As the Iowa Caucus draws to a close and the maintenance crew sweeps up the last of the burst balloon bits, torn posters and fast food debris I can’t help but wonder what personal sacrifices the Palin supporters made to write their Queen onto the 2012 ballot – and now that it’s obvious the gesture didn’t work will they recognize their movement to draft Sarah has made them tragic earthquake victims or  will they still keep opening their wallets?

I do know that people who don’t have a lot of money to begin with have to make personal sacrifices in order to pay $100 for a DVD or coffee mug because money for donations has to come from somewhere. Are these Palin supporters doing without extras and necessities in order to play the SarahPAC donation game?

I once lived in San Francisco next door to a family from Hot Springs Arkansas. The houses on our block were all three story Victorian homes.  Some were single family dwellings while others were divided into flats which then accommodated multiple families. This particular family lived in a flat – two parents and two children. One Christmas the mother announced she was taking a retail job and they would not be exchanging presents or chipping into pot luck festivities because they had decided to save for a home. Everyone on the block was supportive. My mom and dad gave the kids presents anyway and included them in our holiday plans regardless.

But I put this out there because I remember so clearly from that Christmas forward my friend (their daughter) not having any sweets in her school lunchbox, never being able to buy an ice cream with the rest of us after school, skipping class field trips and my dad paying for her to accompany me on occasional weekend activities like Saturday afternoon matinees or swimming parties.

Her ice skating lessons came to a halt and for several semesters she wore hand-me-down clothing her mom found at church rummage sales. I can still hear her mother making the worn-out comment “no, you can’t have that, we’re saving for a house remember?”

To further save money an out-of-work uncle was called upon to watch my friend and her much younger brother on evenings when both parents worked overtime hours. The uncle babysitting lasted until my friend told her mother that the uncle was forcing himself on her sexually (we were about aged 10-12 at the time). I remember how horrified my parents were and that while the uncle was sent far, far away, my friend got the belt for not outing him sooner – and my dad was so outraged at her punishment he never spoke to my friend’s dad again.

The thing is, money has to come from somewhere. In many ways the commitment made by this family to save enough money to buy a first home is commendable. But on another level, the severity of sacrifice made by the two small kids was beyond harsh. For more than one or two holiday seasons there was no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny and little fuss made over birthdays while all around them their friends had presents to open, candles to blow out and parties to plan. (And of course the obvious observation needs to be made – if the parents hadn’t been so keen on getting a free babysitter would they have left their daughter in the care of the uncle?)

The parents desire to become home-owners was so strong it excluded their children from much of the socialization that happens in grade school. No trips or money to buy treats at bake sales or joining in with others for parties or after school activities. And I can’t even begin to describe the humiliation my friend surely must have felt by having to purchase her first bra at a church charity sale surrounded by a group of women who all knew her uncle had molested her.

And when I think of all the not-so-well-off people who have made similar familial sacrifices in order to afford sending donations to SarahPAC the irony makes my blood boil.

The Republicans behind Sarah Palin running for president all believe that government handouts are wrong – that people out of work should just suck it up and find jobs – that free medical treatment or food stamps go against the grain of people standing up on their own two feet – that the elderly and infirm should just figure it out…

…and yet all their heroes (not just Sarah Palin) run political campaigns forged on the collection of public donations. You know – that darned ol’ *gasp* free money thing they so adamantly scream at Pres. Obama about.

At least at the end of the day my friend and her family were able to move into a lovely house in the avenues. What are the Palin supporters getting for their sacrifices? I mean besides a packet of lies and a boxful of empty promises.

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O/T – my follow-up posts on the SLRC race and the Childrens Hour are still forthcoming – it’s just that I’ve stepped into this weird dimension I like to call the hurrier I go the behinder I get… so your patience is much appreciated 🙂

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