Monday, 6 April 2009
Sarah Palin's supporters and censorship
Conservatives4Palin have a call to action to "clean up" the comments section of the ADN. The idea is to target advertisers and encourage them to stop placing ads next to the "filth" the ADN allow on their pages.
Here's one paragraph of a very long article:
"Your promises to clean up the poison at adn.com have turned out to be completely insincere. Enough is enough. No more invective about white trash, hillbillies, methamphetamine or crack cocaine use, or trailer parks. No more snarky comments about the purported sex lives of the Governor or her children, such as statements that the Governor was listening to her daughter "breeding" in her own home. No more insults towards special needs children, or speculation about the parenting skills of the Governor and her husband. No more assertions that the Governor is not the mother of her youngest child. These claims all appear on your website on a regular basis and are deeply offensive to all decent people."
I agree, some of the comments are of a personal nature.
Let's cast our minds back to the vice presidential campaign. Who campaigned on a platform of family values? Who suggested that small town values reflected true America?
Sarah Palin ran a deeply personal campaign, her family was paraded in the rallies for all to see. Willow and Piper signed countless autographs. Sarah Palin considers her children officials of the state and claims expenses for their travel, her reasoning being that they are on official state business.
Sarah Palin told the whole world that Wasilla was an example to the rest of America, that the people from her small town were true Americans because they had proper values.
When both of them failed to live up to her claims, when her family and small town values proved to be less than desirable, people started questioning Sarah Palin just as forcefully as she had trumpeted the whole idea of perfect family and perfect small town which implied their example should be followed by other American families and other American towns.
Sarah Palin exposed her own daughter as a pregnant unwed teenager to counter rumours regarding her pregnancy with Trig. A birth certificate and relevant medical records would have sufficed to prove that she, Sarah Palin, had given birth to Trig and her daughter's privacy would have been preserved. Sarah Palin's own actions perpetuated the rumours and spawned all the birth conspiracies, making her daughter and the babies in question legitimate targets of public curiosity.
Sarah Palin included Levi in her family entourage. He became part of the family, sharing the same values. Until very recently he was part of the illusion of strong family values, as seen in the Greta Van Susteren interview. Sarah Palin has a hotline to People magazine to confirm or deny reports about her family. She issues press releases on her official Governor's website regarding her family, Levi included. Now she's disappointed because Levi is flying solo, stating the facts as he sees them. He was a private citizen until the vice presidential campaign. Sarah Palin made him a public figure, nobody else.
Sarah Palin waxed lyrical about the importance of her marvellous extended family, about how they all pitch in together and help each other. So when Diana Palin, who belongs to the marvellous extended family, behaves in a way that reflects badly on the family and small town "better" values, the public has the right to question the Governor's previous assertions. Sarah Palin made her whole extended family public figures, not by naming them individually, but by painting them as a model, an example to be followed by all other American families.
Sarah Palin's family cannot be out-of-bounds for the simple reason that she herself put them in the public arena in no uncertain terms.
The fact that neither the family nor the small town lived up to her claims is something she will have to live with, as will her supporters.
Sarah Palin used both of them to promote her own agenda, now her supporters can't cry foul and claim that members of the public are not entitled to comment on what they see as blatant hypocrisy.
Censorship will not make the facts more palatable or absolve Sarah Palin of the responsibility of placing her own family and town under public scrutiny in the first place.