Sarah Palin's Hair & What It Says About Our Country

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Like much of America, I was riveted by Sarah Palin's speech last night.

I expected her to knock it out of the park. And she did.

This is America. And what happens after a media figure is trampled, crushed and humiliated under the media's hot lights? They are redeemed.

Sarah Palin is, momentarily, redeemed.

And isn't it ironic that, in her moment of glory, she finally -- literally and figuratively -- let her hair down.

It was a bold move. It was a bold image.

Sarah standing there, in all her conservative sexiness, her hair finally down, the RNC delegates worked into a frenzy.

"I am woman, here me roar."

Image today too often defines people, defines politicians: Reagan's dyed Hollywood glory days 'do. JFK's sexy pompadour. Clinton's healthy greying mane. Hillary's transformation from hideous hair to powerful locks.

Until last night, Sarah Palin's up-do, with highlighted bangs, was the latest in a long line of strong Republican woman. See for yourself:

Wilma's updo and Barbara Bush pearls defined her as a Stone Age Republican, a woman who wore the loin cloth in the family, no matter what Fred said or did. Wilma was prehistoric Hillary, or Sarah. Your pick, depending on your party.

Oh, and who can forget Phyllis Schlafly's updo, under which hid more self-hatred than any hairdo in history. Anti-ERA. Anti-woman. Anti-anything that wasn't Wilma prehistoric.

And along came Sarah. And her hair.

Don't hate me. I know hair doesn't define a woman any more than -- dare I say it -- my sexuality defines me.

But we are a nation dead set on a course of division and hatred, based on how we look, or who we love.

Let me be clear: I am a Democrat. As a gay man, I feel I must vote with my heart, my emotion, my life. I (figuratively speaking) have been put under the media's hot lights the last eight years, just like Sarah has been the last few days, and, I, too, have been trampled, crushed and humiliated.

Ironically, I grew up in a Republican family (still so today) where the GOP was viewed as "government that stayed out of your wallet and your home." Well, they have lately taken residence in both.

Sarah Palin gave a rousing, populist speech. She let her hair down. In fact, I even felt like cheering a few times, despite the fact that this is a politician who is pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-gay. Despite the fact that this is a politician who governs by how she believes the rest of the world should behave, but has too many skeletons in her own closet.

And, hear me on this: Skeletons are OK.

That is life. Life is not -- as Republicans have made it seem these last eight years -- black or white. People are imperfect. Life is filled with varying shades of grey.

The hard thing to do is admit that. To tell the world, "Yes, I am a flawed human being. I make mistakes. We all do."

The hard thing to do is pay attention to those issues that truly matter -- the economy, the war, health care, respect for others -- and stop dividing our nation -- one state, one person, one vote at a time -- based on how we look, who we love, or, God forbid, how we wear our hair.


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