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Archive for January 3rd, 2011

Sarah Palin’s America By Heart: A Primer for Commonsense Constitutional Conservatism

Posted by Shane Vander Hart on January 3, 2011

imageI purchased Sarah Palin’s second book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, when it was first released.  I attended the book signing in West Des Moines, IA the following weekend.  I ended up not getting the same book back that I came with, so my apologies to the person who got my book with the first four chapters having bracket symbols and sentences underlined.

I’ve finished with the book rather quickly, but due to time constraints I haven’t been able to sit down to write out my thoughts about the book.  For starters this book should satisfy the critics who said Going Rogue: An American Life didn’t touch on her positions and policies enough.  While America By Heart is not a wonkish book it does lay out a framework for what “commonsense constitutional conservatism” (a term she used at the end of Going Rogue).  She offers a quick synopsis in the introduction of the book:

What I’ve come to realize is that, as a country, our true north is the values and principles on which we were founded – those values that are under attack today.  When times are uncertain – when we’re worried about the direction our country is headed in, as we are today – we can always turn to these fundamental principles.  Truth be told, they’re old ideas, not just the notion that our government should be limited, but also that all men and women are created equal before the law; that life is sacred; and that God is the source of our rights, not government, (pg. xvii-xviii).

She fleshes that out throughout the book.  In the first chapter of the book, “We The People,” as an Iowan I read with interest her thoughts on judicial activism.

The Supreme Court, along with the rest of the federal judiciary, has tremendous power over our lives today.  Their rulings mean the difference between free political speech and censored political speech, property rights that are protected by government and property rights that are routinely violated by government, and the survival of innocent life and the state-sanctioned killing of innocent life.  The reason this is the case is because so many of the people who appoint and approve our judges and justices erroneously believe the courts’ duty isn’t to interpret the law but to make the law.  In cases where their agenda can’t prevail among the people’s representatives in Congress, they have turned to the courts to make policy.  That means having judges and justices no longer guided by the Constitution and the law, but by their personal opinions.  President Obama himself has said that, in the really difficult, consequential cases, justices shouldn’t go with the law but with their hearts.  “That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy,” the president said.

But if you look at the oath of office that every Supreme Court justice takes, you see that it commits them to a very different standard.  They pledge not to pick winners and losers based on their hearts or their “empathy,” but to impartially apply the Constitution and the law, (pg. 15).

She emphasized the fact that our rights, our inalienable rights that are given by God, are sacred and that “government can’t legitimately violate them or add to them,” (pg. 20).  She discussed in the context of of the health care debate where Congress tried manufacture a new “right” which is something they clearly can not and should not do.

She also states clearly and believes unlike our current President, that America is indeed an exceptional country.  “We are the only country in the history of the world that was founded not on a particular territory or culture or people, but on an idea.  That ides is that all human beings have a God-given right to be free,” (pg. 37).  She says that we should be able to talk about America that demonstrates our pride in her greatness, but also recognizes her faults, (pg. 63).  We should be able to see that America has largely been a force for good in the world, (pg. 67).  She notes that one of the keys to American exceptionalism is the 10th Amendment. 

The federal government’s powers are limited to those listed in the Constitution.  Everything else belongs to the states and the people.  We give you the power; you don’t give us the power.  We are sovereign, (pg. 72).

She notes the Constitution’s relationship to the family:

What the Founders focused their energy on, then wasn’t a government that sought to control or shape families, but a government that could capitalize on the virtues of trust and self-restraint that families create – a government that could respect and honor good citizens by allowing them to live and prosper in freedom.  The Constitution’s relationship to the family, then, was meant to be reciprocal: to depend upon the virtues of family life  to make its system of government work, while protecting the freedom of families to create self-governing citizens, (pg. 112).

Making her case before she quotes John Adams who wrote, “the foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.”  He later wrote… “public virtue is the only Foundation of the Republics.  There must be a positive Passion for the public good, the public interest, Honor, Power and Glory, established in the Mind of the People, or there can be no Republican Government, nor any real Liberty.”

The founding fathers didn’t address families much only that it was assumed on their part, Palin notes, “that a republic relies on informed and virtuous citizens, and that informed and virtuous citizens are created in turn by strong families,” (pg. 109).  She then goes on to say that our leadership in Washington, “have completely abandoned the idea of a government that relies on strong families at the same that it respects the liberty and rights of these families,” (pg. 113).  She notes later on how this is played out on how families are defined:

The left wants us to believe that any grouping we choose to call a family is worthy of the name, that it doesn’t matter if children are raised by two loving parents or are shipped off to virtual full-time day care, and that divorce has no effect on children’s quality of life.  But we now know that commonsense objections to these radical ideas are not based on close-minded prejudice.  When it comes to raising good citizens, all “lifestyle choices” are not equal, (pg. 117)….

