Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin recently said something both profound and essential. As she was nearing her decision not to launch a presidential campaign — appearing to discern what role she could best play in national affairs, and perhaps preparing to let her most ardent supporters down easy — she asked Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, “Is a title worth it? Does a title shackle a person?” She continued: “Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to affect positive change that we need in this country? That’s the biggest contemplation piece in my process.”
Such questions could be interpreted as indicative of a dismaying attitude toward public service. But they may also demonstrate an admirable self-awareness, and a keen appreciation of the different ways one might play a role in public life.
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