Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Exposure

People often say that their biggest fear is public speaking. For many people, the very thought of it is enough to bring on an anxiety attack. There are those that even have nightmares of standing alone on a stage in front of a large audience to deliver an important speech only to forget their words from fear of the moment. It is something that has a way of exposing you that can be very uncomfortable and for many, something that inspires all-out dread.

It's kind of hard for me to understand. In full disclosure, I've always been a bit of a showboater. As a kid in 1st and 2nd grade I was the kid that was not only faster than you but to prove how much faster I was, I would turn front handsprings and run backwards while you were chasing me just to erase any doubt. As I grew older and played athletics, it morphed into an ability to be able to perform well under stress. It carried over into over activities involving presentations and public speeches. Sickly enough, I relished those times. It was, as in my athletic days, something I took on as a challenge to prove to myself and to those in attendance that I had what it took to perform under pressure.

Exposure is tricky and big media wields it like a weapon. But unwittingly, they have participated in their own undoing especially in the last few years coinciding with the rise of a relative unknown from a little town in Alaska. Sarah Palin burst onto the scene in 2008 at the Republican National Convention and, this is key, the MSM didn't know who she was. Oops! She wasn't even a bleep on their radar. Of the potential VP candidates, she wasn't anywhere the top of their list of those that would be chosen. And since they were, you know "the smartest people in the room", they surely had the inside track since that's their job and all.

They were caught with their proverbial pants down. So when she gave that speech and wowed all of us, of COURSE they had to marvel at it. They played nice at first because, well, to characterize her speech as anything short of brilliant would've been insane. It was there for all the world to see. She was fresh, beautiful, magnetic, commanding, passionate - AND a genuinely proud wife and mother. It was hard to get more Norman Rockwellian than that.

But that goodwill lasted about 12 hours, if that. Many began to descend upon Alaska to dig up what they could. The attacks came viciously...first target was her uterus, then her family, then her intellect - all in rapid succession. As she traveled the country with John McCain and energized the Republican base, the media scrutiny grew each day. Then the Katie Couric interview came and SNL was close to follow and before you knew it, a new caricature began to emerge, the not-so-flattering one that many people hold onto even to this day.

That caricature cemented itself after the VP campaign was over and she had to return to her duties as governor. The frivolous ethics charges ground her administration to a halt and as a result, decided to resign instead of spend her time and political capital fighting these complaints to the detriment of the people of Alaska. Add to this toxic cocktail was the shooting tragedy that unfolded in Tucson which claimed the lives of several people and very nearly a US Congresswoman. Who was to blame? Well Sarah Palin of course...because of a map her PAC used on a website preceding the 2010 midterms "targeting" strategic districts for the GOP to capture back from Democrats. There were several in the media who blamed Gov. Palin for what happened that day because her "violent" rhetoric was the reason for all of the vitriol in the political conversation and somehow motivated the actions of a murderer.

You can imagine that all of this would create a healthy sense of skepticism within her when it came to MSM coverage. And yet, this exposure to such hostility reinforced in her a valuable lesson. She learned that the best way to handle the MSM was to use her starpower against them by going straight to the people knowing they would be close behind following her every move. Her books and her recent One Nation Under God bus tour allowed her to get in front of normal, everyday people to talk to them without her words or persona being distorted. She even used the bus tour as a way to show the media she wasn't afraid of them by holding 17 off-the-cuff interviews. She spent enough time answering the media that some of them even ran out of questions to ask.

On the heels of all of this is the release of the 24,000 pages of e-mails during her time as governor which have been all too hastily poured into by big media and their hired help so desperate to find more fodder to spread to the masses. But all they've seemed to uncover is overwhelming evidence that she was a hardworking, fiercely loyal, tough, savvy chief executive that had total command of the issues facing the people of her state. None of this was a surprise to me or anyone else that have decided to throw our support behind Gov. Palin. It was a treat though to get to hear reporters say as much, perhaps surprised at what they found.

