Archive for 2009

Meeting Sarah Palin

Posted by Doug White under Personal, Political

I have been an admirer of Sarah Palin’s since last year when she gave John McCain’s campaign the only real boost it really had. Like most people, I had no idea who she was when he announced her as a VP candidate but the more I read, the more I liked. Conservatively, she shares many principles that I do; I was intrigued by her popularity in Alaska and how well she had done as both Mayor and Governor. Lastly, her family life was familiar to me. I have a sister who juggles a career that is more of a calling to her than a job and she does this while trying to raise three children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome.

It probably comes as no surprise then, that when I found out she would be traveling to the town I live in for a signing of her book Going Rogue, I wanted to go meet her. However, there was one small thing that was hindering me in this regard. I live in South Dakota, I was going to have to stand in line overnight to get access to the signing and it was going to be cold.

I don’t do well when it comes to the cold, which is probably a surprise since I live in a state that is cold a lot! But I didn’t relish the idea of standing in line overnight so I had decided to pass on the event. That was until I made a passing reference to a friend of mine – in jest – about going and he seemed keen on the idea. Now I apparently was committed!

We had decided we might go down to Sioux City, IA instead which isn’t far from us and was a place where Governor Palin was going to be first on that day. I was resting up the afternoon before when I got a call from my friend. He was feeling under the weather and didn’t want to risk getting worse by being in the cold all night. I was apparently not committed anymore…

Or was I? Now that I had the idea in my brain, I couldn’t get it out. I wanted to go, but I didn’t want to. I was sure I could not handle 9-10 hours overnight in temperatures getting very close to zero, but a part of me wondered about missing out on something I wouldn’t be able to do again.

The part of me that likes sleep and warmth more than adventure won out and I went to bed. But I set my alarm for 5 AM because I wanted to see if it would be possible to still get up there and get a wristband for the signing.

When 5 AM rolled around, I checked Twitter and found out from a local contact that there was roughly around 100 people there but the line was growing. “Certainly I can handle a couple hours in the cold!” I thought to myself as I quickly threw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and began to bundle up.

Fifteen minutes later, I was on my way and by 5:30 AM I was in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. There were probably about 200 or so people there by now and I walked to the end of the line. I was pretty bundled up, so was secretly amused when a young girl I know – who had been there all night – came over to me and handed me a blanket.

“What are you going to use?” I asked this young lady. “I’ve got 4 more!” was her enthusiastic reply. I took the blanket more to make her happy then anything. She smiled, snapped a quick shot of me, looking ridiculous wrapped in a blanket with cute little bears on it, muttered something about Facebook and before I could get clarification she was running back to her spot in line.

It didn’t take long before I thanked God that she had brought this blanket too me. I’ve been in the cold before but there seems to be something different about just standing in the cold. Within 30 minutes, I was fairly sure I was going to die. I had visions of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi walking past my frozen body with mockingly scornful looks on their faces.

During this time, I began to talk with some of the people nearby me. I’m not an overly chatty person, but it was interesting how in a situation like that how you tend to bond with people that are going through it with you. I met a man who is a financial advisor that talked a little politics with me and indicated that he hoped Sarah Palin realized that for all of us doing this, she better by goodness become President someday. Another lady was a gym teacher. Then there was a lady who had met Sarah Palin during the campaign and had talked her husband into bringing her out here for this. He stayed in the car, but periodically he would come and trade places with her so she could warm up.

Finally, we got the word that they were handing out the wristbands and the line started moving. Amazingly, that’s when I seemed to suffer the worst, not sure if it was from anticipation of it finally being over or not. But within another hour I reached the front of the line, a wristband was placed on my wrist and I was told I was in group C and had to be back that night at 4 pm. But they also told me to dress warm as we’d be waiting outside.

THAT I hadn’t anticipated. I didn’t realize they were going to make us stand outside again! I stumbled toward my car, turned up the heat and headed home. When I got home, I spent the remainder of the day thawing out and resting up for doing it all over again.

I gave my parents a call and told them I would be able to get in to see Sarah Palin tonight and my mom was both excited and jealous. She’s also a very big Palin fan, maybe even more than I am, so I told her I’d get a book for her and get it signed as well. At that moment, I believe I elevated into “super-Son” status, a rare achievement that only 4.62% of the male population accomplishes in their lifetime.

Finally, after a few hours of hot chocolate and time under several warm blankets I was ready to go once again. I grabbed the largest cup of hot chocolate they had at Barnes & Noble and walked over to where the line that was forming for my group.

Fortunately the weather wasn’t too bad and we didn’t actually have to stay out there for too long. The staff closed the store early and within an hour had brought in groups A-C and we lined up within the different book aisles. I sat down in the midst of several books on cooking and wines and relaxed.

