Unapologetic American

by Amy Zidell
09.18.08 [First Draft 09.12.08]

Unapologetic American

Vice-Presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin is an unapologetic American. That is why she has captivated the world. It is why conservatives love her; it is why liberals fear her. She is a woman, true to herself, who lives her convictions and does not apologize for them. Most of us simply do not live a life as clear as that. It depends on an individual's attitude whether Palin's life approach is a source of inspiration and motivation or conjures feelings of shame and dejection.

Her introduction has surprised and rattled those who are desperately clinging to a worldview built on, from, and shrouded in negativity, elitism, and despair (NEDs). These NEDs squint their eyes at her brightness, like overhung vampires jolted from stupor by a curtain flung wide open at high noon. Their palpable demise on the horizon, NEDs viciously lash out in a futile take no prisoners last stand. So awash in the smear, NEDs struggle against a thick and sticky tide that has risen over time. The very cynical among us would say the volume of this horrible ooze is result of a deliberate, systematic, engineered plan. Yet, Sarah Palin shoveled this negative goo aside in a snap, with less fuss than if clearing a snow covered Alaskan footpath, even though this muck did not appear overnight.

The Clinton White House led a wave of moral-relativism washing across America. Forget whether there should have been an impeachment, or whether his infidelity was a private matter, or whether Hillary's penchant for pantsuits in some way excuses Bill's dalliances - cheating is cheating. At least it was before the painful parsing, paraphrased here, "It depends on what the word sex is." The foundation was laid, leaving many to believe not only, "If the President can get away with it, so can I," but also that it is okay to do so. No, it is not.

The stage was set for economic-relativism. It is no coincidence that ENRON and all that represents followed Monica-gate. There was the tech bubble. Overvalued companies, that did not make anything and could not define what service they provided, eventually demonstrated their financial ambiguities in their balance sheets. The fantasyland of overvalued loans to unqualified borrowers was recently introduced to real-life, while the cries from those stranded by payday loans have yet to break the surface.

Worse has been patriotic-relativism, with rampant hypocrisy as a sidekick. After the 2000 election, after 9/11, after the shock-and-awe, and Operation Iraqi Freedom launched, rancor seeped into American life. Some random real-life incidents offer examples of this phenomenon. One sunny afternoon, I pulled into a Los Angeles area Whole Foods market parking lot, driving my vintage V-8 powered Oldsmobile, on which two small American flags were displayed, flowing from my rear windows. I parked. A man approached the car angrily. Based on his body language and behavior, I presume he found my patriotic display offensive, possibly interpreting it as a war mongering advertisement. He aggressively flipped me off with a so-called 'peace sign.' One evening, after parking the same car, with the same flags, and walking up a hill to a party, a fellow partygoer, walking past my car, derided my American flags suggesting they be removed. I vaguely recall them remarking my American flags should be replaced by Iraqi flags. On another occasion, in a restaurant, I recall school-age family members being uncomfortable with my American flag lavaliere necklace - no doubt being subjected to anti-American classroom rants.

Patriotic Americans has been under siege for several years. Certainly, conservatives do not have a monopoly on patriotism or love for their county. Showing patriotism has been criticized, ridiculed, and threatened. The National Anthem is disrespected. The pledge of allegiance has been under attack. Flags of foreign countries have been flown improperly over the American flags at some schools.

One must possess clear convictions and stand up strongly against such assaults. Watering down convictions was not just limited to patriotism. Peer pressure grew into culture pressure against America, intact families, religion, modesty, and rule of law, to detail a few values. Too many go along to get along, or lower the bar we have set for ourselves. I have been guilty of this myself.

These cultural and patriotic assaults beat the country down and an apology mentality evolved. Sorry we are such a productive country. Sorry this company made so much money. Sorry we are supporting freedom in the world. Sorry we eat well. Sorry we live well. Sorry we are not completely miserable. Next, Americans were apologizing for being American. Ridiculous. Hostile foreign leaders were visited and pandered to by Hollywood celebrities --- actions that in previous decades would have resulted in treason charges. I believe such pathetic apologizing and self-loathing is outrageous to the vast majority of Americans. Americans: average, rich, poor, conservative, independent, moderate, libertarian, maybe even a handful of liberals had had enough. Nevertheless, we were enveloped by a tide that shut out all light, leaving us in such a dark disorienting place, debate raged as to which way was up. Sarah Palin would be as a single candle illuminating a pitch-dark room. Americans are no longer going to hide their love for their country. Americans are no longer going to apologize for America.

This does not suggest that we put blinders on and ignore what needs improvement. However, ignoring the positive, stopping and gazing myopically at every imperfection along the way, is a sure recipe for defeat. It used to be that everyone, except for a few on the fringe, truly wanted the same What -- things for the betterment of the country. Disagreement between parties was about How -- the approach employed to achieve these noble goals. Common sense goals are not passé, as some including NEDs would like us to believe. Some have self-interests beyond our borders even to the point that they would eliminate ours. Such goals are not common, nor do they make sense for this democracy -- a proud, free, autonomous nation.

The concept that American Exceptionalism is taboo has been rejected and handily debunked. Hillary Clinton may have put 18 million cracks in what some call the ultimate glass ceiling, but Sarah Palin has soundly knocked to the ground this negative anti-American ennui that has held back some Americans and been an irritating thorn in the side to others. Sarah Palin, in that inexplicable way that inexplicable things happen, has embodied living breathing American Exceptionalism. That is why Americans have embraced her. Even if not agreeing with every Sarah Palin political position, you can respect that she walks the walk. She is not the hypocritical multi-millionaire living in a 10,000 square foot mansion telling everyone else they should live more modestly. Sarah Palin is real. This could be because Alaska produces strong people, or because strong people produce in Alaska.

Sarah Palin is an unapologetic American. Good for her. She is recalibrating the patriotic compass, stepping through the relativism gauntlet, and reminding all of us that home of the free, land of the brave is a good thing. She does all this in an approachable, cheerful, positive manner. Her pleasant face belies the manufactured false monstrous image of horrible evil conservatives. Depending on your age, she either reminds you of a college friend, sister, daughter, former student, favorite teacher, neighbor, or co-worker. She represents the potential you imagine for yourself or for those about whom you care. Sarah Palin is an admirable person.

I like Sarah Palin, and I will not apologize for that.

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