Monday, September 8, 2008

Just a Loyalty Test

(This post is in regards to a column in the Boston Herald, "Palin asked Wasilla librarian about censoring books." Via Sherry Chandler.)

Much has been made lately of Sarah Palin's questions to a Wasilla, Alaska librarian about removing books from library shelves. The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons (now Baker), refused, and she is much to be lauded because of it.

Then-Mayor Palin was all set to dismiss her (if Mrs. Palin's immediate predecessor -- John Stein -- could appoint Ms. Emmons to the post, it stands to reason that Mrs. Palin could dismiss her) until public disapprobation dissuaded her.

But that came after a letter asking for Ms. Emmon's resignation. The police chief, the public works director, and the finance director also got similar letters. These letters were explained by Palin at the time as "loyalty tests," which is what has got me all het up.

Emmons and Police Chief Irl Stambaugh had publicly supported John Stein against Mrs. Palin during the election. To then ask for their resignation within the first few months of her term would seem to me retaliatory and pugnacious, with an intent to suppress opposition to her candidacy and her administration, and on a larger scope, to prevent private citizens who hold public positions from expressing their endorsements at any time, the state's or their own.

And to term such letters "loyalty tests" is to mistake oneself for the state. Does Mrs. Palin expect loyalty to her personally to trump the loyalty of public officials to their jobs and the people? Are we living in a democracy, or a feudal system? Does Mrs. Palin give out treasure and land to people who prove themselves loyal to her? I guess it's just plum jobs and sinecures nowadays, but I'm not sure I'd trust her not to abuse eminent domain if she thought she could get away with it.

This woman does not deserve to be anywhere near the levers of power at any level in this country, or any other. Her disposition to abuse her power in order to exercise her grudges is indisputably established at this point. What did she ask the Alaska State Troopers to do? What would she ask the Secret Service to do?

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