by Kathy Blake
It’s 10 a.m., and Madeleine McAulay is answering emails and returning phone calls. Later, she’ll squeeze in schoolwork from the six high school courses she’s taking online through Liberty University. It saves time, doing school at home.
But this morning, the subject is politics. Specifically, Sarah Palin’s politics and how the former Alaska governor’s platform on morality and values can be used to reach America’s youth.
Madeleine is involved in a movement called Youth for Palin, a growing collection of 15- to 21-year-olds who use Facebook to preach the conservative lifestyle Palin spoke of during her run for the vice presidency in 2008. She says it’s accumulated 161 members in a half-dozen states.
Madeleine had been up late, emailing Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Sue Myrick, emphasizing her support and asking that they become aware of the Facebook cause, of which she is an administrator.
“I told them that I’m from their district and would love for them to be aware of our group,” she said.
Madeleine spent a week in March serving as a page in the lieutenant governor’s office, and she hopes to be a House and Senate page this summer. So much can be learned, serving hands-on.
But for all her worldly pursuits, there is this:
Madeleine is 15. She’s lives in Huntersville, in a house perched on land that’s been the family homestead for 150 years.
She’s a young girl who loves to tap dance. She baby sits. She admits to having “girlie stuff” in her bedroom. And she can’t vote in a presidential election until 2016.
“This next election, I will be old enough to intern, so I will try hard to do that,” she says. “I want to put that on my college application.”
Meanwhile, Madeleine is on fast-forward, researching, planning and using her ‘administrator’ title to post her beliefs.
Youth for Palin, Madeleine said, was started by a South Carolina man named Rollin Ross to “encourage our youth to understand the political world today.” It has spread to Iowa, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina. A contact in Iowa asked Madeleine to take on an admin role.
“I’m very proud of her,” said Madeleine’s dad, Beard McAulay., said “I’m encouraging her to explore everything that’s out there but at the same time to verify what she reads and make sure she can back up what she believes is right.”
Madeleine believes she ought to be a government attorney. She sees herself at 25 as graduating law school. “I’m a very prompt person. I like to know what I’m going to do, and when I’m going to do it, even years in advance,” she said. “This past election got me really interested. It stuns me, the way they crucified her (Palin). There was a little too much family involved in her politics.
“Even if you look back at (1984 vice presidential candidate) Geraldine Ferraro, they treated her the same way, even though she was on the other side of the political frame.”
Beard McAulay, 45, who owns ABM Data Solutions, said it was in about sixth-grade that Madeleine’s ambition grasped her. “It was like a switch that flipped. She was suddenly motivated to do well in everything she did,” he said. “Maybe being around good teachers and good siblings, but we have this thing about striving for excellence.”
Madeleine has a brother and sister in college. Her home schooling was a family decision, and they chose Liberty because of its Christian values and the program’s promptness in returning grades.
“I’m a very quick worker, and online allows you a lot more flexibility,” Madeleine said. More time to push her own agenda:
• On the last election: “I watched the news every night to see who I would vote for. I was laughed at because I would always ask other kids if they were elephants or donkeys.”
• On Palin: “We are definitely on the same page. The only difference is abortion. I believe it should be under no circumstance (Palin yields if the mother’s life is threatened). I personally like that she’s against gay marriage, but I don’t think government should regulate it. I am against homosexuality. I believe what the Bible teaches.”
• On teens having out-of-wedlock children or experimenting with drugs: “It’s really sad because some of them just made a stupid mistake, or they didn’t grow up in a household that pressed Christian values. Those are the kids we need to encourage because if they knew more about how things worked, it would be a better world.”