Hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did.
Julia O’Malley has written a piece about the rise and fall of Palin in The Guardian. I think it is so obvious that she never knew the real Palin. She was completely taken in by her. O’Malley is the journalist from the ADN who wrote Make. It. Stop. about Palin’s faked pregnancy.
There was a time when Sarah Palin was normal by Alaska standards. Way back before the hoopla, and way before she endorsed Donald Trump, she made sense as a politician here. That’s not the case any more. I’m told she lives in Alaska most of the time, but she’s invisible in public life.
But back in the day, I liked her – and so did many in my community. I’m not conservative, but she grew on me when I worked as a reporter in Anchorage in the mid-2000s, and the reason had nothing to do with politics. She was a kind of regular person I recognized as of this place. Tough, funny, pragmatic. She loved Alaska like I did. If you didn’t know her then, it’s hard to explain or believe.
She totally fell for this. I just cannot imagine Track planting water bottles for her.
It’s hard to keep track of what happened next. The internet Sarah-ploded. There was Fox News, reality television, the book, the steady stream of social-media snits, the house in Arizona, a family run-in with the cops and Bristol’s baby-mama drama.
When I read the news story recently about Track Palin assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill himself, I remembered this sweet interview with Palin years ago in a running magazine. It was about Track as a teen, planting water bottles for his mother on her training route. Politics is a messed-up prism, and he didn’t ask to have his life examined through it. Could she have known how hard this would be on her children?
Then the fall…
These days, you can’t find people here who have something nice to say about her last decade in politics. Nobody wants to talk about Palin.
There is speculation from time to time about her running for state office, but chances seem remote. Dermot Cole, a columnist at the Alaska Dispatch News, told me Alaskans don’t take her seriously.
“She has long since become part of the entertainment business, which is what she has in common with Trump,” he wrote in an email.
Dave Stieren, a conservative radio personality in Anchorage, told me Palin’s story is full of irony.
“Even though she doesn’t know who Shakespeare is, she’s a figure out of Shakespearean tragedy,” he said. “She’s a person of exceptional means with no place to really call home.”
On occasion someone I know sees her in a yoga class or in the stands at a hockey game. Once, a friend encountered her really early in the morning, with no makeup, in Wasilla Walmart. She looked tired, almost ghostly, the friend said.
Who knows why Palin was up that early, but I imagine it was to shop in peace in her home town. Just like the regular Alaskan she used to be.
I’m glad to hear she is shunned in her own state. O’Malley appears to feel sorry for Palin. I don’t.