We’re hearing a lot about Alaska governor Sarah Palin, John McCain’s chosen vice-presidential candidate. A lot of what’s being reported is sensational, a lot of the rest is pretty much what you’d expect of a Republican on the national ticket (e.g. she’s anti-abortion and anti-birth control). But one thing struck me as unusual, going above and beyond what one would see in a Republican now stepping onto the national stage. According to a report in the New York Times:

Shortly after becoming mayor, former city officials and Wasilla residents said, Ms. Palin approached the town librarian about the possibility of banning some books, though she never followed through and it was unclear which books or passages were in question.

Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said.

The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.

Perhaps what’s even more bizarre than the idea of a United States mayor trying to ban books around the turn of the 21st century, is her “explanation” for this episode:

In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”

Huh? How does this make any sense? She went to the effort of firing someone, over a “rhetorical” question? Who the hell does Palin think she’s fooling? Not me, I’m not buying that lame excuse … and neither should you.

Note to Mrs Palin: If you really want to ban books, I suggest beginning with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; once you get that one out of everyone’s hands, banning others will become just a bit easier.

Folks, prepare for the worst, if Palin remains the VP nominee (not necessarily guaranteed, given her situation) — it’s clear to me that the GOP’s main issue, this election, won’t be cutting taxes, paring down government, or even McCain’s presumed strong-suit, foreign relations; it will be, instead, the “culture wars.” We’re going to hear all about how those eeeeevilll secular humanists (or to use Bill O’Reilly’s term, secular progressives) are trying to destroy the country. We will hear all about how Obama supports infanticide (when he doesn’t). We will hear about how the liberals want to hand the country over to “activist judges” (as if the conservatives who run the Supreme Court now are somehow not activists themselves!). We will hear about how terrible it is that God has been removed from “the public square.” We will hear all about how the Left is trying to malign poor Sarah Palin merely because she is a Christian (and by extension, presumably, the Left also wants to abolish all Christianity everywhere in the US).

In short, it’s going to get damned ugly, damned fast, and stay ugly, all the way to Election Day. Just the thought of it is giving me indigestion …

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