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Columns-For the Journey May-5-2008 (605 words) xxxc

Sarah Palin: A politician who lives her truth

By Effie Caldarola
Catholic News Service

In a country where politicians spout a lot of pro-life rhetoric to gain votes but don't always follow up, it's so refreshing to meet a politician who lives her truth.

Let me begin by introducing the governor of Alaska, my state.

Alaskans have a love affair going with their governor. Sarah Palin, a former "Miss Wasilla" who later became mayor of her little town of Wasilla, has enjoyed an unbelievable 82 percent favorable rating in the polls as governor.

What politician can match that?

With an appealing personality and a handsome, snow-machining husband who calls himself "the First Dude," the governor has even been mentioned as a running mate for John McCain. An Alaskan who knows how to clean fish as well as catch them, she's "hot" enough to have landed a fashion spread in Vogue.

This small-town girl was elected by catching an anti-corruption wave that rolled across the state and carried her straight to the governor's mansion. In a wealth of embarrassment for Alaska, state legislators have been convicted of bribery, and two of the three members of our congressional delegation are under federal investigation.

Palin based her campaign on honesty and transparency, and that's what Alaskans craved.

I confess her lack of experience discouraged my vote. But do I like her? As the saying goes: What's not to like?

This week, I like Sarah Palin a whole lot more.

Over a month ago, her office announced that the 44-year-old and her husband Todd were expecting their fifth child in May. It was a secret the beguiling brunette, a runner, managed to keep from even her staff.

Then, April 18, she surprised us again by giving birth a month early to Trig Palin, 6 pounds, 2 ounces. In true Sarah fashion, her amniotic fluid leaked in Texas, she gave a speech at a Republican Governors Association convention as scheduled anyway, and then returned to Alaska to deliver.

Immediately the family made this announcement: "Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives."

Trig Palin has Down syndrome. Early prenatal testing alerted the Palins to this chromosomal abnormality, as it is alerting more and more families in the early stages of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, because of early screening, more children with Down syndrome are aborted and fewer and fewer are being born.

Children with Down syndrome do bring "unspeakable joy" into this world. I know the laughter and blessings my 5-year-old nephew, Ethan, with Down syndrome, has brought to our family. But how do you explain this joy to a perfection-at-any-price world?

Politicians rarely help. How many politicians are ever called upon to really walk the walk in their lives?

One-issue voters often reward someone with a vote just because they mouth the right words on abortion but seldom examine what that politician has actually done to make abortion less common, or what he's done to add to the conversation.

Our governor is fortunate in that she has a loving family and tremendous support, something many women do not. Again, those pro-life politicians often fail the very women who need help the most.

As Christians, we know the example of witness is profound.

Palin, a politician who has been eloquent in her defense of life before birth, has now proven with her own life how much she truly "walks the walk."

Thank you, Sarah, for a beautiful witness given to us through a little one whose Norse name, Trig, means "brave victory."


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