America by Heart is vintage Palin. Folksy and family-focused, with a few anecdotal stories sprinkled in that make you wonder how on Earth she managed to land such a picture-perfect all-American crew. (Seriously, would your brother ever hand you a sweet and meaningful note on the back of a ticket stub while the Blue Angels are flying over? I DIDN’T THINK SO.)
This book relies more heavily on political theory than Going Rogue did, and there are so many quotations and side-stories that one feels that Palin was more of a “compiler” than “author” this time around.
It’s worth a read, however, simply because she is so freaking likable, which brings me to why we need her voice these days. Sarah Palin is one of the demonized and despised public figures in our history, for doing nothing more than being honest about her beliefs. Despite countless personal attacks and widespread dismissal, however, she remains optimistic, confident, classy and has never wavered from her core beliefs or backed down from voicing her opinions.
Reading her book gives me hope. I may not agree with her on every issue, but I cannot hide my admiration for her. I get one nasty blog comment and obsess about it for days, while she has been publicly mocked for years and is still smiling. She writes about political theory in a way that reminds me that it’s not as hard as the so-called experts make it sound, that there are still people in this country who would rather get along than get ahead and not everyone in politics have sold their soul.
This week, Democrats, Republicans and decent people of every creed came out in force to support the Palin family and Trig, their 3-year-old with Down Syndrome. Some sadly misinformed writer got the idea that making fun of toddlers with disabilities is permissible and probably hilarious, and used several hundred nasty words to make fun of Trig and his mom. The Internet went insane. Other than a few equally tasteless voices, most people were shocked and appalled that the culture of personal attack and character assassination could stoop this low. As far as I know, Sarah Palin steered clear of the entire controversy, but a movement of angry Twitterers, using the hashtag #TrigsCrew, defended her family for her and demanded that advertisers pull off Wonkette, the site on which the blog was originally published. Over 30 of them did, last I heard.
That’s why we need Sarah Palin. Because after years of personal attack, outright mockery, baseless claims and countless dismissals, she has never fought back on personal grounds. When David Letterman made sexual slurs about her teenage daughter, she didn’t take him to task on his many missteps, but simply argued that she needed to protect young women (including Bristol) from a culture of objectification. When she’s been called stupid, out-of-touch, dangerous, evil and countless other names, she has never retaliated in kind, but has kept to the issues, continuing to give her opinions and perspective with an even-handed, good-natured and infinitely approachable style, never once stooping to the personal attacks to frequently used on her and her family.
As a result of her perseverance, we are finally seeing movements like #TrigsCrew, in which decent people can agree that there is no reason to belittle a child for political gain, and in which we remember what it feels like to be Americans first, party members second – something Sarah Palin has long modeled with class.