Sarah Palin’s recent speech at CSU, Stanislaus has received a great deal of media attention, although not necessarily for reasons she might be thrilled about. A Turlock, California newspaper, though, is giving her some good press, and in the interest of fairness it seems like a good opportunity to address Palin’s sense of humor.
After a brief introduction from University President Hamid Shirvani, who termed Palin a “great American,” she took the stage to chants of “Sarah” and a standing ovation.
“I’ve got my water, do I have my straws? I want my straws,” Palin said as she took the stage, acknowledging the leaked rough draft of her contract found by two CSU Stanislaus students amid shredded documents in a university Dumpster. That contract required the university to provide Palin with “bendable straws.”
You know, Palin has taken a lot of flak over the straw demand. To be fair, though, I think we all have particulars about how we drink. If I order a beer in a restaurant, for example, the frosted glass they bring out just sits on the table because I prefer my cervezas straight from the bottle. I also drink my soda out of an aluminum can, and I have to admit that for several years I insisted on using a straw. When I’d go to the store with friends and they’d run in to grab a drink, they’d say, “Coke in a can with a straw, right, Katie?” Damn straight. So yeah, if I was powerful enough to command a six figure speaking fee, I’d probably ask for straws. And Coke in a can. And beer in a bottle.
Palin continued in this humorous vein:
Palin said she was happy the foundation stuck with her through the controversy, though, because California has always been a special place to her. It’s Reagan country, she said.
Palin quickly delved into thanking the local community for hosting her with great hospitality. She said she appreciated meeting local farmers, who taught her a thing or two about pronunciation.
“I’ll never call an almond an almond again,” Palin joked
The speech wasn’t without a focus on issues though, particularly in the area of civics.
The remainder of Palin’s speech centered on the topic of civic education for America’s next generation, a problem she singled out as the biggest challenge facing the country.
“My biggest fear is that we’re not passing on what it means to be an American to the next generation,” Palin said.
Being an American, Palin said, is about a constitutional right to free speech. It’s about people working hard to make something of themselves, she said. It’s about a love of freedom and free market associations.
It’s these things, Palin said, that make America the strongest, most generous country on earth.
She focused on the subject of American exceptionalism, stating that while most countries are the result of accidents of history America is the only country founded on an ideal – liberty.
But the strong will of our founders and our lasting reminders of their impact – the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence – aren’t enough to secure the success of liberty and of a nation, Palin said.
“It’s in the striving,” Palin said.
Wow, she and Janine Turner have more in common that I thought. Of course, I couldn’t write about Sarah Palin without a little bit of bashing. Try reading this with a straight face — and yes, eye rolling counts.
Palin spoke of a providential hand guiding America to the future. She said America must continue to be an example for spreading democracy in other nations.
“They look to us,” Palin said. “We are that beacon of hope of what it means to be free, and truly that is nothing to apologize for.”
I am a spiritual person with a strong belief in God, but I think it’s kind of a stretch to presume that S/He is using America as an example of the very best. And the idea that other nations view us as a “beacon of hope” and a solid example of how humankind should live? One of you great readers commented recently on the view other countries have of America — evidently we’re all Jerry Springer and laziness. Somehow I question the notion that many countries are waiting for the United States to lead them if they think we’re a bunch of fat slobs screaming, “Jerry! Jerry!” at the television screen.
Eleanor Roosevelt became a powerful, respected woman because of her great works, including her assertion that the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are “the best known documents anywhere, in almost every country, Asia, South America, or Africa.” Geraldine Ferraro, former Vice-Presidential candidate, also sparked talk about the Constitution, with her running mate Walter Mondale saying, “Our founders said in the Constitution, ‘We the people’ – not just the rich, or men, or white, but all of us.” I don’t mean to say in any way, shape, or form that Palin is remote comparable to either Roosevelt or Ferraro, but it’s just interesting how her Stanislaus speech is bringing up shades of the strong political women who came before her.
It’s kind of nice to see Palin talking about something substantive, and to be completely fair I also really enjoyed the sense of humor shown here. Always better to laugh with somebody than at them, after all.
Okay, so I took on a dare to write a positive (ish … it was all I could concede) piece about Sarah Palin. I’m relieved that it was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be, and I actually learned a great lesson in approaching everything with an open mind.
What do you think about the Sarah Palin depicted in this article?