…What’s more, liberals often seek to blur the distinctions between our own and other people’s children.  I have heard liberals claim that we “have to start thinking and believing that there isn’t any such thing as someone else’s child.” But this is madness.  How can we know what it means to care about any children until we first fulfill our obligations to our own?  To be responsible to “all children” is to be responsible for none; instead, it is to call for the creation of a suffocating state that erases all freedom and human attachment in the name of caring for “the children,” (pg. 124).

She addresses “Mama Grizzlies” – conservative females leaders who are working to redefine (actually remind) what feminism represents.

Some people are calling the emergences of these successful conservative females a new phenomenon in America – as if we’d just invented smart, capable women who also believe in the Constitution, the sanctity of life, and American exceptionalism.   Truth is, mama grizzlies have been with us for a long time.  These are the same women who settled the frontier, drove the wagons, ploughed the fields, ran cattle, taught their kids, raised their families – and fought for women’s rights.  These women are like America itself: strong and self-sufficient.  Not bound by what society says they should do and be, but determined to create their own destinies, (pg. 129).

She notes that today’s feminists’ idea of what a “real” woman should be “isn’t so much a woman as a liberal,” (pg. 135).  “In the name of liberating women, modern feminism has wrapped us in a one-size-fits-all strait-jacket of political correctness.”  She notes that modern feminism has in reality given women victimhood status (which isn’t empowering) and paint men as being brutes.  Looking at the early suffragists Palin writes:

These courageous women spoke of our God-given rights because they believed they were given equally, by God, to men and women.  They didn’t believe that men were oppressors, women were victims, and unborn children merely “personal choices.”  They believed that we were children of God, and, as such, we were all – men, women, our littlest sisters in the womb, everyone – entitled to love and respect, (pg. 141).

Noting how America has shifted to a majority being “pro-life” she writes:

Despite the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling, American women and men haven’t been able to get over the stirrings of their consciences or move on from an issue that cuts to the heart of who we are as a people.  Affirming the dignity and worth of every innocent human life and defending the defenseless are fundamental American values, (pg. 150-151).

…In sharp contrast to (Margaret) Sanger and her present-day admirers, the pro-life movement is strongly pro-women, and pro-woman Americans are increasingly pro-life.  These women and men of conscience are the rightful heirs to the foremothers who fought for our rights at the turn of the last century.  These warrior souls show their dedication not only to women, but the weakest among us: those with special needs, women without anyone to turn to, and children without a voice.  They run the pregnancy resource centers, the counseling hotlines, the foster care facilities, the adoptions services, and countless other outreach programs that offer compassionate assistance and friendship to women who are struggling, (pg. 157).

She discusses “digging deep,” working hard – “nothing worthwhile comes without effort,” (pg. 161).  She notes that this work ethic is one of the things that made America great.  With the next generation she is concerned about this value not being passed down.

Sometimes I think we try too hard with kids these days to substitute this inner strength with empty praise.  Everyone’s into building their kids’ self-esteem by telling them they’re all “winners,” assuring them that every scribbled picture is a work of art and every chaotic soccer game is a triumph.  I understand the good intentions behind this, but I also worry that we’re not giving our kids the chance to discover what they’re made of.  Kids know the difference between real praise and empty praise.  When we don’t let them fail, when we tell them every average effort is superlative, we’re keeping them from discovering that hidden strength.  We may think we’re helping them, but really we’re holding them back.

In fact, we may be creating a generation of entitled little whiners, (pg. 165-166).

This entitlement culture, in my estimation, has been growing for quite some time and has led to a larger welfare mentality and the belief that government is there to take care of us.  Palin notes, “Everything that is worthwhile comes through effort.  There is no free lunch.  Anybody who tries to tell you otherwise is selling something – usually something paid for by your tax dollars,” (pg. 179).

Regarding the role of faith in public life she notes:

…the faith of our Founding Fathers shaped our nation in critical ways.  They created a country that, in George Washington’s words, relies on faith as an “indispensible support.”  They explicitly disavowed government establishment any particular religion, but they unmistakably relied on religion to produce the kinds of citizens that could live successfully in a state of political freedom.  And this, I firmly believe, is one of the things that has always made us an exceptional nation, (pg. 183).

She says also that there is no government of man that can claim to represent the word of God.  Also no government in the United States can compel its citizens to respect such a claim, (pg. 203).  One the other hand she notes that any type of public religious expression is under attack.

