A raise for Congress, Sarah Palin, and a poem

I know that Sarah Palin is a deeply divisive figure, as much for the Right as for the Left. One of the reasons I so admired--make that present tense, "admire"--her is that, of all the candidates, she was the only one who advocated and embodied the virtue of people standing up for themselves. She was nobody. Her last name was not Kennedy. She wasn't married to a former president of the United States. Her family wasn't rich. But she decided she wanted to become mayor of her town, and she did it. Then she decided she wanted to become governor of her state: she did that, too, unseating an good-old-boy from her own party. It may be that the word "existential" has never passed Palin's lips, but she understands the existential value of independence. She knows that big government is intrusive government and that, as Gerry Ford put it, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

This past week, The New Criterion held its annual Christmas party. That fact reminds me that, as the year draws to a close, you still have time to "spread the wealth around," keep a shekel or two from the clutches of Uncle Sam and his countless progeny, and donate something to a worthy cause, i.e., The New Criterion. It's simple. Just click here to find out how you can help.

But I mention our party not only to put in a plea for The New Criterion--have I mentioned you can donate with just a click or two?--but also to share a poem with you. One of our guests was the poet Samuel Menashe, who favored me with this excellent opus: it's not a Christmas poem, exactly, but it is certainly appropriate to the season.


Owe, do not own

What you can borrow

Live on each loan

Forget tomorrow

Why not be in debt

To one who can give

You whatever you need

It is good to abet

Another's good deed.

I had thought of proposing that every lawmaker be required to recite this daily before breakfast, but then it occurred to me that many might miss the irony.