As for Sarah Palin, I received a copy, yesterday, of the letter I attach below. It presents a different view of her than that which she put out last night. Generally speaking, I don't like negative screeds, but it does seem important to take a good look at the presumptive Republican vice president, and this letter, despite its obvious passion, steers mostly clear of the personal attack ("redneck," perhaps, is an exception!) No question but that it's an opinion piece. But it's well-written, I'd say, and well-informed, coming from a faculty member at the American University in Washington DC. I checked out the writer, Joyce L. Francis, to be sure that I was not simply promulgating scuttlebutt. It's written as a caution to Dr. Francis's Stanford University classmates whose possible loyalties to Hillary Clinton and the progress of women in politics might lead them to be taken in by the McCain/Palin rhetoric. It's worth a read, and I offer it as such. No one has to agree with her argument, but it comes from what appears to be a genuine, intelligent and thoughtful source.
As an Alaskan, I am writing to give all of you some information on Sarah Palin, Senator McCain's choice for VP. As an Alaska voter, I know more than most of you about her and, frankly, I am horrified that he picked her.
The most accurate description of her is redneck. Her husband works in the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and races snow mobiles. She is a life time member of the NRA and has worked tirelessly to allow indiscriminate hunting of wildlife in Alaska, particularly wolves and bears. She has spent millions of Alaska state dollars on aerial hunting of these predators from helicopters and airplanes, dollars that should have been spent, for example, on Alaska's failing school system. We have the lowest rate of high school graduation in the country. Not all of you may think aerial predator hunting is so bad, but how anyone (other than Alaska wolf-haters, of which there are many, most without teeth), could think this use of funds is appropriate is beyond me. If you want to know more about the aerial hunting travesty, let me know and I will send some links to informative web sites.
She has been a strong supporter of increased use of fossil fuels, yet the McCain campaign has the nerve to say she has "green" policies. The only thing green about Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. She has consistently supported drilling in ANWR, use of coal-burning power plants (as I write this, a new coal plant is being built in her home town of Wasilla), strip mining, and almost anything else that will unnecessarily exploit the diminishing resources of Alaska and destroy its environment.
Prior to her one year as governor of Alaska, she was mayor of Wasilla, a small red neck town outside Anchorage. The average maximum education level of parents of junior high school kids in Wasilla is 10th grade. Unfortunately, I have to go to Wasilla every week to get groceries and other supplies, so I have continual contact with the people who put Palin in office in the first place. I know what I'm talking about.
These people don't have a concept of the world around them or of the serious issues facing the US. Furthermore, they don't care. So long as they can go out and hunt their moose every fall, kill wolves and bears and drive their snow mobiles and ATVs through every corner of the wilderness, they're happy. I wish I were exaggerating.
Sarah Palin is currently involved in a political corruption scandal. She fired an individual in law enforcement here because she didn't like how he treated one of her relatives during a divorce. The man's performance and ability weren't considered; it was a totally personal firing and is currently under investigation. While the issue isn't close to the scandal of Ted Steven's corruption, it shows that Palin isn't "squeaky clean" and causes me to think there ay be more issues that could come to light. Clearly McCain doesn't care.
When you line Palin up with Biden, the comparison would be laughable if it weren't so serious. Sarah Palin knows nothing of economics (admittedly a weak area for McCain), or of international affairs, knows nothing of national government, Social Security, unemployment, health care systems - you name it. The idea of her meeting with heads of foreign governments around the world truly frightens me.
In an increasingly dangerous world, with the economy in shambles in the US, Sarah Palin is uniquely UNqualified to be vice president. John McCain is not a young man. Should something happen to him such that the vice president had to step in, it would destroy our country and possibly the world to have someone as inexperienced and inappropriate as Sarah Palin. The choice of Palin is a cheap shot by McCain to try to get Hillary supporters to vote for him. when McCain introduced her today, Palin had the nerve to compare herself with Hillary and Geraldine Ferraro. Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.
To those of you who, like me, supported Hilary and were upset that she did not get the nomination, please don't think that Sarah Palin is a worthy substitute. If you supported Hillary, regardless of what you think the media and the democratic party may have done to undermine her campaign, the person to support now is Obama, not Sarah Palin. To those of you who are independent or undecided, don't let the choice of Palin sway you in favor of McCain. Choosing her shows how unqualified McCain is to be president. To those of you who are conservative, I guess you have no choice for president. But please try to see how the poor choice of Palin tells us a great deal about McCain's judgment.
While the political posturing inherent in the choice of Palin is obvious, the more serious issue is the fact that the VP is, literally, a heartbeat away from the presidency. Sarah Palin is totally and unequivocally unqualified to be vice president, let alone president.
I know this is a lengthy and emotional email, but the stakes are high. I thought it might help for all of you, regardless of political affiliation, to know something about Palin from someone who has to live with her administration in Alaska on a daily basis.
Joyce L. Francis, Ph.D.
International Development Program
School of International Service, American University
Okay, make what you will of this one. No matter the political stuff, I send metta for her happiness, and goodwill to those Republicans at their convention. And that's hard!