Today’s secular elites don’t agree with appeals to religion because they generally don’t support the reasons for these appeals.  Americans typically invoke faith in the public debate to support the sanctity of life, the preservation of marriage, and the nature of our freedom.  Many liberals don’t support these things, so they regard bringing faith into the argument as somehow unfair or intolerant – or just beside the point.  Of course, they’re happy to talk the God talk (if not walk the God walk) when it’s for a cause they believe in, (pg. 216). (giving examples of Nancy Pelosi & John Kerry)

…The question for so-called progressives, then, is: Which is it?  Is it enlightened to talk about religion in the pursuit of liberal causes but constitutionally suspect when traditional American values are being defended.  The fact is that religious faith has been invoked in every American movement of conscience, from the abolition of slavery to the prohibition of alcohol to the civil rights movement.  Why is bringing faith into the argument good for thee, but not for me?

I have not been able to hit on every topic covered in this book in one blog post.  She sums up in the conclusion what she discussed throughout the book –commonsense constitutional conservatism.  She notes that Americans of all stripes “are awakening to two firm sources of unity: our founding Characters of Liberty, and the virtues necessary to live up to them.”

Maintaining a healthy republic requires a populace that adheres to those old-fashioned values of hard work, honesty, integrity, thrift, and courage.  It is entirely right for us as a society to discuss the best way to foster those values.  And after a half century of liberal social experimentation, we know what does this.  It’s family (when we talk about limited government, it means the state knows better than the feds, the city knows better than the state, and the family knows better than the city).  It’s faith (be it through religion or the moral values transmitted in our secular culture).  And it’s flag (the understanding that we are an exceptional nation with an exceptional message for the world), (pg. 268).

She notes that “commonsense constitutional conservatism is about rediscovering our founding ideals and striving to be a nation that does justice to them,” (pg. 169). 

The book doesn’t answer every question that the electorate will likely want answered if she decides to run in 2012, and it certainly won’t convert those suffering from PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome).  However, if you want to gain a better understanding of Sarah Palin’s core values and principles then America By Heart delivers.   What America By Heart does provide is a vision for “commonsense constitutional conservatism,” matter of fact you can consider it a primer.

Shane Vander Hart is the editor of Caffeinated Thoughts and Caffeinated Theology.  Feel free to friend him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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Unmasking the Left’s Hatred for Governor Palin

Posted by Adrienne Ross on January 3, 2011

By Adrienne Ross – http://www.motivationtruth.com

This is really too good to excerpt, but since I must, I implore you to read the full article. “Top 10 Reasons to Hate Sarah Palin” really does break down the unfortunate truth of why Palin Derangement Syndrome is so vile, why some don’t just disagree with her but vehemently hate her. I will share a few of these reasons with you, but click to read them all.

Megan Fox writes:

10. She’s Prettier Than You (and She Couldn’t Care Less)

“Caribou Barbie,” they sneered while insinuating anyone as attractive as Palin couldn’t possibly house a brain behind that stunning face. And she is stunning. Palin is one of those beautiful women for whom doors open, heads turn and lesser beauties fade. She’s one of those girls I imagine had a hard time keeping girlfriends if any were too self-conscious to be lost behind the radiance that is Sarah.

And yet, she is the most unassuming beauty queen I ever saw. How many women on TV can you name who would be caught dead in waders (giant rubber pants with suspenders that make even a taut size 4 look like she weighs 200lbs) and slugging giant halibut with a billy club? And yet, there she is on her show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, without a stitch of makeup, hair a mess, up to her elbows in fish guts (having a marvelous time) and still managing to look better than most Cover Girls. It must really burn Maureen Dowd that on her best day (with professional makeup artists) she can’t hold a candle to Sarah Palin working a slime line.

[…]

Of course, Palin doesn’t care about any of this and would probably not approve of my bringing it up, but I can’t help myself. Much of the hatred from the Left (especially from the women) stems from this type of petty jealousy.

[…]

It might also have to do with the optimistic, baby-loving, country-loving, family-centered outlook conservative women embrace. It’s better for your pores to have a spirit of love.

Ms. Fox certainly didn’t surprise us with her number 10. The fact that jealousy drives much of the irrational disdain for Governor Palin is not lost on anyone.

This next one really bugs the haters:

6. She Hunts

All leftists hate hunters. It always cracks me up that during the presidential election cycles we will invariably be bombarded with hilarious photos of the limp-wristed leftist candidate trying to carry a gun on some pheasant hunt while appearing cool. Nine times out of ten, he’s carrying it wrong or struggling under the weight of the unwieldy thing he’s never before touched, let alone fired. The reason they do this is not because they’ve discovered a love for hunting but because the majority of Americans believe in hunter’s rights and either are or are married to, or have family members who are hunters! During an election, progressives must lie and try to pretend to be like most Americans when in reality, they are anything but!

