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Think geography!
Forget the male/female card, folks, think geography, think strategy! By now, both men and women across the U.S. will have read feminist Gloria Steinem's assessment of Sarah Palin: "the only thing she shares with Hillary is a chromosome" (www.latimes.com). Her article was scathing, and, sadly, I agree with most of it. Like many of you, I watched the Republican Convention last night and, until well past midnight, listened to the numerous commentators, both Republican and Democrat, touting their opinions about Palin's performance and relevance to the election campaign. This morning I avidly devoured a variety of newspapers on the internet for commentary. To my surprise, no one that I read speculated on what I believe may be the underlying reason Sarah Palin was selected as Veep candidate in such haste, with inadequate vetting, a week or so ago, just as Russia was making its military show of power in Georgia (and just as its oft partner, China, was militantly and brilliantly parading its immense people power and technology in a peaceful context during the Olympics). Yes, Sarah Palin, along with other potential female candidates more qualified than she is for this position, shares a female sex chromosome with Hillary, apparently a political asset nowadays. Yes, she has a conservative agenda appealing to the right wing of the Republican Party and obviously what was wanted to bring them back in full-throated support of the party, even if it's one setting back women a few decades. Yes, she has a great family (marred by a few lapses from her stated family values: abstinence et al.; allegedly trying to get her ex-brother-in-law fired and firing the guy who wouldn't do it) to parade onstage, just like other candidates do, including Barack Obama. And yes, she has now proven magnetic platform appeal that can galvanize a room sympathetic to her cause, although she would do well to drop some of the smugness, sarcasm, and barracuda slashes that annoy those who are not. Let the country come together, right? However, I think the real reason Sarah Palin was selected is none of the above. Maybe it's because I am a native daughter of, and lived for half a century in, the province of Quebec, where separatism still raises its immensely troublesome head from time to time and simmers beneath the surface all the time (I wrote about it in Cryo Kid - Drawing a New Map, www.cryokid.com; it was the reason why I left Montreal). Maybe that's why I believe that the Alaskan Independence Party, to which both Sarah and her husband belonged for some years, should not be underestimated. Putting Palin on the ticket is a great way to keep separatism in check in Alaska and promote federal causes instead. It's not just drill, baby, drill and to hell with the caribou. There is a greater goal, I think. Alaska borders with Russia. With increasing international interest -- Canada, Russia, other Nordic countries -- in defining borders (and claiming land!) in the great Northland, as our warming climate eases access to the Arctic , the geography of Alaska is of more important strategic interest to the U.S. than ever. Let's imagine this scenario: Relations between Russia and the U.S. worsen; each of them urgently needs oil and gas reserves, which Alaska has aplenty; there is an Alaskan party receptive to the idea of independence from the U.S. -- material for a novel. So why not forestall any of these problems by creating a strong federal presence in Alaska? And who can better smooth the way for the feds than a popular Alaskan governor, now being promoted as potential V.P. Especially one who claims to be the Commander of the Alaskan Guard. Wowee! What am I smoking? I don't smoke, never did, but I am a writer with a vivid imagination. When Brave New World was written, what it projected seemed impossible; now test tube babies have come into being (see www.cryokid.com again!). I hope that the scenario I've suggested above doesn't.
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That's a

real eyeopener!!  Thank you very much.

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The bear next door

Wow, Corinne! You could be right. Geography (and topography) determine everything about who we are. Ever thought of writing political/psychological thrillers? I jest not!

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The continuation of

the Great Game.  The book that turned me on to history was the book by the same name, written by Peter Hopkirk.