Saturday, July 31, 2010

Open Letter to Sarah Palin II

Dear Sarah,

These words from a recent Sojourners article by Jim Wallis echo my concern:

"The political polarization of our society has now reached a new and dangerous level. Honest disagreements over policy issues have turned into a growing vitriolic rage against political opponents, and even threats of violence against lawmakers are now being credibly reported."

This hostility is in danger of destroying our democracy. In this climate good debate becomes impossible hindering the democratic process in finding the best solutions. Misinformation and lies swirl about on the media, confusing people. How can we know if we are for or against something (such as this health care reform) if, acting like unruly children. there is this shouting mixture of truth and lies?
Your death panel statement was like an avalanche, an explosion adding to the mob mentality which brought unreasonable anger against our President and our government. People couldn't even talk in the town meetings. We have to listen to one another, Sarah. People who trusted in you--who liked your sparkling vivaciousness--believed you.
You said:
"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Downs Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panels" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of 'their level of productivity' in society, whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
"Obama's death panels are downright evil," you say. If this be true, no wonder people scream. But it isn't and wasn't true. We feel you must clear this up, Sarah. So that the truth can be known, I am enclosing an article by the person whose bill supposedly turned into this false death panel accusation:

For good debate and solutions, it is important that the truth be known and you are the person who has the stage to tell it. Do you agree? Especially when you know many are listening and some are ready to follow your example and parrot your words, it is totally irresponsible to falsely accuse the President of something "downright evil." This is abusive power of your freedom of speech and democracy can't work this way. Before such a drastic statement is made--before one pours kerosene on differences, there is a need to double check and get our facts straight. I cannot express myself too strongly. Extreme harm has been done. and I feel you need to apologize to the President and to the American people and publicly explain since you so publicly accused.
Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely. . .” Luke 3:14
". . .the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped."  Psalm 63:11

Your "Death Panels" lie was given the Lie of the Year award by St. Petersburg Times, home of The Politifact, which was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.  However, unfortunately, some people don't know it was a lie.

You will remember your saying of Barak Obama, "He pals around with terrorists." Even John McCain knew such statements were unfair and said "Obama is a decent family man."

On the other hand, let's consider who you have been "palling around" with--being on their programs: Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, for example. Two media hosts whose uncivil, abusive polarization is well known and now you have aligned yourself with them. Is this an example for our children in the handling of differences? Good debate is healthy and can lead to enlarging perceptions for the greater good. Passion in speaking what you believe is not wrong, but name calling, disrespect and misinformation is.

Mr. Beck called the president "a racist who secretly hates white people." Since you say you are a Christian, I'm sure you are familiar with Jesus saying, "Judge not, lest you be judged. . .Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
When the United States lost the Olympics, Mr. Beck said most gleefully, "Please, please, let me break this news to you! Oh, this is so sweet! Our president flew all the way over there to fail!" He was so happy! Is this the type of person you wish to align yourself?

Likewise, Rush Limbaugh said with great alacrity, "The world has rejected Obama in the first round of voting! mmm! mmm! mmm! Why would anyone award the Olympics to such a crappy place as the United States of America?" mmm!mmm! mmm!"
Shortly after this they were most dismayed to learn of the President being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Rush Limbaugh said this was a greater embarrassment than losing the Olympics. Glenn Beck said, "It should be turned down and given to the Tea Party goers and the 9/12 project."

Glenn Beck, the 9/12 organization and the Tea Party goers have signs comparing the President to Hitler, Stalin, and calling him a Communist. A sample of the signs:"Obama is a domestic terrorist." "Obama, the Exterminator: Killing Our Jobs, Killing Our Future, Killing Our Freedom." "Bury Obama with Kennedy." and here's one you can claim, Sarah, "Obama Lied, Granny Died."

Glenn Beck also said, "If your church speaks of social justice, run." Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners gave a good answer to that.

I saw this cartoon from the Dayton Daily News by Mike Peters: If Jesus returned as Glenn Beck--"Don't heal the sick--that's socialism. Don't shelter the homeless, that's communism. Don't feed the hungry, that's Nazism.

Rush Limbaugh,referring to the President, says, "I hope he fails." We're supposed to pray for our leaders.

The president gave a speech to the school children encouraging them to work hard, obey their teachers and parents--to inspire them, etc. I've read the whole text--a great speech. Surely nothing could be found wrong with this? However, Glenn Beck advised the kids to skip school that day. The President and the First Lady encourage volunteerism--this fact, along with the speech to the students, are given as examples that the President wants to control our youth just like Hitler did. There are the Birthers who say that President Obama isn't even a citizen. Sarah, I hope you will use your influence to speak out against these things and encourage honest debate.  What kind of an example of proper behavior is this giving to our children? You may know that bullying in our schools has become a big problem, even resulting in suicide. When we support this kind of speech, isn't this "palling around with terrorists?"

