No, Sarah, you’re wrong on this one…

Just finished reading the transcript of Sarah Palin’s “America’s Enduring Strength” video.

Following some well-spoken and I’m sure heart-felt words of sympathy, Sarah missed an incredible opportunity to speak for positive change. Instead, she felt the need to defend herself against opinions that took offense to some arguably offensive political rhetoric.

I am no longer a fan of Mrs. Palin, although I was for quite some time. I began to have mixed opinions of her during the presidential campaign. I was sorely disappointed in her when she resigned as governor, but held out hope that she would take advantage of her unique position and popularity to make a positive difference. She has made a difference, but I personally don’t see it as positive, and in the process she’s demonstrated what I perceive to be poor judgment.

Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions.

Yes, but there are limits to what is considered “spirited” debate; too much symbolism of weapons might just start blurring the lines.

…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.

So is using a term so full of hatred and discrimination to respond in your own defense. What might have been useful was a little self-reflection. As tempting as it is to immediately defend one’s actions when criticized, it’s a better idea to consider if the criticism has some value. I don’t think anyone who criticized Palin’s targets (“surveyor marks”? Seriously?) was accusing her of deliberately or maliciously contributing to the attack. I think there was a legitimate point that her inflammatory speech probably crossed a line that thoughtful people attempt to refrain from crossing. Perhaps Mrs. Palin didn’t see that line until it was too late, or until someone pointed it out to her–I’m guilty of that error all too often. And I’ve often been defensive about it, particularly if I speak without thinking first. But I’m trying to work on becoming a better, more self-controlled, less offensive member of society, so my previous behavior shouldn’t be held up as a model. Since Mrs. Palin’s every public move these days appears to be considered and polished, I’m sure she had time to think about whether or not she might have crossed a line. Obviously she doesn’t think she did. I respectfully disagree.

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?

Apparently, Mrs. Palin sees the line as somewhere in the vicinity of the use of dueling pistols, although she doesn’t clearly state which side of the line said illegal activity falls on in her eyes.

In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial.

I agree! Unfortunately, Mrs. Palin’s next sentence starts with “But…” and she begins to tell us how the Founding Fathers seemed to be approving of less than civil discourse because they created a system that allowed for it. However, Mrs. Palin, I believe our leaders should set an example of how we should all aspire to behave.

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.

At this point I wanted to go running to “Google”. Couldn’t this have been turned around to apply to some of her reactions to dissenters?

“…Those who embrace evil and call it good.” Huh? Where did that happen? Did I miss someone calling this incident good? Sorry, this doesn’t make any sense, and it seems inflammatory to me.

We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy. We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner…

The irony screams at me from these two sentences: How can we be “united in our desire to peacfully engage in the great debates…” when a dissenting opinion is labeled “mindless finger-pointing” to be endured???

I’m sorry, Mrs. Palin, but just because down at the Mug Shot Saloon, people start calling names, speaking in hyperbole, and denigrating their opponent in a disagreement, that does not make it acceptable for the leaders of our nation to do so. You aspire to leadership, but leadership demands a higher standard of behavior than that of the common man. Our Founding Fathers were not common men, they were statesmen. They understood that just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. If you hope to be a leader, you need to demonstrate that you understand that words have power, and leaders’ words have influence, and must be considered carefully. You also could stand a large dose of humility; you should consider that you might have made a mistake. It’s OK, all of us humans do. The more noble humans will admit to mistakes, and learn from them.

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