Governor Palin’s book America by Heart is set to be released this coming Tuesday. As with every book, advanced copies are released to the press for reviewing purposes only. Those advanced copies usually come with conditions attached which include not disclosing any part of the book until a certain agreed date.
“Did you ever wonder where the producers of American Idol come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can’t sing but are deluded enough to get up in front of a national television audience and screech out a song anyway?”
Many of the contestants’ ability (or, More accurately, inability) to carry a tune reminds me uncomfortably of me. But they get up and sing anyway and are unaccepting and horrified when the judges’ critiques begin. Chalk some of them up as victims of the cult of self-esteem. No one they’ve encountered in their lives – from their parents to their teachers to their president – wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth. So they grew up convinced they could become big pop stars like Michael Jackson.On American Idol, of course, these self-esteem-enhanced but talent-deprived performers eventually learn the truth. After they’ve embarrassed themselves for the benefit of the producers, they are told in no uncertain terms that they, in fact, can’t sing, regardless of what they’ve been told by others. But in the wilder world, these kinds of instances of hard-truth-telling are increasingly rare. Instead of eventually confronting the limits of their inflated egos when it comes to paying the rent and putting food on the table, Americans are increasingly being told not to worry about it. Someone else will provide for them. I think a large part of the appeal of American Idol is the spectacle of Simon Cowell pouring cold water over the heads of these young people. Cowell can be a little harsh at times, but he upholds the highest standards, and something in us recognizes and responds to that.Unfortunately, Cowell is almost alone in his willingness to tell hard truths. Instead, a growing chorus of voices is trying to convince our kids that hard work isn’t necessary anymore, that they’re entitled to a lengthening list of benefits paid for by others, and that they don’t have to accept the consequences of their actions when those consequences are bad. These voices seem to think that the purpose of government – the purpose of America – isn’t to promise equal opportunity but to produce equal outcomes. If we all just magically had the same number of material possessions, we’d all be happy. And their preferred way to bring about magical situation is by redistributing income. During the campaign, Obama called it “spreading the wealth.” Whatever the term, it means government taking from some and giving to others.
Governor Palin is using something that ordinary Americans can understand, American Idol, to illustrate a larger policy point. It’s really nothing short of brilliant.
In closing, here’s an email I received a while back; it pretty much sums up the point the Governor is making:
SCHOOL – 1957 vs. 2010
Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.
1957 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2010 – Police called, arrests Johnny and Mark.. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. Both children go to anger management programs for 3 months. School board hold meeting to implement bullying prevention programs.
Robbie won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.
1957 – Robbie sent to office and given 6 of the best by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2010 – Robbie given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. Robbie’s parents get fortnightly disability payments and School gets extra funding from state because Robbie has a disability.
Billy breaks a window in his neighbour’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.
1957 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2010 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison.
Mark has a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 – Mark gets glass of water from Principal to take aspirin with.
2010 – Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from July 4, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a bull ant nest.
1957 – Ants die.
2010 - State Police, Star Force, Federal Police & Anti-terrorism Squad called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, Feds investigate parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated. Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary . Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 – In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2010 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.