America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag

Sarah Palin’s second book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, is her take on what makes the United States great and why its current state of affairs is hurting its reputation at home and on the world stage. Palin relies heavily on quotations to make her points, featuring quotes from the founding fathers to contemporary pop culture personalities. I found the lengthy eighteenth-century passages plodding to decipher. It would have been better to keep her quotations to a paragraph or two instead of page after page of centred indented smaller-font text. Palin is not afraid to admit that in the USA’s recent history both Democrats and Republicans have made mistakes and she pulls no punches when she refudiates what some members of her own party think of her. 

Palin believes that Obama is taking the United States down a path of wishy-washy mediocrity. The greatest country the Earth has ever known is now nuzzling up with other nations as an equal partner in the world arena instead of being the one who is supposed to lead these nations. Her jingoism is not offensive, but rather expected. Palin believes that the United States can return as leader in global greatness by following the principles the original founding fathers set out in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Recent administrations have drifted far from these principles. American exceptionalism is being compromised by a President who wants to assuage dictators and share power. She compares the current administration to umpires at kindergarten baseball games, where nobody gets out and no score is kept either: everyone is supposed to be happy because nobody wins.   

Palin would restore greatness to the United States of America by withdrawing federal authority and restoring more autonomy at the state level. She is not a fan of “Obamacare” and her interpretation of federal babysitting in a welfare state. As the Governor of Alaska, she does have a different perspective as a Mama Grizzly looking down on the Lower 48. In America By Heart Palin shares many stories about hiking, climbing and hunting and she definitely comes across as a mother figure at home in the Last Frontier. She talks of her forty years living with Alaska’s vast wilderness as her backyard and she knows whereof she speaks. Palin believes her independent nature is a trait of Alaskans, whom she claims often feel as though Washington was still treating as backwards gold prospectors who were not from a state on equal footing with the other 49, but from a territory that could be manipulated at federal will.

I was not moved by America By Heart in the same way I was by Palin’s earlier memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life. I didn’t find Palin’s blueprint for restoring American greatness all that inspiring, even though I find her a champion of commonsense Constitutional conservatism.

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