I sure as hell wouldn't ask her, as some have, how she can take care of five kids, including a special-needs baby and a pregnant teen, while she's running for office and serving as VP. Her husband can do that just as well as she can. In fact, it's insulting to fathers to imply that the kids will somehow be running wild and uncared-for if she's off campaigning and doing whatever warm-pitcher-of-spit duties she gets if she is elected. They may wind up dressed funny, but they'll be fine if he's in charge. Or, if her husband keeps working outside the home, then she and her husband will juggle two jobs and child-rearing just like tens of millions of American families do. So latter-day Victorians like "Dr." Laura Schlessinger who say she's a bad mom can bite me. So can opportunist bloggers and commentators who say the same thing or, at least, link Dr. Laura without giving her a well-deserved kick in her career-scold ass. Good God, Biden decided to embark on his Senatorial career with two young kids who had just been seriously injured in the car crash that killed their mom and sister. Why aren't Dr. Laura and her friends of convenience all over that?
So what would I ask her? Well, there are plenty of serious questions that I could ask. But I think I'd probably want to ask about a little thing that, out of all of the negative coverage about her, most made me think I would not like or respect her. I'd ask her about books, and the banning thereof. See, I like books more than I like most people.
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.
In 1996, Ms. Palin suggested to the local paper, The Frontiersman, that the conversations about banning books were “rhetorical.”
That's pretty sketchy. I know from my own practice that small-town public records are often scattered and incomplete. But I'd like to know more. I'd like to ask her this:
1. Governor, what books did you want to consider banning from the library, albeit rhetorically?
2. What, as precisely as possible, made those books morally or socially objectionable?
3. Should libraries — and other public institutions that make books available to the public — remove books that offend some segment of the population? If so, what segment, and what is the standard for what is sufficiently offensive to warrant removal?
4. What kind of harm is threatened by morally or socially objectionable books, and to whom?
I'd like to hear what she has to say.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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