the GOP votes because I believe they have been a big part of the problem. A good ad, an easy promise to be a true conservative (from now on) and the power of incumbency while continuing down the path of spending, privilege and power is little more than "business as usual" in my book.
I have met many wonderful people over the last year who have more than offset the venom and exploitation I have also experienced. Truck drivers, mechanics, waitresses, realtors and stay- at-home moms to name just a few have made me realize again how wonderfully strong and true our hometowns really are. A lot of these good people have stuck their necks out, too, to bring their voices to bear on what looks more and more like a corrupted political aristocracy. Like me, they are not pro's when it comes to the snappy sound bite and they don't have a team of pollsters crafting their every statement. They don't always say the "right thing" either but you can't doubt their sincerity, honesty or love of our country.
I decided to use my moment in the spotlight to ask hard questions and say things that are true because I don't hear those questions or statements from the media or most in the political world. Now I've said some things that have again rocked the boat. I am being true to my heart and my head--I both admire John McCain's heroism and I believe that he and many others have been diminished by a corrosive atmosphere of fawning adoration, easy perks and a seemingly endless supply of our money to spend getting re-elected. I don't regret believing those things, just that they became ammunition for all those who loath another real voice on the national stage saying things that handlers have not carefully scripted to advance someone's hidden agenda.
Finally, to fully answer the reporter who said that John McCain "made me"--I was made by my country, my faith and my family. I am an American and we have a long tradition of mistrusting politicians of all stripes.