Monday, December 12, 2011
Lessons in American History : Sarah Palin, Richard Nixon, Joe McCarthy
Readers of this blog know I write because I am convinced it is important to continue to raise the issues of fraud perpetrated by Palin and McCain/Palin to keep pressure on the Republican Party and the media. Underlying my work is the belief that the former governor of Alaska, who quit before finishing one term, has been an extraordinarily divisive force in this country.
Remember hearing about Joe McCarthy or Richard Nixon? Well, add the name Sarah Palin to that list.
Each in his or her own time, wrapped themselves in the American flag (figuratively speaking) and used their political influence to pit some Americans against other Americans, step on the rights of citizens with whom they disagreed, and used the Constitution as their weapon of choice in battles against evil as defined by them and others like them.
Yes, Sarah Palin has a place in history. Will we, as a nation, somehow learn from these years, will historians point to the McCain/Palin ticket as having ushered in a rebirth of the late 60s unrest and the mid-fifties witch hunts? The Tea Party Conservatives want to take their country back. Back to that?
Here's an R. Crumb cartoon from an "underground" comic circa 1972; it could be about Occupy Wall Street today.
Now compare that with today's events. Occupy Wall Street protesters are being arrested. What happened to the right to assemble and to freedom of speech. Sarah takes the stage and yells out "America, do you love your freedom?" But has she tweeted one word of support to OWS? I don't think so.
And how about the treatment independent filmmaker (2011 release Sarah Palin, You Betcha!) Nick Broomfield got when he and his staff arrived in the US via the Seattle airport? The name Sarah Palin turned what should have been a civil welcome to our UK visitors into a veritable nightmare complete with bullying and physical assault. This is from his recent article in the Daily Mail :
October 24, 2010: ...Everything is going fine at Seattle airport until they find out we are doing a film about Sarah Palin. The authorities go mad. They search our bags and detain my two researchers. [My assistant] Sarah, 22, is subjected to a urine test against her wishes – just in case she is pregnant and tries to get citizenship by giving birth on US soil. Her colleague Mark is spreadeagled against the wall and given a rectal search before being handcuffed. The 25-year-old spends the night on a filthy floor littered with cigarette butts. They are both sent back to England, supposedly because they don’t have the right visas.
So the next time Sarah Palin takes the stage and shouts “America, do you love your freedoms?” (and she will be on stages again, all too soon) and follows shortly with patriotic blather about veterans and of course, pats herself on the back for Track having worn the uniform of the United States Army, resist the impulse to turn away, and instead, look at it as a history lesson. Listen and watch as the crowd cheers. This is a lesson for your children's children. In the past, feelings of pride in America and feelings of paranoia in a leader have converged to make patriotism a social weapon. That's what I'm seeing on the stage at the Republican debates. It became fashionable all over again when accessorized with a pair of red Naughty Monkey pumps.
I'm proud of my country. But I'm not proud of some of our behavior. I'm not proud of the uniformed personnel using mace on peaceful student sit-ins or pepper-spraying an octogenarian. I'm not proud of our Seattle airport personnel, and I'm not proud that Sarah Palin was chosen to run for VP.
I’m all for freedom of speech. I'm exercising my right to freedom of speech as I write this today. But I don't believe that putting crosshairs over political opponents' locations and publishing a map of targets is a wise application of that freedom.
I appreciate the military men and women. My son-in-law served seven years post-911. Where I have a problem with Sarah Palin, is that her brand of freedom is not for everyone. It’s only for everyone who agrees with her. I have a problem with a person who says our men and women in service overseas are “Patriots” and then stays totally silent when an audience at a Republican candidate debate is shown a video clip of a soldier and boos loudly upon learning he is gay. I have a problem with that. You betcha.
No, I don’t blame Sarah Palin for all of this. It existed before she became a celebrity. However, she chose to use her celebrity to promote divisiveness, even hate. Sarah Palin is near-sighted and self-absorbed. Books by Dunn, Bailey and McGinnis provided example after example so I don’t have to. Nick Broomfield provides a new account to us in the Daily Mail, and I'm disgusted.
Sarah Palin has a place in history. Period. Like it or not, our children’s children will hear her name. But what will the story of Sarah Palin be after historians have a decade or two to analyze it? Will we somehow, as a nation, learn from these years and these experiences and become better and stronger because of lessons learned from McCain’s Folly? Or will this be one of the points historians see as lacking civility and a time when freedom, honesty, and democracy had a precipitous decline. Remember, it’s happened before. There was the Joe McCarthy era. And we elected Richard Nixon to four more years.
Thank God we did not elect McCain/Palin for even one term. It's bad enough that she didn't go away and that he didn't make good on his election night promise to support this president in a bi-partisan way. Country First - what a joke. About as funny as an R. Crumb comic called "Four More Years."
(Post script: R. Crumb may have known that the song "God Bless America" was a tool used by politicians in the late depression-era. My Thanksgiving post, "This Land Was Made for YOU and ME," provided that bit of history, because it was part of the reason Arlo Gutherie penned the words to the classic folk song, "This Land is Your Land.")