So it seems that everyone on the Republican side is mesmerized by Governor Sarah Palin from Alaska. Here’s a woman, the first one on a GOP ticket, who no one knows about except that she can tell them the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull — lipstick. No one seems to be bothered that this woman, who is vehemently against abortion — even in cases of rape and incest — has no problem announcing that her 17-year old, unmarried daughter is currently pregnant. Didn’t she teach her daughter about abstinence?

But that’s not the focus of this opinion. The focus here is the question of whether Gov. Palin is for or against the first amendment. My question arises from the fact that the good governor, when she was simply the mayor of sleepy Wasilla, Alaska questioned the town librarian as to whether the she (the librarian, that is) would be comfortable with removing “questionable” books from the town library should she be asked to do so. A few months after Mary Ellen Emmons, the well liked town librarian, told Mayor Palin that she would definitely not be alright with such an idea she

got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

Palin didn’t ask Ms. Emmons just once on a whim but several times — 3 total. Once before she was sworn in as the Mayor of Wasilla, the second was in October of 1996 during a city council meeting. As related by Anne Kilkenny who attends city council meetings occasionally

“Sarah said to Mary Ellen, ‘What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?” Kilkenny said.

“I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, ‘The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'”

(White, Randi, “Palin Pressured Wasilla Librarian“, Alaska Daily News, September 4th 2008 )

It seems that Sarah Palin has a problem with the first amendment in terms of freedom of expression. It remains unanswered as to which books then Mayor Palin wanted banned but the fact that she asked the librarian three times — once in a city council meeting — and that indicates that this wasn’t just a passing fancy. The interesting thing is that now that items like this have come more and more to the surface I’m no longer sure whether there really is any difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull.

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