Sarah Palin- Americans Are Not Quitters
Sarah Palin announced July 3rd that she was quitting the Alaskan governorship 3 years into her first term. She said she was answering a "higher calling." She released a statement on July 4th condemning the media as acting predictable and holding her to a double standard. Enough already, please stop. Sarah, America does not love quitters. We all need inspiration to get through the daily grind; you are not motivating anyone to take on any challenges. The only "higher calling" most of us appreciate is finishing the job ahead of us to the best of our abilities.
Here is my take on Sarah. She is ambitious, beautiful, smart and is to be commended for loving family and being somewhat of an example for modern woman careerdom (not that I care for distinctions between men and women). She took on a major challenge of campaigning as a Vice Presidential candidate with both grit and aplomb (although extremely unpolished for example, claiming Obama hung out with terrorists). She did all this with an infant in tow, a challenge most women could never live up to. For her efforts and completion of campaigning wholeheartedly for a race she is to be commended. Not being able to name a single newspaper that she read when asked by Katie Couric and not knowing the Bush doctrine just proves she is no academic but America is a people who are always willing to give second chances and reward those who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. America loved her guntoting, avid hunter and "you betcha" straight talk, her physically attractive, edgy version of the modern politician. What Sarah was not willing to recognize is that the Founders created this country on religious freedom and a separation of church and state. The majority of us cared not for her frequent references to her faith and God, much less the youtube videos of her getting witches cast from her as she prayed and stood before a congregation. When you live by the sword you die by the sword. How can she tout abstinence when her teenage daughter gets pregnant. It's just all hyprocritical. Had she kept her faith out of it, no one would fault her for the actions of a teenage daughter. Had she kept her political views on hot topic issues such as abortion to an intellectual deference that people should have some room for private decisions that even the US Supreme Court recognizes; America could have judged her solely on her ability to lead and her stamina for such a job. Leading is not forcing one's personal views (unless they are of openminded tolerance such as this country was based on) on everyone else. Leading is not taking your cues from the Bible (that more than 2/3rds of this world's population gives no credence to) and most importantly leading is not quitting when it gets 'hot in the kitchen' so to speak.
I may not be a Vice Presidential candidate, but as a modern, hardworking woman who cares about America and mother of 4, maybe she can take some of her cues from normal Americans like me. Her father was a schoolteacher and her mother a school secretary yet despite her upbringing and desire for political leadership and a journalist degree she's no real reader ? I came from two high school dropouts with one of my parents learning to read and write English the same time as me and yet every since high school and to this day, I have always subscribed to at least 2 news sources despite the majority of my college hours in my minor- a science, Geology. You can't persuade people, understand people, or know the real issues that are important to people without compulsive reading. How did she get a journalism degree without acquiring a lifelong affinity to reading the news ? (Her response on an international affairs question is that she could see Russia from her house ? Are you kidding me ?)
Hard work. She is not available at work to meet with Alaskan legislators because she is away at her home in Wasilla frequently ? Millions of men have sacrificed precious family time due to the earnest and sincere hard work that is required of their professions, much less the leadership requirements in governing a state ? I have 4 children but almost never make it to their school events, it's hit or miss on their open houses, and rarely know their teachers by face. However I make up for this by emails, notes, cards, and support in other ways for both their schools and my children. I can't just tell a judge we are going to have to start a trial 3 hours late so I can make it to my kid's award ceremony. If I had to take a vacation day for every kid's event I would have my clients and judges furious with me and not accomplishing much with true effectiveness. Women should not claim special exceptions because of their gender. Every since the day I got sworn in as a lawyer and decided to give it my 100%, I knew that there would be personal sacrifices. The world needs talented people who are willing to sacrifice for the greater public's good. When you hire a lawyer, when you elect a governor, you expect to receive that person's best efforts and school programs and open houses are no exceptions. It's about being honest. Don't play ball if you can't make it to practice- this applies to everything from running your own plumbing company to being the President of the United States (if W had taken the time to read those CIA briefings on suspected terrorists taking flight lessons instead of all those vacations at Crawford Ranch we'd probably avoided 9/11). True leaders make personal sacrifices.
Criticism. Palin wants to whine about the media in the wake of her quitting. Waa waa. She should be over this by now. True leaders forge ahead despite painful criticism. She should be over the learning curve by now. She should have gotten over that by the completion of her first term as Mayor of Wasilla. I remember when I first started doing national news legal annotating, I received painful criticism (being called a slut, whatever that has to do with legal commentary !) from a fellow lawyer in New York City. I made the mistake of calling him up directly to tell him what I thought. Never again, call it the learning curve. True leaders know that you can't please everyone all the time. I respect the fact that people are so passionate they will write hateful things about you and disagree vehemently. That's what makes Americans great. That's what spurred the Boston Tea Party. We are a people that values freedom of thought, association, and religion. When people disagree with me, I'm at least pleased to know they sincerely care about their topics of concern. Smart people are always willing to listen. I have learned after jumping into the national media world that even people I violently disagree with such as Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh deserve my thanks for their efforts. It's not easy getting out there and arguing causes of which others disagree with you on. I just thank everyone out there who is making an effort at making America a more informed nation. Sarah ought to know that the best things in life come with great pain. You work hard, don't sleep, live off lattes and put something out there for the benefit of your fellow man and don't expect to be thanked (ask Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, etc). You get to a level where your contributions are needed but because you are the one contributing you will always be derided and criticized instead. I remember when I first started speaking (giving speeches at seminars and spending countless hours preparing the written materials and writing nationally published articles that require more work than ten trials combined) I valued the speaker evaluations. Then it got to a point where I spoke frequently all across the nation (always with no pay, and expending loads of my time and energy just in an effort to raise the bar and help fellow lawyers) only to come back to Texas to make the same presentations to my fellow Texans who are so jealous they can hardly contain themselves in their evaluations with no thanks or appreciation whatsoever for the novel materials or hard work. (Whoever said Texans aren't male chauvenists never lived in Texas, maybe that explains why there are so few successful female defense lawyers in Texas... I'm trying to change that for people like my daughter and the chauvenists' daughters...). Although it's enough to make you want to burn those evaluations and swear off ever speaking or helping your fellow lawyers again you realize that the majority of your colleagues appreciate your hard efforts and need your help so you forge ahead remembering that true leaders do the right thing not the easy thing. It makes me value my President's Leadership award in the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer's Association for the past 2 years that much more. A leader does things to help people and knows that extreme jealousy, hatefulness and obstructionists will always try to block your path. You just keep going. It's just like Vince Lombardi said "Leaders aren't born, they are made. Winners never quit and quitters never win."
Sarah, you must understand that the rewards for one's career, leadership and success never come from others' accolades they come from yourself. At the end of the day, when you can smile at yourself and say "Man, I'm proud of surviving, hanging in there and never giving up and treating everyone with respect" while doing your best to do your best.... then you are deserving of respect and leadership whether it comes to you or not. You quit on July 3rd from a position of leadership (if leadership is not your gig then that is totally understandable), America appreciates what you have accomplished. Just understand, that to rise from the rubble again, you must survive the heat again.. you must prove yourself. Please don't ask us to vote for you out of mercy. Earn our respect, don't beg for it. Get to reading, get to working (try to make it a full 60 hours on the job without leaving early), get to becoming more tolerant and openminded and less provincial and quit forcing your God based dogma on the rest of us (who prefer not to have it rule our governmental policymaking). We are a country of second chances... but earn it, not for us but for yourself.