Sunday, September 14

American Thirdworldization: Mayor Palin Promoted Library Censorship

While Bush's FBI each year averages 50,000 "national security letters" to secretly see what "suspicious" Americans are reading at local public libraries, GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin goes neo-con Bush one better by seeking to remove "offensive" books from the shelves.

So the best America's electoral vetting process can do for us is present us with more candidates who are PR'ed into putting on their friendly face for fascism.

Sam Smith, editor of The Progressive Review ("Washington's most unofficial source") served up this article on Palin's library exploits as an Alaskan mayor in his 11 September 2008 installment of his "Undernews" section, archived here.
Anchorage Daily News - Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.

According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn't fully support her and had to go.

Emmons had been city librarian for seven years and was well liked. After a wave of public support for her, Palin relented and let Emmons keep her job.

It all happened 12 years ago and the controversy long ago disappeared into musty files. Until this week. Under intense national scrutiny, the issue has returned to dog her. . .

Did Palin actually ban books at the Wasilla Public Library?

In December 1996, Emmons told her hometown newspaper, the Frontiersman, that Palin three times asked her -- starting before she was sworn in -- about possibly removing objectionable books from the library if the need arose.

Emmons told the Frontiersman she flatly refused to consider any kind of censorship. Emmons, now Mary Ellen Baker, is on vacation from her current job in Fairbanks and did not return e-mail or telephone messages left for her.

When the matter came up for the second time in October 1996, during a City Council meeting, Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife who often attends council meetings, was there.

Like many Alaskans, Kilkenny calls the governor by her first name.

"Sarah said to Mary Ellen, 'What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?" Kilkenny said.

"I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, 'The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'"

Palin didn't mention specific books at that meeting, Kilkenny said.

Palin herself, questioned at the time, called her inquiries rhetorical and simply part of a policy discussion with a department head "about understanding and following administration agendas," according to the Frontiersman article.

Were any books censored banned? June Pinell-Stephens, chairwoman of the Alaska Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee since 1984, checked her files and came up empty-handed. . .
Combine this disclosure on Palin's notion of appropriate reading materials for children at their local library with the disclousure that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and you begin to appreciate the nature of agenda that DC politicos are promoting for 21st-century Middle American family life.



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