Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sarah and Todd Palin at Ted Stevens' funeral - An eyewitness report

Guest post by FreeTrig

I saw Sarah Palin do the derisive bumpit headbob and eyeroll at Senator Steven's funeral. But before I go on, I ask for your patience to set the scene, in context, to the best of my ability:

Sarah and Todd entered the church unobtrusively about 30 minutes before the service began. They were ushered in to sit in the third row back of the section reserved for state politicians. I was sitting less than ten feet away and had an unavoidable view of her.

Sarah's presence merited a few polite nods and a few courtesy handshakes from those around her. She had no other interaction with anyone else except for the man seated to her left (unknown to me and my connected spouse.) She engaged in an animated monologue with this man while waiting for the service to begin. Todd occupied himself by staring up at the photo montage of Ted on the overhead screens above the stage. When the mystery man got a chance to talk, Sarah' s mouth kept moving. She was smacking a wad of gum.

The super-sized church was packed. Those who couldn't get a seat on the main floor or balcony of the cavernous sanctuary were squeezed into 'overflow' rooms in the sprawling complex. This was a gathering of the ultimate Who's Who of Alaska and beyond. More than 20 current and former US Senators made the long trip here to honor Ted. There were high-ranking military types on hand and someone told me Colin Powell was in the house (although I did not see him.) A princess from Easter Island also made the journey here along with Ted Kennedy's widow, Victoria.

And then there were the rest of us. Thousands of everyday, ordinary Alaskans who were lucky enough to be touched directly or indirectly by a man who gave his life to this beautiful place that we are fortunate to call our home.

The service began at 2 pm. Vice President Biden gave a moving tribute to his former colleague and friend. He recalled how Ted reached out to him in a special way when his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972. They remained friends and respected each other despite their political differences for nearly four decades.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was the last of the Capitol colleagues to speak. He was one of Ted's most cherished friends. His simple, but heartfelt words moved the crowd to several rounds of affectionate laughter and appreciative applause.

He spoke about the years when Senators were willing to reach out across the aisle - the long gone days when bipartisan cooperation, not blind contention, was the rule. Senator Inouye joked that Ted even managed to get long with Joe Biden, who, if we didn't know it, just happened to be.....'a Democrat!' That got a big laugh. He followed that little zinger with a remark that he really liked the crowd because we understood what Senators referred to as the finer points of 'double talk.'

That's when she did it. She snapped her head violently to the right toward her otherwise ignored husband and finished off her petty and poorly timed gesture with a flourish of rolling her eyes.

My. God. Or "whatnot." I wish the hell I had it on camera.

Unfortunately (for me and, perhaps all the others who were seated behind her) it is now indelibly woven into the memory of this day that we had to say good-bye to a good man. It was the same sick, sad and uncontrollably inappropriate display of disrespectful contempt that Sarah Palin showed earlier this month to the teacher from Homer.

Sarah managed to maintain some decorum for the remainder of the service. After the Honor Guard, family and dignitaries accompanied Uncle Ted's casket to the hearse outside, Sarah was stuck with all the rest of us waiting to leave the sanctuary through the main doors. By the time I noted that she was no longer behind us, it was just after 4:30 p.m. Somehow, she managed to find another way out.

As we know now, Sarah only waited a matter of minutes after the funeral to pull out her Blackberry to unleash her latest psycho-tsunami of hateful Tweets on Twitter, defending "Dr." Laura for using the N-word.

Something is deeply, deeply, wrong with her. But WE know that.

Let's keep on letting others know.


Another eyewitness left a shorter report under the name "MM" on "politicususa".

Pictures of Sarah and Todd at the funeral can be seen HERE and HERE.


"FreeTrig" also sent me this additional comment:

I know what I saw and am glad it was apparent to others who were there. After the service started, I was swept into the moment and was focused on what the speakers were saying so I wasn't paying attention at that point to Sarah and Todd. The head snap and eyeroll were jolting. After that, I did spend more time watching her demeanor. I was not in a position to see her hands - I had a clear profile view of Sarah and Todd's faces. I also noticed they did not sing the last hymn.

Once the service ended, Sarah and Todd pretty much stuck to themselves. I don't think they were being polite or restrained. No one sought them out. They were surrounded by people who revile them and it showed.

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