Friday, September 2, 2011

Frank Bailey vs Sarah Palin

… Frank Bailey, Blind Allegiance to Sarah. Nashville: Howard Division of Simon & Schuster, 2011.

The author takes an interesting journey of introspection that reveals more than a little insight into the author himself. He reveal a very religious (Protestant Christian) and idealistic (naïve) young man wanting to make a difference (good), but thinking he can do it through political strategies (mostly naïve and not so good).

I had a hard time putting the book down, and by the time I finished reading it, I had a thorough appreciation for the fact that three authors collaborated the effort rather than one single disgruntled opinionater venting it. I felt that I had a comprehensive and accurate assessment rather than a one-track opinion.

Bailey’s journey shows how the political system becomes a fiery furnace that will break, bend, burn, or someway compromise participants (both staff personnel and candidates) before it will allow the system to be changed. He offers insight, intentionally or otherwise, on how participants gradually succumb to the tidal rip currents and get pulled down into the depths of party participation.

He reveals participants playing the system for self-gratification. If one wants to see it, the workings of the human mind are shown at play, and one can see people finding either a path for themselves or Robert Frost’s road less taken. I found this challenging.

The Alaskan data and background showed just about what I expected to find in that frontier-minded setting; interesting and inviting … exciting … often beautiful … some parts less than flattering. It is a culture of its own where people are individualistic and do not understand or appreciate the more populous and urbanized social development of the Coastal States and the northeast.. I could just as well have been back in the West Texas of the 1950s, or other western states where they still have a less-urbanized and more pioneer mindset with romanticized cowboys and Indians, and raw individualism.

I selected the book out of curiosity about Sarah Palin, not one of my favorite people … wondering just what kind of dirt Bailey would expose under her rug (authors oft times reveal as much about themselves inadvertently as they do about the character they are exposing). I was not disappointed; but, I was more than disappointed.

Bailey tells a story that is as much his story as Palin’s story. His innocence and naivety show through but he does not hide his slide into failure and ultimate betrayal of himself and his ideals (Never sell your soul to any person!). He attempts to be honest in his self-revealing. He reveals a surprise climax that may, or may not reflect Divine approval (according to one’s views). It does, however, make for a good journalistic tool that adds a “feel good” touch to having read the book.

How did Bailey influence my views regarding Sarah Palin?
1. Whereas I once regarded her as an undesirable presidential candidate, I no longer regard her as a potential threat.
2. The book reinforced a few negative views of her, but in the main, it neutralized any negative feelings and left me passively viewing her as non-threatening.
3. I saw how cruel and destructive public office and media attention can be to a candidate, and a candidate’s family. That was vigorouly reinforced, I should say, and I responded with compassion for her children--parental victims of both the political system and the public media.
4. Having said that, I saw a family exposed and left naked in the public eye. I viewed that exposure as unflattering rather than pleasing. They became human beings, having all the warts and flaws of a human family--sometimes “unpretty”. I saw very little I would support in a political candidate; I saw aspects that could draw negative feelings;mostly, I saw a person exposed for whom I felt compassion.

I saw a very attractive person to look at from an external viewpoint. However, I saw someone like Baltasar Gracian described long ago as “all front, like houses having the entrances of a palace but the contents of a hut.” Sadly, I saw a person wanting perceived changes, but I also saw a person wanting ... needing, public adulation. I saw an individual who, contrary to her faith journey, does not have her internal issues in order and under control ... a person I recognized as having too many unresolved personal issues to be of immediate service ... a person too swept up in the heady atmosphere of wealthy celebrity living to ever again be valued as a public servant for the common good.

Before reading the book, I was inclined to argue with Sarah's views. Having read the book, I am more inclined to pray that she rediscover those original values she once wanted to share. From Warner’s World, I am

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