Lakeland, Florida’s The Ledger has the local take on Sarah Palin’s appearance at Southeastern University’s seventh annual leadership forum Friday. Mary Toothman, who covers the higher education beat for the newspaper, reported that the former governor of Alaska was “fired up about God and country” and “dressed for the part” in “a lipstick-red suit and fierce high heels”:
Her passionate talk was peppered with such vibrant cries as “Cling to your God, your guns, your Constitution!” and pleas for the next generation to change the country’s moral fiber. “That will make our foundation crumble if we choose to ignore it,” she said.
Not one to tiptoe around sensitive topics, Palin got right to the point on reasons she said the country is in crisis.
“Today, look around, and don’t you wonder sometimes if, as a nation, we have forgotten God altogether? This is a crucial question,” she said.
Asked by the organizers of the event to talk about hope and resilience, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate drew a distinction between “real hope” and “that Washington, D.C., ‘hopey-changey’ blah, blah, blah stuff.”
Mostly, the 49-year-old hammered such topics as the corruption of Washington, D.C. — “It’s a hotbed of cronyism” — and federal spending — “The federal government is bloated, corrupt and out-of-control.”
Gov. Palin told her audience, composed of mostly SEU students, faculty and staff, that she was happy to visit a Christian school. Her address to those assembled was rich with the ethos of the late conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart, as she urged students to go forth and spread the word:
She encouraged them to “infiltrate” the nation. Study journalism, she said. Get into Hollywood and the sports world.
“Get out there and influence culture,” she said.
Breitbart’s message was that what occurs in the popular culture shapes the nation’s politics.
Palin closed her talk with a battle cry.
“The future of the country depends on what you do,” she said. “God bless you.”
In the Q&A session after her address, the governor fielded questions from Christina Gard, a member of the Social Sciences faculty and the University’s Director of Student Mentoring.
Asked by Professor Gard how she deals with critics, Gov. Palin got the strongest applause of the day with her response:
Palin said it’s important to know who you are, and that’s why she speaks out for God publicly in a country where she said it’s often frowned upon or against the law to talk about religious beliefs.
“God deserves so much better than what we give him,” she said. “What has happened when we can’t say his name in public?”
Cross-posted at The SPJ