You can't call her trip over the border a flip-flop until you know the facts, including these previously unreleased details finally revealed by the normally silent Palin family
By Luke Dittrich
This weekend, while giving a speech in Calgary, Sarah Palin mentioned that when she was a child, growing up in the small town of Skagway, Alaska, her family sometimes sought out medical care in the nearest city, Whitehorse. This anecdote wouldn't have generated any attention — eleven thousand comments and counting on the Huffington Post — were it not for the fact that Whitehorse lies across the border from Alaska, in Canada. Bloggers pounced, declaring her a hypocrite for once taking advantage of the sort of nationalized health care system she now decries.
As someone who both lives in Whitehorse and has spent time with the Palin family, I'd like to take this opportunity to do something I've never felt moved to do before: defend Sarah Palin.
First, I've got to confess that I learned about these trips she took to Whitehorse more than a year ago, and never reported them. Evidently, gauging strictly on a page-view scale, that was an oversight on my part. On a scale of newsworthiness, though, I still don't think the facts add up to anything at all.
Palin's parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, were the ones who let the story slip. Chuck had met me at the front door of their home in Wasilla, and I'd been in their living room less than three minutes, still gawking at their taxidermied menagerie of wolves, foxes, beavers, goats and wolverines, when Sally came in from the garage.
"Luke's a Whitehorse Indian," Chuck joked to Sally when he introduced us.
"Whitehorse!" she said, smiling.
"We lived in Skagway for five years," Chuck said. "And at that time the railroad went from Skagway to Whitehorse, and that was our lifeline. There was no road out of Skagway when we lived there."
"We appreciated it so much," Sally said. "Anytime there was something serious, we'd get on the train and go to the hospital there, and they'd be so kind to take care of us."
And that was it: a simple admission that I didn't think much of then, and still don't think much of now. Whitehorse General Hospital, where my own daughter was born three years ago, remains, to this day, the closest major hospital to Skagway. When Chuck and Sally chose to take their kids there, it would have been a choice dictated strictly by geography, not politics. There are many things one could criticize about Sarah Palin's views of health care in the United States. That she once participated in cross-border medical tourism to Canada is not one of them.
Yesterday morning, re-listening to the tape of my conversation with Chuck and Sally, I found another unreported tidbit, one concerning the first of the many Internet controversies that have swirled in Sarah Palin's wake since her emergence eighteen short months ago. I might as well throw it in here.
Chuck had just told me that he usually didn't talk with reporters — that, in fact, he'd just hung up on one fifteen minutes before I'd arrived.
"The Anchorage Daily News is doing a story," he said. "Is Trig Really Sarah's Son?"
"I am so disgusted," Sally said.
Chuck shook his head.
"I was in the room when he was born, for Chrissakes!" (SOURCE)