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.