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More American Than I Am

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Of note this Memorial Day along the intertracks is Sarah Palin’s appearance at the Rolling Thunder rally in D.C. At first blush, it was heartening to see a Presidential-level political figure who appeared at ease among bikers.

Palin shaking hands at Rolling Thunder rally

I choose this photo because I see she still has sexy glasses in biker gear. She is wearing a prominent crucifix. And it shakes stereotypes—for those who don’t see many real bikers—that there are indeed people other than fat hillbillies who ride.

A discussion of this event over at ChicagoBoyz clued me into a deeper cultural and political significance. Rolling Thunder is not just another motorcycle club:

While many members of Rolling Thunder are veterans and many ride motorcycles, neither qualification is a prerequisite. Rolling Thunder members are old and young, men and women, veterans and non-veterans.  All are united in the cause to bring full accountability for Prisoners Of War (POW) and Missing In Action (MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.”

Being separated from big media, I do not know if they’re making mention of Palin’s appearance there, and if so, are they explaining what Rolling Thunder is?

Could you think of a better way to show reverence for the sacrifices of the fallen and their brothers-in-arms? Don’t go to graveyard or battlefield or base and speechify. Go be with those who served, in their element, on their turf and on their terms. Don’t make it about you and your politics. it is not a spectacle, it is a commemoration.

ChicagoBoyz commenter “POUNCER” adds:

Among those concerned about POW/MIA issues, both Senators Kerry and McCain are distrusted. Both are accused of “destroying evidence” regarding POWs held by the North Vietnamese after 1975.

Note: it’s not a matter of truth. It’s a matter of trust. Truth or ugly rumor either way, McCain was NOT supported in 2008 by this tiny, but ACTIVE, bloc.

Palin, obviously, is mending fences. If she gets buy-in from this bunch, she swings them and their families and in-laws, outlaws and stay-at-homes back into the voter pool; all newly leaning her way.

Sharp. Forward-thinking. And not understood by those elites for whom “honor” is merely rhetoric.

I have remarked on the shape of a Palin success:

…your message doesn’t have to be tailored to people not in your audience. Political talking heads like to chatter about how rhetoric might influence the middle people. But their analysis usually takes the form of pointing out how the message will be regarded by staunch opponents. That’s irrelevant.

Of course the people in the middle aren’t on board with Palin’s arguments. Not yet. They’re the undecided, the swing voters. They’re sitting out in suburbia waiting to be persuaded.

She is like us. Maybe even more, she is like how we would want to be. And the people can be persuaded.

Which memory endures, which memory motivates: That now-ancient Couric interview, or knowing that Sarah sincerely stands with those who gave all?