Monday, November 10, 2008

An Open Letter To Governor Sarah Palin

Governor Palin,

I am writing today as a citizen because I am concerned about the very dangerous, hateful and lingering tone of your recently ended campaign.

I’ve read several news accounts concerning Secret Service reports that your campaign rhetoric aimed at Barack Obama had a dramatic and direct affect in increasing the number of death threats against Barack Obama and his family, especially among white supremacist groups.

The most troubling thing about this is the fact that you failed to comprehend what the long-term consequences could be when you engaged in this type of rhetoric or how it might endanger Senator Obama. It appears that winning the election was more important to you then any concerns for the personal safety of President Elect Barack Obama or his family. It has also been reported in the press that you engaged in this type of campaigning even though McCain advisors thought it unwise and told you not to go there. If true, it shows that John McCain realized the negative nature of such campaign tactics and you simply decided to ignore it.

Coinciding with the time you were making speeches claiming Barack Obama was a terrorist sympathizer based on his obscure associations with William Ayres, or you were trying to paint him as unpatriotic using other unsubstantiated guilt by association themes, your rallies began to attract a number of individuals that any reasonable person watching would justifiability describe as extreme or outright racist.

Georgia Representative John Lewis warned you during the campaign that your rhetoric was “sowing the seeds of hatred and division”, something you and John McCain to this day fail to acknowledge. Instead you and Senator McCain commenced in the tactic of blaming the victims and the messenger. Congressman Lewis lived through the most tumultuous years of the civil rights movement in this country and certainly should have been given the benefit of the doubt when it came to recognizing the effect of dangerous and inflammatory speech.

The problem Governor Palin is that you didn’t seem to realize what your actions could do. By engaging in this type of subtle race baiting and by labeling your opponent as unpatriotic and a terrorist you are directly responsible for the lingering and dangerous atmosphere that now exist and could threaten the safety of the President Elect Obama.

Even though it is impossible to un-ring the bell, I think you owe it to the American people and the Obama family to publicly take some sort of action to make it clear that you believe that most of what was said during the campaign about President Elect Obama patriotism or “palling around with terrorists” was nothing more then heated campaign hyperbole and it would be unconscionable that anyone contemplate bringing harm to anyone based on what was said during the campaign.

It should be a time for healing in America and you have a responsibility now to reel in the white supremacist, extremists and even the unstable elements of your own Republican party. I think you should publicly denounce white supremacist groups and individuals who may think it justifiable because of what you have said who now feel somehow justified in considering harm to the President Elect. Given the number of unstable and extreme individuals who take you at your word it would not be unreasonable to think that they believe that your words have given them license to bring harm to the President Elect Obama.

Finally, It is unfortunate that you did not have the personal gravitas or class to realize that you maybe opening an unpredictable Pandora’s box of hatred by partaking in the type of dangerous and extreme rhetoric you spouted at your rallies in the first place. It does not speak highly of your understanding of the power of certain words and of the world at large. Especially coming from someone who was supposedly intelligent enough to be a heart beat away from the President.

I’d be interested in immediately knowing what you intend to do to address the issues I’ve raised in this letter.


Daniel O’Brien
Vashon Island, WA

No comments:

Post a Comment