Will Sarah Palin make the difference for McCain in November?

What do you think about Sarah Palin?  That is the question flooding the media airways.  The Sarah Palin buzz is spreading through the homes of America like a swarm of bees.  The pick was so surprising media and pundits seemed speechless.  After we all caught our breath the questions began forming.  What does this mean?  Who is she?  Will she make the difference for McCain?  All good questions.  As a mother and strong grass roots activist from the battleground state of Ohio I'd like to provide you with some of my answers to those questions.

I am not a McCain supporter.  Let's air that bit of information right up front.  As recently as Friday morning I would have told you -- as I repeatedly informed the McCain campaign -- that I didn't think there was anything in the world they could possibly do to get me to vote for that man let alone work day and night for him -- which is what it takes to win an election.  Elections aren't won by parties, despite popular opinion among party leadership.  They are won by a myriad of dedicated grass roots volunteers who believe in the person running, not the party they are running with.  And, as seen in the 2004 election, they are willing to work day and night, around the clock to ensure their candidate wins because they believe in him or her. 

The Democrats don't have that kind of force behind them.  They have Hollywood sure, but how many Hollywood stars do you see walking neighborhoods to register voters or standing in the rain all day at the polls on Election Day?  It isn't the glitz of Hollywood that wins elections.  It is the everyday, hardworking Americans who believe in something greater than themselves and are willing to fight for it.  They are the thousands of nameless faces that Republicans have come to count on and too often take for granted.  They are the core part of "the base" everyone refers to when John McCain asks "where are they going to go?" 

I will tell you where they were going to as of 10:45 Friday morning: home.  They just weren't going to vote at all.  And why would they?  We had no one to get passionate about -- no one to take time off work for; no one even worth voting for.  We were scrambling for something -- anything we could hold on to but it just wasn't there.  We were left with two options: go to the polls and hold our noses once again or just stay home.  It didn't look good for McCain in November.  Enter: Sarah Palin.

I admit when I first heard that John McCain was looking at choosing a woman I was more than irritated.  Did he really think the women of America are so superficial that simply picking a woman would win our vote?  For me it has never been a matter of gender, religion, or race.  I care about who the person is not what the person is.  I have heard from a lot of women over the last couple of days that have said the very same thing.

Despite what many elected officials seem to think, character does count; for me it counts even more than experience. Washington has shown us what "experience" provides and I am not impressed.   In fact, in many cases I find the claim of "experience" more a detriment than an advantage.  So imagine my surprise when John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate. 

After my initial shock I ran to the computer to find out who this woman is.  To my great surprise, the more I read the more I liked her.  This wasn't just a token woman this was a woman I could relate to.  Not only does she espouse my values, she lives them.  She isn't one of those politicians who talks the talk then jumps on a Segway to ride around the walk.  The thing that really caught my attention, however, was the fact that Sarah went against her own party to do what was right for the people.  I've been accused of going against my own party many times.  But wrong is wrong and I will not sell my soul to any party. 

Neither will Sarah Palin and she has proved it.  She saw corruption and she exposed it no matter where it came from.  That is what we need in Washington.  That is the kind of "change" we are looking for and I for one am ready to embrace it. 

The National Organization for Women released a statement stating Sarah Palin is "not the right woman" and that this was a "cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary voters".  My first reaction was, who cares what N.O.W. thinks?  They haven't spoken for the women of America for years.  In fact, you would be amazed at how many women don't even know N.O.W. exists.  They are too busy raising their families, running their homes, holding jobs and volunteering in the community to care.  I think the real issue here is that Sarah Palin does represent the women of America and that scares N.O.W. to death.

Sarah Palin is not just a woman.  She is the right woman.  Her qualifications are astounding; her resume impressive; her integrity refreshing and her devotion to her family remarkable.  What I saw Friday was a woman who is ready to lead and I am ready to follow. 

Yeah, I think Sarah Palin speaks very well for the women of America-the real women of America-those of us who like men, love America, put our family first, know how to be happy, and don't have a problem with smart pretty women.

I have to admit, I have gained a new sense of respect for John McCain.  This was a remarkably brilliant move on his part.  In just 10 minutes I went from being adamantly opposed to McCain to being ready to work night day for him -- just so we can get her.  Suddenly John McCain was back in the fight and really looked like he wanted to win.

This man has guts to do what he did.  The raw courage and tenacity he showed while a prisoner of war resurfaced Friday.  He has finally used his Maverick status for something other than "crossing the aisle".  How amazing is that? 

I will never forget the feeling that arose within me when I saw Sarah walk out on the stage in Dayton on Friday.  As she came out surrounded by her family tears welled up in my eyes.  ‘That's America,' I thought.  ‘That is what I've been looking for.'

Will Sarah Palin make the difference for McCain in November?  She already has.

Kimberly Fletcher is the founder and president of Homemakers for America -- a national, non-profit corporation based in Dayton Ohio.  The views in this article are the sole views of the author and not representative of Homemakers for America Inc.
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