I realized yesterday that I could have been Sarah Palin. If it weren't for a certain intellectual curiosity, a voracious reading habit and some education, I could have been just like Sarah.
It's a blue collar story, I think. Until I was ten, we lived in a solidly lower middle class (veering to lower class) neighborhood. Girls wanted to be majorettes and mommies. Boys wanted to play baseball and then maybe do construction or join the army. Scouting was pretty big. All the men, except my dad, hunted during deer season. Getting a BB gun was a rite of passage. Everyone went to church on Sunday.
And certain values were instilled early. Take anything that's free. Don't get caught. If you get knocked up, get married. Don't be too uppity, don't be too smart.
It's the recent news stories about the $150,000 campaign wardrobe, and billing Alaska for taking the kids on official state business that got me thinking about the values, the lifetstyle I grew up with. Because to my adult eyes, what Sarah did was WRONG. On so many levels. But in the culture I grew up on, it would be, of course you would do that. What idiot wouldn't run the bill to the max when someone else was paying? If they said go get some decent clothes, and they told you to get what you wanted, what girl wouldn't spend $150,000? If you could wiggle the rules and get five nights in a hotel instead of 1, why wouldn't you? If you could say drawing a raffle ticket was state business, and get to bring your kids along at taxpayer expense, well, why not? It's the same culture that views slipping on a store floor as akin to winning the lottery. Cheating is fine, if you don't get caught. And it's not stealing if it's taking from the gubbamint -- hell, it's all your money, innit?
So you see, I could have been this woman. Really I could. Luckily for me, fate intervened, and I learned to read.