Interestingly enough, I met some people with intriguing stories as well. One woman sitting beside me knew a young neighbor girl with the same name as the Governor but it was spelled Palen. Another younger lady was documenting this whole day or so for her husband who was in California. He is also a big admirer of Sarah Palin and she was giving him this book and her “documentary” as a Christmas gift.

In addition to those individuals, right before we had come inside I had an opportunity to meet a young woman I had spoken with only via Twitter before. She is a news reporter for a local online newspaper whose focus is primarily for young adults. She had spent the entire night out here, not as a Palin fan, or a detractor, but because her journalistic instincts compelled her to. She wrote a news article about it, that I think puts most national media and their journalism insights to shame. (http://tinyurl.com/PalinInSF).

After about an hour there was a large commotion towards one end of Barnes & Noble and word traveled that Sarah Palin was here. That was surprising because she was an hour early and I had heard she’d been two hours late in Sioux City! But it was a pleasant surprise, and within short order we were moving our way towards her to get our book signed.

As we moved steadily along, I suddenly found myself face to face with a very friendly older lady who shook my hand introducing herself as Sarah’s aunt. She thanked each and every person in line for coming to this signing. I smiled at this as she came across so friendly and pleasant.

I also could see Todd Palin and their young son milling about the place. Todd was talking with people, but his main focus was on that little baby of theirs who wasn’t so little anymore and seemed to move all over Todd’s arms as if he wanted to get down and have free run of the place. Memories surged in my mind of my own little nephew who shared something in common with this little tyke.

Finally, it came time to meet Sarah. When I got to her, she grabbed my hand and asked me my name. I told her and then told her how jealous my mother was of me right now as she would have loved to be here. With that well-known way she has of speaking, she said, “Well, tell her I said hi, will ya?”

With that, my book had been signed and I was on my way. Or so I thought. A familiar older man stood nearby, shaking hands. It turned out to be Sarah’s Dad and beside him was her Mom also shaking hands. Her Dad seemed quite taken with a fleece overcoat I was wearing – as it is very red, very white and very blue and very US Marine Corps. I told him my wife made it and he asked me if I was a vet. When I told him yes, he handed me a button with a picture of Sarah and a website for veterans who support her.

Finally, I was on my way for real. Looking back at the day overall, I came to the conclusion that while meeting Sarah Palin was nice-however short-and getting the book signed was great, it wasn’t really about meeting Sarah Palin. My day was a positive one because I was able to meet some fascinating people who were meeting Sarah Palin. And I met her family, who are obviously very close and care for each other dearly. The inspiration she brings to people is real and contagious and I was glad to be a part of it.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 12/08/2009.

Twelve Days Of Hope

Posted by Doug White under Political

Although I am not a supporter of President Obama or many of his political beliefs and principles, I have repeatedly tried to keep an open mind about him.  I was intrigued by his campaign last year and how he managed to best a woman, who by all intents and purposes should have been the Democratic nominee for President.  For years, Hillary Clinton, seemed to be the “nominee” by default for the Democratic party and here comes this young man out of nowhere to pull her from the top of that particular ladder and take her place.

I watched with a little trepidation as the media seemed to ignore things that they used to salivate for in regards to any politician, Democratic or Republican. His ties with Acorn, his relationship with Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright-all seemed at least worthy of some consideration and news organizations over and over tended to dismiss them as irrelevant but would spend enormous amount of time on the fact that Sarah Palin may have acted improperly in regards to a loser ex-brother-in-law who may have threatened her family.

Then he got elected.  Well, it was probably inevitable, many were upset by the Bush years and many were ready for the opportunity to elect the first African-American President. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In some ways, I saw it as another step in what Abraham Lincoln started so many years ago.

Then just weeks after he was elected, a school in New York renames itself after Barack Obama. Huh?  I thought this was very premature.   (http://tinyurl.com/SchoolRenamed)

Then he takes office.  I watch over and over as people seem to be so enamored with this man, that absolutely nothing he does penetrates through. 

He signs a stimulus bill that no one reads and that allows for executives to get bonuses, that he and the ones who wrote the bill then chastise them for taking. 

He puts a man in charge of our treasury who cheated on his taxes.

Then he travels across the world calling us “dismissive” and “derisive”. 

The organization he worked with for years is seen on video in numerous cities offering illegal advice to people.  This after they were already being looked at for voter fraud.

