I fully planned on posting my half finished diatribe on the media’s treatment of Sarah Palin, why I am a Republican, and the flawed economic theory of the Democratic Party, but then I watched Ms. Palin speak the other night and shelved my previous writing. My reaction to her speech was quite different then I imagined it would be. Instead of feeling excited about the GOP’s chances in November, I felt proud of where I come from, the people that are closest to me and the opportunities this country affords each of us.
I have always been surrounded by loving, smart and tough women. I have a great grandmother who could take a bullet without complaint, brand cows with the toughest of men and soothe a grandchild after being stung by a bee. My grandmother taught me the value of an honest days work. Although as a kid I bitched and moaned about the level of pay and her high quality standards (even though I was filling a manure spreader), she taught me how to do a job and do it right. I thought a lot about my mother when I saw Ms. Palin speak. For those who don’t know my mom, she managed a household of seven rowdy kids, a cousin who didn’t have another home and cared for her dying father-in-law while my father lived and worked out of state. My mother is tough, the type of woman who would smack other people’s kids when they get out of line at the grocery store. All the neighbor kids knew that you didn’t cross Eva cause if you pissed her off one way she’d put a boot in your ass the other. Outside of this tough exterior, she is a caring, passionate and intelligent mother and grandmother. Mostly I thought about my lovely wife, a tough, passionate woman who can’t be easily categorized by a single title. Melanie is a woman of deep thinking, deep passion and an uncompromising belief in doing what’s right. I never realized how strong she is until the last few months. The best thing I can say about these women is that they are good people and good mothers, just like most of us have.
As a man I often talk about the Washingtons, Jeffersons and the Rockefellers who “built” this nation, but I know better. This nation is built upon the backs of strong women. That is why it is so refreshing to see someone like Sarah Palin. I think it’s great to see an elected official who has struggled through the fight of kids, jobs, school, marriage, mistakes and everyday living; someone who seeks out office not to break down barriers or prove something, but to try to make life better for their family. The pundits all debated whether she was talking to the base, swing voters, Reagan democrats or Hillary supporters, but I think it was more than that. She spoke to me as a person who struggles to make a living and tries to do what’s right every day. She spoke to me the same way that strong women have spoken to me throughout my life, and that was a breath of fresh air.