It is with great pain and a certain measure of shame that I write you this note. Having grown up in the ’60s and watched, sometimes at glaringly close range, the emergence of the women’s liberation movement, I had always harbored great dreams and aspirations for you.
But as I listened to Governor Sarah Palin address the nation the other night, I had to confess that — as your father — I have clearly failed. Honey, you will never be able to achieve the greatness of being nominated for vice president of the United States. Forget about it.
And for this sad reality, I accept all blame. ’Twas I who steered you wrong.
Here you are, almost 25, with what your mother and I believed was a solid education behind you, and yet you are nothing but a common community organizer. Yes, the labor union you work for represents nearly 2 million service workers — about three times the population of Alaska. But, alas, as Governor Palin pointed out, you have no real responsibilities. By helping janitors, security guards, nursing aides and orderlies gain a living wage, paid health care insurance and a retirement fund, you have only robbed them of the personal initiative to go out there and make something better of themselves. You have rendered them feebly dependent on Big Labor and tax-and-spend Big Government — and all in their own crass self-interest in survival.
I’m not sure when I helped nudge you on to such a mistaken road. Probably sometime while you were attending that government-run high school in which we enrolled you. You could have joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as Ms. Palin did. Instead, I pushed you to become a columnist on the school paper. You could have spent your afternoons becoming the local barracuda on the courts. But, nope, your mom and I indulged your trivial passions for staging and directing the plays of Shakespeare. You could have competed to be Miss Woodland Hills or even Miss Congenial California, but — no — there were your mom and dad encouraging you to finish writing your first play. Sorry.
From there, the mistakes only multiplied. Instead of letting you wait until the responsible age of 44 before letting you secure a passport, we strained our family budget and squandered who knows how many thousands by putting you on countless Flights to Nowhere: New York, Washington, New Orleans, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago, Mexico City. And to what end? So you could return home — as the huggable Mayor Giuliani so neatly put it — some sort of “cosmopolitan”? Exposure to so many foreign ideas (like the notion of spending an idle afternoon reading a book in a café instead of learning to field-dress a moose) only contaminated you, rendering you insensitive and contemptuous to the day-to-day needs of bowling league members in Michigan’s Macomb County. Worse, you returned from those European jaunts a brainwashed follower of the elite, angry, left media. By the 12th grade, all the warning signs were there. I’d walk into your room at 1 in the morning and catch you with a flashlight under the covers, reading the book pages of The Atlantic. Why didn’t I nip this all in the bud and buy you a well-oiled Remington 12-gauge so you could plink the coyotes south of Ventura Boulevard?
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The real disaster came, of course, in college. Four straight years wasted at UCLA, when you could have been following the course of the governor, sampling five different schools in six years. You were reading Orwell. By then she was practicing doublespeak. You were studying public policy, by then she was figuring out how to win the 909 votes she needed to become mayor of Wasilla. You were inclined to donate $100 to the ACLU. She was way ahead of you, sweetie, as she calculated how to avoid the ACLU when she made her inquiries into pruning the local library of un-American and anti-Christian propaganda. She was on her way up and you, dear child, were dead-ended in the silly task of trying to organize seven hospitals back to back.
It’s not healthy to dwell on so many regrets, I know. And as I said, this is mostly the fault of your parents. While you are the victim of these reckless choices, your mom and I, nevertheless, pay a heavy price. If we had only been sage enough to bar you from sex-ed class and contraceptives and instead had let you rely on abstinence and prayer, there was an even chance you could have been pregnant by age 17. You’d have a joyous 7-year-old child right now to help you get through your 10-hour workday. The father might have married you. And we’d have a lovely grandchild who a mere decade from now could produce us a great-grandchild and we would all still be young enough to go snowmobiling together — the next time it snows in Woodland Hills.
Ah, but better not to dwell on the negative. Make the best of the little we have given you, and grant us your understanding and forgiveness. And don’t despair too much. Remember, when McCain-Palin come to power, real change is gonna come, and we’ll all be better off.