Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Governor Sarah Palin

Dear Govenor Palin:

Many of us were elated at your being selected Senator McCain's running mate. Those of us who are principled conservatives had qualms about Sen. McCain, and your selection told us that he would not alienate the conservative elements in his party. Moreover, I liked your stands on governmental corruption, fiscal conservatism, and on human life. I also appreciated your presence as an outsider, someone from my home state of Alaska. I defended you on the basis that Alaska is a tough state to govern, given its physical uniqueness and the fierce independence of Alaskans. I read your biography, Sarah, with great interest. I was delighted to find that you were my sister in Christ. I defended your interview with Charles Gibson on the grounds that he was out to get you.

However, I have some concerns about you and this election. I am not an ideologue, supporting a candidate no matter what without regard to the facts. I offer these with no rancor, but only with love and hope. It seemed that many conservative Christians were more excited about your biography than your political acumen. This was particularly evident on "The Hugh Hewitt Show" as Hugh gave over a week to first-time, female callers, who enthused in mostly emotive tones about you. There was more about your being a mother, having decided to keep a Downs child, being a hunter, and so on, than on your actual ability to lead at such a high level. I heard conservatives hail you as another Margaret Thatcher. That kind of hypertrophied praise borders on the obsequious. It is premature and overblown. We need informed citizens, not sychophants of the right or of the left. But you do have promise and have made an impressive start in the political world.

Several conservative commentators worry that you have not performed well on articulating your views on the issues. I share some of these concerns, given some of your recent comments in interviews. You have been somewhat shielded from the white heat of the press. That can be defended on the basis that you needed preparation. But now you must step right into the spotlight of inquisition.

Yes, the mainstream press had been unfair toward you, raking over your private life and not sparing even your children. Obama sent thirty operators to your home state to dig up Alaskan dirt on you. Welcome to American politics on the national level. Alaskan politics can be mean, since people everywhere are sinners, but Alaskans have rather limited resources in their attacks. Now the guns of the entire mainstream media and all the Obama operatives (which includes the mainstream media) are aimed directly at you and your dear family. They will sink to any level, likening you to Pontius Pilate and claiming you are not a real woman (since you are not a secular feminist).

None of this diminishes my support for the McCain-Palin ticket. Senator Obama is a disaster on every level. He is not ready to lead, given his paucity of experience. If he were ready to lead, his politics would be a disaster for our country. The killing fields of abortion on demand would widen and receive even more legal protections. National defense would suffer terribly. The state would swell to elephantine purportions (but without the intelligence of that noble beast). Obama is good at one thing: promoting himself. May he repent of that.

Nevertheless, Governor Palin and my sister in Christ, I exhort you to prepare yourself as best as possible on every level for the duration of the campaign. Your debate with Sen. Biden may be a turning point. If you rise to the occasion by out-arguing him and keeping your cool, many will applaud you. If you rely on talking points and mere charm, more will question your leadership.

I, for one, will pray hard for you and John McCain for the duration of this weary campaign. I will continue to argue that Christians and others should vote for you and Senator McCain. Many say the nomination of Obama is "historic." Perhaps, but there are failures of historic proportions as well. The election of Obama would be a failure of the nerve and wisdom of the American people, given his record and his abysmal politicies (the things that really count). Your election as vice president would be historic as well. I hope that I see that day and that history will applaud your political achievements.

The LORD bless you
and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.--Numbers 6.

Douglas Groothuis


Kevin Winters said...

Dr. G.,

I'm curious if Palin's acceptance of creationism is a matter of concern for you. Also, what do you predict in the upcoming Palin-Biden debate?

a said...

I question anybody's ability to govern the United States with marginal intelligence. She scored a 1050 on her SAT's. She is not ready to assimilate torrents of information with nuance.

Exceling at the PTA is one thing; thinking through millions of options is quite another.

I don't want "one of us". I want someone who is more intelligent and better educated than me.

You can call it elitism, but I simply want someone smarter than me. Or perhaps, I'm secure enough to recognize my intellectual shortcomings and I don't want someone of equal (or lesser) aptitude making important decisions.

Ryan Phelps said...

My sentiments exactly (not that it matters much). There was so much hope for her. Yes, her background and what she stood for made you want to stand up and cheer. I pray along with you that she kicks it into a new gear. I'm just not sure she is capable.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Since the press typically calls any criticism of Darwinism "creationism" (even when it is ID and not creationism), I don't really know what her view is, except that she said on the Hannity interview that she did not want to forbid teaching Darwinism. But no ID supporter wants that; nor does any creationist. The creationists old approach was a "two model" view where both would be taught. But they lost all the courts cases on that in 1980s. But those rulings do not apply to ID. See Francis Beckwith, Law, Darwinism, and Public Education.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I don't judge intelligence by scores on artificial tests. On that see, Neil Postman's comments in "Technopoly."

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Palin did more than run for PTA! She is governor of Alaska, not an easy job.