The same is occurring as The Undefeated is released nationwide as word spreads and demand dictates that more theaters buy rights to show it. It gets to the truth of who Sarah Palin is and what she stands for. It vehemently contradicts the slanderous, libelous, trashing of a rock-solid, honest, servant-hearted warrior. I, for one, can't wait to see it and will drag as many people as I can to see it with me - even people who are convinced she and Tina Fey are one and the same.


What an interesting piece of irony that the increased exposure of Sarah Palin during the last few months is creating momentum for her that defies the concerted smear campaign waged by the MSM, the very same MSM who's being exposed for forsaking among other things fundamental American decency.

Exposure is a double-edged sword, is it not?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cakes and Circuses

The Roman Empire was perhaps the greatest empire the world has ever seen. It doesn't take a trained eye to see how Roman civilization has impacted the world over and still does. You can see Ancient Rome's fingerprints all over our culture here in the States. Our very government and rule of law has its foundations in Rome - i.e. division of power between branches, election of representatives (Senators), the courts, passage of legislation, political campaigns, etc. We even imitate Roman architecture in our State and National seats of power (i.e. capitols).

The similarities with Rome don't end there. Our successes as empires have been unique in our respective human eras. Other empires before Rome paled in comparison in terms of power and size. For the last 234 years, there has been no other nation on the face of the Earth like the United States of America. Have you ever heard of people flocking to Europe to pursue "The European Dream"? And with that uniqueness comes a burden of a different sort. We, like the Romans, had to contend with rising powers from without regularly. Unfortunately for Rome and maybe our society as well, the Achilles heel lies within our borders. Rome's success and lust for power made it into a bloated, drunk animal vulnerable to a neighboring enemy desperate enough to topple it (Gauls). It became slovenly in large part because those at the top of the political food chain realized they could have all the power they wanted by simply giving the people enough "cakes and circuses" to keep them occupied, content with the way things were. Their plan worked to perfection but it paved the way for an unintended consequence - the fall of their beloved empire.

Fast forward a couple of millenia and we have, seemingly, the same thing playing out again in the US. As of right now, we are the world's lone superpower. We are the standard for what a functioning, democratic society looks like. Our soldiers have spilled blood for the cause of freedom the world over and has fought back against tyranny, oppression, fascism and terrorism. Our soldiers continue this effort to this very moment so we can enjoy the freedom and liberty our founders so wisely framed via the Constitution (
not too bad for a bunch of White guys eh Clare Shipman?) We would do well to mimic the resolve of our fighting forces to take on those within our society who wish to consolidate power for themselves to achieve their self-serving purposes. I believe there are influential, powerful people both in politics and the media that have an agenda that is destroying this country from the inside out. They, like their Roman predecessors, know that they can hold sway over the great unwashed masses with the modern-day version of cakes and circuses called entitlements and entertainment.

And it is this that could be our nation's undoing if we as citizens allow it to be. Our future is at stake because our economic situation is in dire condition. We are in the midst of a debt crisis with a President and a Democrat-controlled Senate at the controls who feel we need to spend more to right the ship - the very same side of the aisle who have made it their
mission to deride Paul Ryan for putting forth a serious plan to deal with our debt and excessive entitlement spending without coming up with a plan of their own. Couple that with the sensational nature of our media and it makes for a cocktail of destruction. Instead of holding our elected officials accountable for the fact that there are now 44 million (almost 1 in 6) Americans on food stamps, the MSM is spending countless hours diving through 24,000 pages of a certain non-elected citizen's e-mails.

There's nothing we can't do as Americans. We proved that time and time again. But if we think we can take our way of life for granted by choosing to focus on what fills our bellies and keeps us entertained, our fate will be no different from the Romans. Noted philosopher George Santayana stated, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
We must take seriously the responsibility that comes with the freedom we enjoy by being vigilant and understanding the part we play in ensuring that the America our children inherit is determined by what we do today.

Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
LinkMatt 4:4

Monday, June 6, 2011

Inspiration

It's a feeling that is hard to put into words - it's something you know more by feel than anything. When I see greatness, it creates a buzz within me that finds a way to bubble out. I can't sit still or stay quiet. I jump, yell or laugh until I make myself cry. Art and beauty inspires me more than anything I can think of. There's something about a one-of-a-kind performance delivered by some uniquely gifted talent that creates a sense of awe and wonder within me that inspires me to do the same.

I would consider myself a Sylvester Stallone fan. He has managed to create an incredible career by creating believable characters that are very human. They bleed, they hurt, they lose - but if you push them enough, they'll kick your ass. One of my favorite movie experiences was going to see Rocky IV as a preteen with some of my extended family - an uncle and a few of my cousins. The Rocky-Drago fight goes down for me as one of the best movie fights of all time. Sure the outcome was predictable, but the drama during the match was choreographed masterfully. By the end of the fight, me and my uncle and cousins were standing up with other people in the movie theater shadow-boxing as Rocky took it to Ivan Drago, the unbeatable, 'roided Russian. That moment had a magic to it that I'll never forget. Can you imagine if something like that happened during a movie today?

There is something about underdogs that Americans love. It speaks to us at a place deep within us. I think we can relate because we've all been there at one time or another. Each of us can probably recall a time in our lives, whether long ago or more recently, when the odds were not in our favor. That usually doesn't portend great and wonderful things for us but characters like Rocky give us hope that normal people like us, unremarkable in a lot of ways, can beat the odds and do what most people would consider impossible.

I have to say that watching Sarah Palin this last week has been a thing of beauty. She is a phenomenon in the most literal sense, effectively dragging the media along for the ride of a lifetime armed with her beautiful family, charisma, wit and yes, her smarts. What she's doing is very unconventional - waging a multi-front war campaign against the media machine that was caught unaware back in 2008 and has been trying to play catch-up by smearing her good name and record ever since. One front, the obvious one, is the bus tour. She's dictated the terms of engagement by not telegraphing to the media her every move. They've had to play along and oddly enough have seemingly found a new level of respect for her. Sure they've whined and complained a bit and at times have resorted to their old bag of tricks but overall have treated her with more fairness lately than at anytime since the 2008 campaign.

The second front of this kinetic military action would be the upcoming full-length feature helmed by Stephen Bannon called "The Undefeated". Mr. Bannon himself, a former Goldman-Sachs lawyer turned filmmaker, decided to finance the project out of his own pocket after meeting Gov. Palin and learning about her story. Preliminary screenings have revealed this piece of filmmaking to be a potential game-changer for Gov. Palin's presidential ambitions as it effectively presents her as a person and as a public servant from those who have served with her and have seen the effects of her principled leadership firsthand. It tells her remarkable journey from PTO board member, to city council, to mayor, to governor and finally to Vice Presidential nominee as well as the obstacles she faced at every stop along the way.

Things seem to be lining up nicely for our modern-day Rocky. She's waging a very effective campaign to wrestle the narrative back from the media who have tried mightily to delegitimize her from the start. My sense is that she sees her momentum gathering against the backdrop of a grossly incompetent President whose policies have done nothing but create 9+% unemployment, a looming double-dip recession, a record-setting run of declining home values, record levels of debt, gas nearing $4/gallon and a precipitous erosion of credibility within the rest of the world. Oh he's had help and I'm not talking about GW43. The assist goes to the MSM who through their soft bigotry of low expectations has literally pushed open the door of the Oval Office to a gross incompetent - a person that has no business occupying the office in which he sits.

What awaits for him in a few months is a challenger that in stark contrast is worthy of the office of President, who has paid a price few, if any, has politically. She has defied the odds and has seen her share of battles. She's been hurt, she's been bloodied, she's even been left for dead. And yet the courage of her conviction gives her steady legs and an unbowed heart. Her unlikely story will inspire many millions of people all over again to support her in her path to the Presidency.

My apologies to Rocky Balboa but there's another underdog who has captured my imagination. I'm thinking she's going to be creating some magic of her own between now and January 2013.