Unfortunately, the microphone is often given to the most outrageous of voices fueling our differences since it pumps up media ratings. This is not news or entertainment. For the good of our country and as an example to our children and the world, isn't it imperative that we express ourselves with civility and courtesy?
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." (Gal. 5:15)

Sarah, you have said repeatedly that President Obama is "the most pro-abortion President we have ever had." 
Mr.  Douglas W. Kmiec,a well known opponent of abortion and also a constitutional scholar who headed the Office of Legal Counsel  under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, endorsed Senator Obama.  He said, "There is a widespread misconception that overturning Roe is the only way to be pro-life. . . I doubt that many of our non-legally-trained pro-life friends fully grasps the limited effect of overturning Roe. . .Senator Obama is articulating policies that permit faithful Catholics to follow the church’s admonition that we continue to explore ways to give greater protection to human life. Consider the choices: A Catholic can either continue on the failed and uncertain path of seeking to overturn Roe, which would result in the individual states doing their own thing. . .Or Senator Obama’s approach could be followed, whereby prenatal and income support, paid maternity leave and greater access to adoption would be relied upon to reduce the incidence of abortion. . .."
See For Ex-G.O.P. Official, Obama Is Candidate of Catholic Values, New York Times, August 29, 2008 -

There are many people, including Laura  Bush, who understand reversing Roe is not the way to effectively reduce abortion and these people should not be arbitrarily labeled "pro-abortion" for political advantage.  Mr. Kmiec also said, "There are clearly partisan forces that want nothing more than to manufacture or stir up faith-based opposition to their political opponents "
In his book Audacity of Hope, President Obama explains this problem, ". . .Most antiabortion activists, for example, have openly discouraged legislative allies from even pursuing those compromise measures that would have significantly reduced the incidence of the procedure popularly known as partial-birth abortion, because the image the procedure evokes in the mind of the public has helped them win converts to their position. And sometimes our ideological predispositions are just so fixed that we have trouble seeing the obvious. . .ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question. . .as a member of the Illinois legislature I had argued for an amendment to include a mother’s health exception in a Republican bill to ban partial-birth abortion. The amendment failed on a party line vote, and afterward, I stepped out into the hallway with one of my Republican colleagues. Without the amendment, I said, the law would be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. He turned to me and said it didn’t matter what amendment was attached—judges would do whatever they wanted to do anyway. “It’s all politics,” he had said, turning to leave. “And right now we’ve got the votes.”

As you can see, what really happened gets twisted to give the wrong impression. This is why it is imperative to get the facts before accusing someone.

Then listen to President Obama: In Praise of Fair Minded Words at Notre Dame posted by Jess Lee—The Whitehouse: Obama answers Notre Dame Hecklers with ‘fair-minded words. . . - Cached - Similar

Sarah, I am the mother of three children and seven grandchildren.  I have never known a public figure receive so much undeserved hatred and criticism as the President. Please understand--I am not writing in support of all of President Obama's decisions or policies. I am writing because I believe he has a right spirit. I am writing because I believe this hateful energy directed toward him cannot be good for his decision making ability, or for our country--it's hurting all of us. I heard him say, "I'm trying hard and I want the best for this country." I heard Rush Limbaugh mock this. The President said he couldn't do it by himself--he needs us.
Robert Fuller said, " Obama got the Nobel prize not for doing but for being. Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage--the politics of dignity"

Maybe you've heard of the Coffee Party USA.

Mission Statement: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will. . .
There's a civility pledge:
As a member and supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures. I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.
This pledge promotes the America I know and love. I'm sure that you will agree that the seeds of ill-manners, malice, non-listening, misinformation and screaming will result in suffering and destruction. Therefore, we cannot support any leader on the left or right who is wedded to ill will and misinformation.

"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue " (Proverbs 18:21).  I hope that you will clarify these matters.


Sheilah Hill

P.S. In conclusion, our nation needs redemption and resurrection.  My attention came to President Obama's Easter Breakfast message  actually because Newt Gingrich and his friend and speech writer, Vince Halley falsely accused the President of taking "Jesus out of Easter."   This caused three googled pages of rage from organizations parroting this accusation.  Please listen to the President's message:

OPINION November 15, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor: My Near Death Panel Experience