Clarity sought, clarity found


I was once, to my personal chagrin today, a pretty big fan of Sarah Palin… so much so in fact that I devoted a category to her and called it, quite lamely, Plainly Palincredible.

She was, now nearly 8 years ago for me, a breath of fresh air and was quite captivating for a number of different reasons.  But that was then.

A careful reading of the two most recent entries in the Plainly Palinincredible category, each now a tad more than two years old (and accessible via the related article links below), would clearly show that the Palin schtick was beginning to get old for me then, an oldness that grew completely stale when she wholeheartedly endorsed Donald Trump in January.

No better example is there of her staleness, no better example is there of why she has fallen off the pedestal I had placed her on years ago, than her latest foray into capturing media limelight:

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said in an interview that aired Sunday that House Speaker Paul Ryan could be ousted for his hesitancy to back Donald Trump, and suggested Ryan’s reluctance was fueled by aspirations to run for president in 2020.

When asked for her thoughts about Ryan’s stance on Trump, Palin invoked former Rep. Eric Cantor. The ex-Republican House majority leader, who was viewed as the likely successor to former House Speaker John Boehner, was defeated by a Tea Party challenger in a stunning upset in the 2014 Virginia primary. Ryan ultimately took the position after Boehner retired.

“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said on CNN. “His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support was not a wise decision of his.”

I no longer find myself thinking that Palin is capable of addressing what is or isn’t wise and her full-throated endorsement of Trump is likely the flagship reason.  Since Ryan is reluctant to support the bigoted, xenophobic and horrifically unqualified Trump, Palin has decided that he should be ‘Cantored’ which of course is her prerogative, as is my own to decide that she now joins the ranks of those who, thanks to Donald Trump, have been unmasked as anything but principled people.

Ryan, for what it’s worth, impressed me not long ago when he did quite the about-face in how he perceives the poor:

“But in a confident America, we aren’t afraid to disagree with each other. We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. We don’t shut down on people — and we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too.

I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard. There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

So I stopped thinking about it that way — and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong. And of course, there are still going to be times when I say things I wish I hadn’t.  There are still going to be times when I follow the wrong impulse.”

Correcting your course after following the wrong impulse suggests strongly that you’ve been influenced by some idea, some proposition, some mindset or philosophy that has not only shown you the error of your ways but has given you the courage to change your direction.

My hope is that this influence is Ryan’s Catholic faith, the same faith that finds me abandoning both the left and the right when it comes to politics, an abandoning that has accelerated with the rise of Donald Trump and the attitudes put on display by his supporters.

The following video put out by then Father and now Bishop Robert Barron, speaks boldly to what the faith teaches as it relates to what Paul Ryan, in part, is referencing above.  Give it a listen.  It touches on that which has given me the clarity I’ve been seeking for most of my life, the clarity I was not finding in political ideology.

Carry on.

Originally published at Brutally Honest.

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