Frank Miele: Governor Palin Must Never Shut Up

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Frank Miele puts pen to paper to express some of the things I've pointed out in times past: there is nothing extreme or scary about the values Governor Palin espouses--not to those who actually listen. He also points out how absurd is the notion that those who lie about her, twist her words, and make accusations against her do so because they expect her to do something she has not--and must not--do: shut up. In his article, "What's so scary about Sarah?" he writes:

Some people don’t like Sarah Palin.

As an intellectual exercise, you might want to ask yourself why that is.

Is it because they don’t like her personally or because they don’t agree with her ideas?

I suppose some people might not like her because she speaks with a funny accent, or because she is from a rural state or because she likes to hunt and fish.

I think we can all agree that people who don’t like her for any of those reasons, or because (shudder!) she goes to church, are narrow-minded and not really worthy of serious consideration. Besides, all of those characteristics could apply to Abe Lincoln just as easily, and from what we know he was considered quite likable personally.

But what if it is her ideas that people don’t like? Isn’t that fair?

[...]

Whatever happened to that civility we keep hearing about? It doesn’t seem to apply when people talk about Sarah Palin. She has been vilified and smeared from the instant she arrived on the national scene as John McCain’s vice-presidential pick. People have wished for her death. They have insulted her children. They have twisted her words. They have painted her as incoherent and illogical and finally — with the Tucson shooting — as an inspiration for killers.

And that’s just what her fellow Republicans have said about her!

Here’s a sampling at random:

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan: “...there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office.”

Columnist Kathleen Parker: “Clearly Out Of Her League.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: “I think that she’s got to slow down and be more careful and think through what she’s saying and how she’s saying it.”

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum: Palin “should stop talking now.”

Those last two comments seem to represent the mainstream Republican view of Palin — and certainly the mainstream Democratic view: SHE SHOULD JUST SHUT UP.

But why?

Well, let’s face it, the usual reason people want to see someone else shut up is because they disagree with that person’s point of view. It’s not rocket science. The more your enemy talks, the more chance there is that someone will listen.

And what exactly is it that Palin is saying that mainstream Republicans are afraid of? What is she saying that scares all establishment politicians?

When you analyze her scary ideas, they usually come down to this — a belief in individual liberty and responsibility, a belief in limited government, a belief in American exceptionalism, and a belief in a Creator.

So what part of those things is offensive or stupid? What part of that “agenda” do mainstream Republicans want to run away from?

Individual liberty, responsibility, and limited government? Those ideas come from our Founding Fathers. American exceptionalism? That idea comes from a study of history. Belief in a Creator? That idea is the bedrock on which all our liberties are built. Look in the Declaration of Independence if you don’t want to look in the Bible.

Just to make sure there was nothing scary about Sarah, I read the full text of Sarah Palin’s Facebook statement about the Arizona shooting, which has been widely denounced as reprehensible, mostly by Democrats such as Chris Matthews and Jon Stewart. PoliticusUSA blogger Sarah Jones attacked the statement for its “volatile, incendiary rhetoric.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman said it showed “a complete ignorance of history — or blatant anti-Semitism.”

I encourage you to read Palin’s statement for yourself (see link below). Or watch it on Facebook. Just visit www.facebook.com/sarahpalin and look for the posting under the terrifying title, “America’s Enduring Strength.”

I can find nothing in it that any patriotic American — Republican, Democrat or independent — could possibly disagree with. It begins with a broken heart, mourning and “a healing process for the families touched by this tragedy and for our country.” It ends with a prayer for the victims of the tragedy and a plea for “God’s guidance and the peace He provides.” In between, there is a lengthy meditation on the American spirit, the American political system, and American values.

It is a very thoughtful statement — filled with the kind of serious discourse we claim that we as Americans want our leaders to engage in — but because it was made by Sarah Palin, it was immediately dismissed as self-serving and sophomoric. Pundits pounced to persuade the consumers of cable news that Palin was once again fomenting hate. That Palin is not like the rest of America. That her ideas are somehow foreign and unattractive. That she is mean-spirited and downright stupid.

But listen to what she actually said about the shooting in Tucson and the debate that followed, and you will find out that she was just the opposite — kind-hearted, generous and thoughtful.

“Our exceptional nation, so vibrant with ideas and the passionate exchange and debate of ideas, is a light to the rest of the world,” Palin said. “Congresswoman Giffords and her constituents were exercising their right to exchange ideas that day, to celebrate our Republic’s core values and peacefully assemble to petition our government. It’s inexcusable and incomprehensible why a single evil man took the lives of peaceful citizens that day...”

See anything you disagree with there?

How about this?

“The last election was all about taking responsibility for our country’s future. President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process. Two years ago his party was victorious. Last November, the other party won. In both elections the will of the American people was heard, and the peaceful transition of power proved yet again the enduring strength of our Republic.”

Not too radical, is it?

But what really bothered Palin haters is that she actually responded to their outrageous claims that she was somehow responsible for what the alleged pot-smoking, Bush-hating gunman did in Tucson. In other words, they were once again mad at her for daring to speak.

“Like many, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance. After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event,” she said.

“Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

Well, it’s easy to see why the irresponsible journalists and pundits who blamed Palin for the shooting deaths in Tucson would take offense at being chastised. But for the life of me I can’t see why the American public would consider Sarah Palin dangerous because she told the truth.

[...]

Palin likewise has been wrongfully accused, the blood in Tucson laid at her feet, and yet she was supposed to accede to this libel without protest for the sake of presumptive “civility.” Again, the message to Sarah Palin both before and after her Facebook statement is the same: Shut up, Sarah!

But Sarah did not shut up, and her words — for those who can be bothered to study them — are thoughtful and profound.

“In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.”

Nor does she leave it in the abstract. She provides evidence from nearly a year ago that she abhors political violence, and has said so publicly.

“As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms,’ we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box — as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.”

Please read the entire text of Palin’s statement. Let me know if you are offended by any of her praise of American ideals. And as you meditate on the vast difference between what she said and what the mainstream media would have you believe she said, please pay close attention to the following words:

“No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.”

If you don’t like Sarah Palin, that’s your business. But if you try to shut her up, that’s everybody’s business. She is the voice of liberty. Silence it, and we all suffer.

Amen, my brother. Amen!

Read the full piece here.

(h/t Doug Brady)

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