Well, I usually try to keep my blog relatively non-political. But this week marks the most passionate I’ve felt about electoral politics for the first time since 1992. Don’t get me wrong, I was really inspired by the Democratic National Convention. What an amazing and historic time to be an American, when the top two people vying for a major party nomination are African-American and female.
I had already made up my mind to vote for Barack Obama long before the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket. The fact that his VP candidate is female does not change my mind. You see, while I would love to see a woman in the Oval Office (and I think it could happen in my lifetime), Sarah Palin is not the one.
I’m a little bit puzzled by the tremendous splash that she’s made, considering that we know so little about her. Sure, we know that she’s a hockey mom, her husband’s a snowmobiling champion, and her teenage daughter is pregnant engaged and expecting a baby with her fiancé. But none of those things are relevant, in my opinion. Here are some things that are:
1. As the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she asked the town librarian if it would be possible to have certain books banned from the library (the librarian refused). A few months later, Palin tried to fire the librarian; a groundswell of public support helped save the librarian’s job.
2. Palin is currently under investigation by the Alaska State Legislature for abuse of power with regard to the dismissal of Alaska’s Commissioner of Public Safety. Recently, Palin’s lawyers have pressed for an end to the investigation, saying that the issue falls within the purview of the state Personnel Board. Members of the Alaska Personnel Board are appointed by the Governor.
3. Palin made several misrepresentations in her Vice-Presidential nomination acceptance speech. Among these was her claim that she said “thanks but no thanks” to federal funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere.” While she did eventually decline the funding, a promise to pursue federal funding for the bridge was part of her gubernatorial campaign. More of these “misstatements” and their rebuttals can be found in this article by Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn.
5. In her speech Wednesday, Palin spoke of helping families of children with special needs. I don’t doubt that she now wants to help, especially since she now has a child with Down Syndrome. However, as Governor of Alaska, she has slashed spending for special needs education by 62%.
6. Palin has made no secret of her anti-abortion stance; she is opposed to legal abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. She has also supported “abstinence-only” sex education programs. And if those don’t work, I guess there’s always marriage, right? Unless you’re gay (sorry).
7. Palin is a creationist, and believes creationism should be taught in school science classes alongside evolution (to her credit, she has not tried to push a creationist agenda as Alaska’s governor).
8. Palin and her husband were fundraisers for Pat Buchanan, erstwhile presidential candidate with a storied history of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, and general hatefulness.
Still curious? Here are some other great links:
- A very eloquent response to Palin’s snarky mockery of community organizers
- An amusing look at the use of language by the McCain-Palin team
- A Daily Show clip that deftly points out the hypocrisy shown by Republicans in their Hillary-hate and subsequent Palin-philia
- Last but not least: A beautifully-written open letter by Anne Kilkenny, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, longtime acquaintance of Sarah Palin’s, and my new hero. She has no government job to lose as a consequence for speaking up; however, I can imagine that she has angered many Palin supporters with her candor. Kilkenny had asked that her letter be e-mailed but not posted on the internet (due to wackos). However, since her letter has now been posted all over the blogosphere, I’m linking to it.
One more very important thing: Sarah Palin is UNQUALIFIED to occupy a position that is a 72-year-old’s heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States of America.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to forward this post to anyone if you’re worried that they’re about to drink the Palin Koolaid.