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September 15, 2008


There has been much written and much said about Sarah Palin's attempts at banning books from Wasilla's Public Library. Did she or didn't she?

Unfortunately, there was at least one claim that even included a "hit list" of books that she allegedly wanted removed. I say unfortunately because that list was easily shown to be a fake but the widely publicized debunking of that claim successfully muddied the whole issue.

That incident doesn't change the fact that Palin did attempt to ban books on at least two occassions.

According to a New York Times article published Saturday, Sept. 13th:

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

Although Palin didn't specifically insist that "Daddy's Roommate" be removed from the library, the implication of what she said as a councilwoman was clear.

For years before Palin was elected Mayor, the social conservatives (including Palin's own Assembly of God Pentacostal church) were pressuring the library director to remove books they considered immoral.
“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

In one instance, the Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said that the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book, "Pastor I Am Gay," published in 1995, from local bookstores.

Head librarian Mary Ellen Emmons told Rev. Bess that several copies of his book had disappeared from the library shelves.

"Sarah brought pressure on the library about things she didn't like," Bess said. "To believe that my book was not targeted in this is a joke."

The second, and most publicized incident was in 1996 shortly after Palin took office as Wasilla's Mayor. According to the Washington Post and the New York Times, Palin asked Emmons three times in her first few weeks in office whether she would agree to remove controversial books. Emmons told Palin that she would not.

Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the questions were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.

Records on the city's website, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.

In a startling and lengthy letter posted in the comments section of the Washington Independent Anne Kilkenny said of this incident:
While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

This incident has been documented and verified by media the world over.

Aside from Palin's obvious lack of experience with and even basic understanding of the dangerous world affairs this country is now facing, is she really the of kind "moral compass" we want the United States of America to follow?

I think not. I think we've had enough of that garbage for the last 8 years!