- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 21, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When the United States of America was still in its infancy, our Founding Fathers decided that the leadership of this new nation would come from the people and by the people. Accordingly, education was made widely available; after all, anyone could become the president of the United States. Today that belief lives on among average citizens.

If one were to judge by our media, this would not be so clear. It might even seem that a person must have attended an Ivy League school, have enough self-mastery to keep their faith in a coat closet, be well-traveled and be politically well-connected in order to qualify to run on a presidential ticket. What does this have to do with competence? I am not quite sure.

I wonder how many Americans have experienced this lifestyle, or believe that only these elites are competent to run our country? Poor Abraham Lincoln would be very hard pressed to measure up, to satisfy today’s media that he might be sophisticated enough for the job of president of the United States — especially considering that his childhood formal education consisted of a total of 12 months in school.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is probably attractive to many people precisely because she is a very ordinary person who believes the American dream is still attainable. Most people in our country are ordinary people. Most people have gone to state universities or small private colleges. Most people are well-integrated enough to live what they believe and would feel that their life was a living contradiction if they said one thing and did another. Most people believe that traveling around our beautiful country provides a varied and rich experience that equals or exceeds others’ foreign travel experience. Most Americans are not politically well-connected, excepting, of course, those who have singular political ambitions.

Mrs. Palin has lived a common life with common experiences. She is just your typical American who has a desire within her to make the world a better place for her family and for the people she is serving.

She also seems to have the wonderful American quality: “I don’t care what you think; I am going to do what is right!” Mrs. Palin, a wildly popular, maverick state governor, has been labeled as not qualified to serve as vice president. Why? Because Alaska is a “hick” state, she didn’t go to Harvard, and she hasn’t “seen the world”? I have gotten the impression from the media — across the board, even from Peggy Noonan — that where you attended school and how many miles you have accumulated are more important than what you have actually done with your life.

Mrs. Palin is an inspiration to all Americans because she is the face of America. She is a reflection of me and most people whom I love and respect. Mrs. Palin’s story is the realization of the American dream.

JENNIFER MADIGAN

Greeley, Colo.

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