Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Another report on Palin from a fellow Wasilla resident

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The full post is here, and it begins:

Ryan Quinn is a writer whose work has appeared in, XC Skier Magazine, and The Anchorage Daily News. He is a former college athlete and NCAA Division I National Champion, and came out to his teammates at the University of Utah during his sophomore year of college. He is often called upon to speak on panels discussing identity and social barriers in sports and culture. He was born and raised in Alaska, and now lives in New York City.

To my fellow Americans:

I’m an Alaskan. I grew up in Wasilla. Sarah Palin was my mayor. She wanted to ban books at the library where my parents taught me how to read. There have been many interesting pieces of journalism introducing my gun toting, mooseburger-eating former neighbors (I now live in Manhattan) to the rest of the country, and most have focused on how proud Alaskans are of their governor making the surprise leap to the big leagues.

Sarah Palin’s story is compelling, but it is one that could happen only in Alaska, where the politics and the economy are simple and where it’s not difficult to spend a lifetime sheltered from the complexities and diversity of the outside world. I love my home state; I wouldn’t trade my childhood there with anyone. And I hope the Palin intrigue will translate into a boost in tourism that will further enrich the state’s $5 billion budget surplus, so that when Gov. Palin returns to Juneau in November she can continue to serve Alaska’s interests with relative ease.

But as reporters roam the streets where I grew up, chatting with my ecstatic neighbors, I feel compelled to offer another view, as an American, by pointing out that John McCain has demonstrated an alarming lapse of judgment by choosing Sarah Palin as his party’s VP candidate. Choosing a running mate was his first and only concrete test of judgment in the campaign process. Here’s why he failed.

My fellow Alaskans have vouched for Palin as a charming, interesting person. I can add to that that she is perfectly friendly. But now she is running for the highest office and so it must be noted that Sarah Palin the Friendly Neighbor is different from Sarah Palin the Executive. The latter is a woman with intense agendas guided by a narrow set of culturally conservative and extreme religious values. She believes that abstinence should be the only form of sex education taught to teenagers; she believes that creationism should be taught alongside science in our schools; she is against a woman’s right to choose even in the cases of incest and rape; and her church believes gay and lesbian Americans can and, one assumes, should be corrected by prayer (“pray away the gay” is their cheery slogan).

When she was mayor of my hometown, these extreme views came off as petty and irrelevant to people like me who did not share them. There seemed little cause for alarm. Most Alaskans are happy to live and let live; we don’t think of ourselves as Republican or Democrat. Besides, as mayor, it’s not like she had the power to wiretap our phones, amend our constitution, or send us to war.

But she did try to use her power to ban books. Wasilla’s popular public librarian rightly objected, and the community rightly backed the librarian. The books were never banned, though Mrs. Palin did fire the librarian for not agreeing with her political views, then rescinded the firing after it was clear she’d made an unpopular decision. Sarah Palin’s behavior is revealing: in a state as isolated as Alaska, in a town as small as Wasilla, books are vital to the culture and to the education of its residents. The small town values I learned growing up included attending story hour at the public library. Those values most certainly did not include trying to ban books that the mayor’s church friends didn’t think other people should read.

It will be interesting to see what effect Gov. Palin’s penchant for reform will have on the McCain campaign. Will she put one of Cindy McCain’s private jets on eBay? Maybe one of the McCain’s seven houses? It certainly hasn’t meant she’ll answer any questions from voters or the press. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2008 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Daily life

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