September 14, 2008

Stealing my news cycle

I have no right to complain as I have no one to blame for this but myself, but Sarah Palin is crowding in on my life. Everywhere I go, it seems, I want to talk about Itipini and the only questions I ever get asked are about Palin. I’ve dropped any mention of Alaska from anything I say but people still seem to find out.

On that note, I find myself - in some very tangential ways - feeling a bit like a politician on this trip. I have the same set of facts, stories, and observations I seem to communicate each time I met someone. It’s like my own little stump speech, complete with a set of talking points. (I’d like to think there’s more meat in my comments than in what you might hear on the trail - I haven’t, for instance, started referring to lipstick on pigs or anything, though I do talk about the very real pigs that live in Itipini.) I’m happy to feel this way, of course, because it is so much better to talk about Itipini and mission face-to-face than over e-mail or this blog. My personal motto for this trip has become, “I’m happy to talk about about Itipini as long as you’re willing to listen - and probably longer.” While I’m acting like a politician, I’d also like an advance team to arrange all my appointments, a convoy of SUVs to get me from place to place, and private jets to whisk me around. It’s hard to enjoy one encounter when you’re thinking ahead to the next.

While scrolling through my iPod the other day on the plane, I came across an interview I did with then-candidate Palin in October 2006. (For the record, I don’t listen to myself often if at all; it’s only on my computer in case I ever apply for another radio job and need to submit some samples.) It was fascinating listening, particularly the parts where she decries - repeatedly and at great length - “politics as usual” and how we need to move beyond personal attacks and come together and “unite all Alaskans.” She also talks about the importance of “generational change” in leadership. Odd that she’d be running with the 72-year old then.

I seem to remember once asking her about Iraq and getting an answer that was not nearly as strident as what you hear on the trail today. In fact, she may have even expressed some doubt about the whole affair. But that interview is not on my iPod and the audio may have long since vanished.

I’ve got to stop writing about her! I’m only making my life more difficult!