A friend of mine said “it pisses me off to hear our hometown mentioned on NPR in relation to the frikkin Republican ticket.” I couldn’t agree more. So I thought I’d pitch in my two cents about Sarah Palin, her beliefs, and why she is not a representative of all Wasillans, or Alaskans, or indeed of many women or men that I personally know.
I moved to Wasilla in 1975 and lived there from first grade through high school graduation, in 1986. We were a one high school town, and as such, everyone knew everyone. It’s a small town, with the benefits and drawbacks that includes. If you’d like to see the teeming metropolis (I kid) that Wasilla is today, click here. Of course not everyone in even a small town believes the same things.
From Moveon.org, here’s a list of Sarah Palin’s stand on several issues, with my comments on the other way of looking at things.
- Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is “God’s task.” She’s even admitted she hasn’t thought about the war much-just last year she was quoted saying, “I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” 1, 2
- Many Wasillans, and former Wasillans, believe that “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” Many of us, even though we are very busy, are paying attention to the war in Iraq and are actively involved in promoting Peace. We know that this has been a war that has failed. Many of us believe in an end to all political violence, and seek actively to create a world of understanding and one in which “God” and “War” are finally and forever dissociated from each other in the lexicon of humanity. We read extensively about current events. Oh and we watch The Daily Show too.
- Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group-who advocate for a vote on secession from the union-to “keep up the good work” and “wished the party luck on what she called its ‘inspiring convention.'” 3
- Many Wasillans and former Wasillans feel it is ironic that someone who is married to a person in favor of Alaskan secession from the USA is hoping to become the Vice President of the USA.
- Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn’t made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
- Many Wasillans and former Wasillans have degrees from accredited Universities, and know that evolution is a fact. Douglas Futuyma writes in his Evolutionary Biology book “The statement that organisms have descended with modifications from common ancestors–the historical reality of evolution–is not a theory. It is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth’s revolution about the sun.” In fact, they even taught us this at Wasilla High.
- Palin doesn’t believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, “I’m not one though who would attribute it to being manmade.” 5
- Many Wasillans and former Wasillans have seen the film An Inconvenient Truth, and are using canvas bags and driving a Prius. Additionally, we know from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that “this era of global warming is unlikely to be entirely natural in origin and the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence of the global climate.” Many of us know the consequences of, and are actively trying to reduce the effects of Global Warming.
- Palin has close ties to Big Oil. (And supports oil drilling in the ANWR and OCS) Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
- Many Wasillans and former Wasillans know that human beings have a responsibility to be good stewards of the planet – after all, its the only one we’ve got. While oil is currently a needed commodity, we know that the future of energy lies in renewable resources and not in more drilling of oil, and especially not in the fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Defenders of Wildlife says, “The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge in the United States, encompasses 19 million acres and provides habitat to a diverse array of wildlife including millions of migratory birds, caribou, three species of bears (polar, grizzly and black bears), wolves, Dall sheep, muskoxen, arctic and red foxes, wolverines, plus many more. The nearby continental shelf provides the coastal waters with a rich nutrient base, which in turn supports a variety of marine mammals including the endangered bowhead whale.” Sarah supports the aerial shooting of wolves and opposes placing polar bears and beluga whales on the list of endangered species, despite “overwhelming scientific evidence that such listings are warranted.” Learn more about why it’s so important to protect Alaska’s environment.
- Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn’t even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
- Many Wasillans and former Wasillans believe strongly in making good and informed choices about becoming parents, and use birth control. We also believe that women have full and soverign control over their fertility and pregnancy. We are involved with Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Organization for Women, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Most major feminist organizations support pro-choice positions. As a woman, I respect other women enough to allow them to make these decisions, and I would hope that Sarah Palin, a woman like the rest of us who benefited from the Women’s Movement, would give other women that respect too.
- Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She’s said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
- Many Wasillans, and former Wasillans, are the beneficiaries of sex education and remained thankfully un-pregnant, even after all those Saturday nights learning about love in the back seat. Many of us believe that sex is a normal, healthy activity, and want the children and teenagers of our society to learn about it in an age-appropriate way, enabling them to make healthy choices. Many of us know that sex-education in schools is a good thing.
- As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them-shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, “news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.” 9
- Book banning, Really??!? As a former English Teacher, I can’t possibly imagine what Sarah could be thinking. Maybe she needs to get out more. Maybe she should read some of these books. I know I don’t want to live in a government that believes in banning books. If a book is being challenged or banned in your community, the ALA can help you do something about it.
So, I’d like the world to know that while Sarah is from our hometown, and she is from a very nice family, she doesn’t speak for all of us. Many Wasillans, and former Wasillans, will be voting for Obama, a man with a dream for America. You can read his stance on the issues here.
I’d like to add that with the current media fixation on Sarah and the Republican party, (a party that induces nasty hangovers) it is easy to become fearful that they might actually win. Do not be discouraged… focus on the good. Hold a space in your heart and mind for Obama. Contribute to the rise in consciousness that is happening on the planet. Think positive! And, read and share this article by Eve Ensler on her Palin nightmares.