They usually out themselves like Obama and his famous “bitter clingers” line,

[T]hey get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment

They just don’t understand why anyone would rather fill their freezer with totally organic meat they tracked, shot, skinned and butchered themselves instead of paying twice as much for worse quality at Whole Foods. And, like Kate Goesslin, they can’t figure out why anyone would want to slog through the cold, rain and mud when there are hotels with restaurants where food magically appears in front of you. They just have no concept of the pioneer spirit, they are so removed from it with hands freshly exfoliated and moisturized with something that cost more than most American’s weekly grocery budgets. So it’s no mystery when Sarah shows us how she stocks her freezer for the low cost of a few bullets and some serious hiking, the Left recoils in horror. Self-sufficiency isn’t on the menu of totalitarian regimes. The little people must be made to rely on the government for their very existence. Those who don’t are a threat to the power structure.

The following reason they hate Governor Palin especially troubles and saddens me. I wish it weren’t true, but indeed it is. I’ve seen enough of the jokes about Trig, the horrible things written and spoken about her not “choosing” to terminate him within the womb, the heart-wrenching statistic that 90% of babies with Down Syndrome in this country are aborted. Her stand for life annoys the snot out of many. The fact that she’s not a hypocrite but walked the walk when reality came knocking at her door, causes them to despise her. I don’t believe in condemning those who have made horrible mistakes in the past, including having an abortion. I believe God offers miraculous forgiveness to those who have done so. His grace, mercy, and love are amazing–and His desire is to bring healing and restoration to those who will confess their sins. However, some so-called feminists feel like Governor Palin owes the world an apology because she did not have an abortion, but chose to embrace Trig. That mindset is sick, for lack of a more fitting word.

5. She’s Pro-Life and Lives It

Of all the reasons to hate Sarah Palin (if you’re a moonbat) this is the one they won’t say out loud but believe me, it’s at the top of the list. In the leftist manual, a woman should never even consider keeping a disabled child. And if she actually does it, she is regarded as a freak. Someone who has no consideration for the groaning planet, heavy with the weight of too many people. A leftist believes even healthy babies should be pruned for the good of the species, so you can imagine their outrage at a person who willingly brings a child into the world who is less than perfect to consume more precious resources.

This may be the most disgusting of all leftist beliefs. The absolute arrogance of the Left is astounding. They believe they can be the arbiters of life and death, that only they know what is best for all of us and the planet and the universe for that matter. How would we survive without them telling us what to do? It’s a mystery.

It pierces their souls (if they have souls) when a woman such as Sarah makes a choice for life because they don’t have the moral character to make the same choice. Their guilty conscience makes them hate anyone who has more compassion than they. Progressives love to talk about compassion but their words never require them to actually be compassionate. When someone else lives in a compassionate way (and isn’t ideologically copacetic) it sears what is left of the conscience inside a leftist. It reminds them who they really are; people who advocate for the killing of the most helpless among us. (Death-loving tyrannical eugenicists.)

I love this next one, and how true it is that no matter what happens, Governor Palin emerges smiling, happy, and unmoved.

4. You Can’t Rattle Her

Despite the attacks, which unarguably have been the worst and most vicious in history, Sarah is still standing, never once bowing her head in defeat. Not only is she still standing, she ridicules and tweaks the Left regularly. They hate this.

I believe what Megan Fox listed as number 2 is really number 1, for there really is but one main reason Governor Palin is so despised. We saw it during the campaign and we still see it now. It’s a spiritual battle.

2. She Loves Jesus

Everybody knows the Left only proclaims to love Jesus during elections. If anyone should mention Jesus’ name at any other time of the year they must be some sort of fundamentalist FREAK. Sarah has never been ashamed of her faith and is willing to admit she prays for guidance. This makes her a major target. A “bitter clinger,” if you will. One of those psychos who believes a man once walked on water.

[…]

The problem is, most people in this country identify as Christians and we know we’re not crazy and so by default we know she’s not crazy either. This makes the left hate her and us more than ever.

Access the full article by going here.

Governor Palin represents everything the Left ought to love but utterly hates instead, perhaps because for her it’s real not just ideology–all of it: her love for God, her belief in the power of women, her strength and work ethic, her beautiful inner spirit that manifests on the outside. This has garnered her the diabolical vitriol of the Left. But while they hate her, so many Americans love her for what she stands for because when we see the values she embraces, we see ourselves. And as we see ourselves in her, we see every attack against her as an attack against us, and we fight back.

Governor Palin has what it takes to lead this country. And for every reason Leftists hate her, God-fearing, freedom-loving, common sense Americans have at least ten reasons we love her and would be thrilled to call her President, if she decides to take that step we’re all hoping she takes.

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