NYT blogger Judith Warner has a great post up today: a description of her experiences communing with other mothers at a McCain/Palin rally in Virginia.

Warner had expected, she writes, to be amused by the spectacle of red-garbed Palin Moms—“I figured funny things were bound to befall us in Palin-Land”—but, instead, she found herself moved by it.

No, it wasn’t funny, my morning with the hockey and the soccer moms, the homeschooling moms and the book club moms, the joyful moms who brought their children to see history in the making and spun them on the lawn, dancing, when music played. It was sobering. It was serious. It was an education.

“Palin Power” isn’t just about making hockey moms feel important. It’s not just about giving abortion rights opponents their due. It’s also, in obscure ways, about making yearnings come true — deep, inchoate desires about respect and service, hierarchy and family that have somehow been successfully projected onto the figure of this unlikely woman and have stuck.

What Warner describes is a kind of Conversion Experience of the Liberal, a movement from bemused condescension toward the Other—those liberals, always so smug!—to surprised appreciation for that Other. Her description of that experience could be trite and condescending (and in places, okay, it is), but it manages ultimately to be touching and illuminating—and, for that matter, refreshingly honest about cultural differences between Left and Right that, though amplified in the media, are also very real. Well worth a read.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.