Palin and Suffering

Sarah Palin is more dangerous than Dick Cheney with a loaded AK-47. Last week, while speaking (or “tweeting”) out against plans for a new mosque near NYC’s Ground Zero, the former Alaskan governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee proved what many have  suspected all along-that she is both ignorant and intolerant.

Palin’s comment, “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate,” is equally as offensive to Muslim-Americans as it is to Noah Webster’s memory. Sure, Palin may be a self-proclaimed “maverick,” but using imaginary words isn’t nearly as brave or rebellious as it is stupid (either “refute” or “repudiate” would’ve been appropriate in this context).

Instead of simply revising the tweet, Palin suggested she was embodying the linguistic spirit of history’s most esteemed writer. She added, ” ‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”


While Mrs. Palin may have been trying to make light of her mistake, her messages were written in bullshit, not Iambic pentameter. Yes, her overt prejudice is more of an issue than her foolishness, but a public figure with her track record needs to be more conscious of what she’s saying, and how she’s saying it.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to Russia’s favorite next-door neighbor by asserting, “Sarah Palin has a right to her opinions but I could not disagree more. Everything the United States stands for, and New York stands for, is tolerance and openness.” He added that constructing a mosque would be “a great message for the world.” He’s right. A symbol of diversity, peace, and understanding would undoubtedly help America progress towards a future more rich in these very things.

Insensitivity to 9/11 victims and their families understandably concerns some, but Sarah Palin’s social and political relevance frightens me much more. While she may have our “hearts” in mind, this doesn’t mean we can stop using our brains. Oh, Sarah…”pls refudiate.” Maybe then we’ll have something worth celebrating.

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