And then finally all these czars.  He puts one man into power who is a self-proclaimed communist, one who wants to allow forced sterilization, another who wants to allow animals to sue people.  But the scariest one of all is a man appointed to keep our schools safe is one who counsels young kids to wear condoms when having sex with adults, writes a forward for a book on the “queering of America” and looks to a man as a source of inspiration who associated himself with one of the most disgusting vile groups I’ve ever heard of (Nambla).

All of this happens and almost none of it is looked at with any great scrutiny by the media or by many people. It’s surprising when that much controversy can exist around someone and it seems as almost no one cares.  But I thought that maybe it was just this country and the gushing admiration that so many people seem to have for this man.

And then here comes the Nobel Peace prize.  Suddenly it occurs to me that people across the whole planet have this unbelievable fascination with this man.   How in the world did President Obama win an award for peace with his accomplishments of just 12 days?  From what I can tell they gave him this award for the “hope” he brings to the table with his talks and plans for the future.

I don’t really know what to think. There is a part of me that does think that this is good for our country.  But there is another part of me that just is very perplexed by why people fawn over this man with an obsession that is borderline cult-like?

I always think we should respect and honor our President.  But it should be done with objectivity.  Which it seems fewer and fewer people have anymore in regards to this particular President.  In twelve days, we gave this man an honor that he obviously didn’t earn.  I’m concerned about what are we willing to do next?

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old TownHall account on 10/11/2009.

There are a lot of times that I have written these hubs and exclaimed my discomfort or frustration with the liberal mentality or more specifically, our current Commander-In-Chief. When they are – in my opinion – wrong, I feel like I should say something. But today, I think we may have to step back just a bit and re-analyze our latest protest against President Obama and see if maybe we didn’t jump the gun.

Today, President Obama spoke to school-age children across the country. When this was announced last week, people around the country got very concerned – and in my mind – understandably so. We had no information on what he was speaking about and the only information we had was from the Department of Education website which had documents that contained questions they wanted the schools to ask the children. Questions such as “What should you do to help the President?” are very disconcerting to see being asked of someone who is 5 years of age.

We already have numerous reports of school systems that are teaching kids at a young age that homosexuality is normal (when many still believe it isn’t) and global warming is a reality (when many scientists argue against it) and so on. We even have the United Nations telling us they recommend that kids as young as FIVE should be taught about masturbation. It’s easy to get concerned when a philosophy is placed before kids because that philosophy was not convincing to the adults. It’s easy to be concerned that this might be a form of indoctrination.

I know an individual who is very, very liberal in his beliefs. I do not hate this person. In fact, I enjoy his company quite a bit. He’s highly amusing and very enjoyable to be around. We even share a few of the same interests. But his philosophical beliefs literally “freak me out”. Because of this, there is no way I would ever allow this person to instruct my children – in any context.

President Obama has some very radical beliefs. Yes, he is the President, but his beliefs are probably as radical and extreme as any President we’ve ever had. It was not hard to think that the speech might be one that is simply not appropriate to be given to children. Especially after I read the questions in the documents on that website and saw what they wanted to ask the kids.

Because of that, I made the request that my children be excused from this speech. I did this before the holiday weekend and before any content of the speech was made public. I did this based only on the information I had.

The questions being asked of the kids were modified after concern about this speech became public. And then the speech was made public as well. I read it and it was not a bad speech. In fact, it probably was a very – shall I say – conservative speech. He discussed how not every kid is going to make millions of dollars being a rapper or by being in some other celebrity career and that it is up to them to study hard, apply themselves and do everything they can to be the best they can be.

That’s not a bad speech for a President – any President – to give. And with the change in the questions, I might have been willing to allow my kids to hear it – but by the time I found out enough information about the speech it was really too late. Did my kids miss out? Probably. Would less people have been concerned if we would have just been told what he was planning to say? Definitely. Did the speech change because of the concern – as did the questions? Maybe, but that’s not a bad thing if it did.

For those who mocked those of us who were concerned and requested our kids be excused, it truly is none of your concern. Those of you who even went so far as to suggest we don’t have the right to parent our own kids if we pull them out, really ought to be ashamed. I do not begrudge ANYONE who decides that something is not acceptable for their kids, even if I totally disagree.

Parenting is a tough job, and there are so many belief-sets out there that contradict others that it is extremely difficult at times to raise your children the way you think is best. Even within my own religious denomination, it can be tough to weed through to the proper spiritual mindset and get past the extremists who seem to want to shove their opinion in your face. For someone else who disagrees with you to comment that because of that disagreement you shouldn’t be a parent is a very dangerous mentality to start having in this country.

That being said, I think that in situations such as what happened with the President today, that if his subordinates could be more forthcoming with their information and if those of us who typically disagree with him could keep a more open mind that everyone will ultimately be the better for it.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 9/08/2009.