Chuck Heath Jr: Thinking back to 2008

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In the midst of all this presidential convention chaos, I can’t help but to think back to 2008. My friends and family were so excited that Sarah was going to be a part of it. We all knew how hard she had worked for Alaska and how all she cared about was putting the very best people in positions to make our state great, regardless of party affiliation. There was a reason 85-90% of Alaskans supported her.

The 2008 convention was unbelievably exciting for us. After Sarah’s knock out VP acceptance speech, we were optimistic that the McCain/Palin ticket was going to win. The county was in a major slump and we knew Sarah and John could turn things around. We were very naive and had no idea how ugly things were about to become. Immediately after the convention, the media attacks avalanched. My dad was tracking stories and said that nine out of ten stories about Sarah were negative – a complete 180 from what we’d seen before the convention. I even got a call from a friend in Wasilla who told me that there were reporters in the local coffee shops pulling in high school students and offering to pay them for any dirt they had on the Palins. It got worse from there, and when Tina Fey made her false, “I can see Russia from my porch” comment, the negativity steamrolled.

We all kept our chins up and stayed as positive as possible (although that was very tough at times). Alaska democrats who had previously supported her jumped on the hater bandwagon and started spewing innuendoes and false truths. No name wannabe Alaska reporters hooked up with CNN, NSNBC, etc., to throw more trash out and try to make a name for themselves. And the mainstream media obliged.

The election day finally arrived and our family gathered together with friends and the McCains to watch the results. When it became obvious that the Obama ticket had won, the mood was melancholy, but surprisingly upbeat. We knew in our hearts that we had put up a good fight and we sincerely wished the Obama administration well. We hoped that the “Change” he promised would be good for our country.

When Sarah returned to Alaska, things were drastically different. She found herself continuously tied up in litigation over frivolous ethics complaints – something unheard of before the presidential race. At that time, anyone, for any reason, could file an ethics complaint against the governor and the governor would have to defend theirselves on their own dime. When the complaints were finally thrown out by the court, the person filling the complaint paid nothing, but Sarah was out tens of thousands of dollars and lost so much precious time. I remember her telling me that the majority of her time was now spent defending herself against this crap instead of governing the state.

After much soul searching, Sarah finally made the decision to step down. Her thinking was that Lt. Governor Parnell could step in and carry on her agenda without being under the tremendous microscope she was under. She felt the state was in good hands and that the storm would die down.

Of course the “quitter” comments immediately began to roll in. All of us that were closest to Sarah knew that her stepping down was the most unselfish thing she could have done. She knew she’d be attacked but she put the state of the state in front of her own legacy.

My father and I finally got sick of the falsehoods surrounding all of this and decided to write a book together to set the record straight. To paint the true picture of Sarah, we interviewed her closest friends, pastors, coaches, colleagues and family, (most of who had never spoken to the media) and put their stories in one easy to read book. It felt really good to finally be able to put the truth out there, but once again, we faced the mainstream media wall. Aside from Fox, the other networks refused to promote the book (although they seemed to promote all the trash books about Sarah written at the time).

I’m writing all this on the eve of the Democratic convention. Republicans are feeling good right now and are excited about the recent poll numbers in Trump’s favor. But I will warn them not to get too cocky. You have no idea how ugly it’s about to get.

It saddens me to see so much divisiveness in this country today. The world seems to be unraveling and at a time when we should all be working together to solve our problems, we seem to have forgotten that that first and foremost, we are all Americans.

Pray for this country.

Chuck Heath Jr.

 

Sarah an hour before her 2008 acceptance speech • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.
Sarah an hour before her 2008 acceptance speech • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.

 

On the way off stage after her great speech • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.
On the way off stage after her great speech • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.

 

A very proud mother and father with Mr. Kissinger • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.
A very proud mother and father with Mr. Kissinger • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.

 

In the Green Room after the speech. We were all so excited! • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.
In the Green Room after the speech. We were all so excited! • September 3rd, 2008 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.

 

Sarah and me in Fairbanks, Alaska right before her speech turning the governorship over to Sean Parnell. You can tell by her expression that this was tough • July 3rd, 2009 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.
Sarah and me in Fairbanks, Alaska right before her speech turning the governorship over to Sean Parnell. You can tell by her expression that this was tough • July 3rd, 2009 • photo courtesy Chuck Heath Jr.

 

 

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