Posts tagged “Frontline”

Sarah Palin unfamiliar with U.S. Constitution

Sarah Palin thinks the VP runs the U.S. Senate.

Many out there are making a big deal about the fact that Palin has been “applying” for the VP job for six weeks and still doesn’t know what that job entails. While that is a valid point, the critique of Palin doesn’t go deep enough. Every citizen should know what the vice president does, let alone the governor of the largest state in the union. That is not an unreasonable expectation. I’m not asking for every one of us to be a policy wonk or to even have a firm grasp on how a bill becomes a law. My expectations of our educational system have been so diminished that I will settle for a basic understanding of the separation of powers.

Then again, Palin only seems to have become conscious of the world outside the pageant circuit (and even worse, the TV anchor circuit) during the Bush administration. She has only known a bigger world under the vader-esque power of Dick Cheney. I certainly don’t want any Vice President to have the power Cheney and his black heart (no, really) have exerted, let alone the insane expansion of power that Palin’s idiocy would suggest. This begs the question: with a role model like Cheney, can we really blame her? Let me stop you right there…yes, we can.

I just can’t picture Palin in the cloak room saying to Patrick Leahy, “fuck yourself!” In fact, the image that comes to mind when you think about Sarah Palin in the Senate is not her palling around with that bunch of corporate shills making policy. Instead, it is a bunch of patriarchs patting her on the forehead and suggesting that she get back to playing her flute and counting her oil dollars. You betcha!

I find her candidacy offensive. She is disturbingly uneducated and culturally illiterate. I think the biggest problem (and least reported issue) with Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama is his throw-away comment that implicitly gives a modicum of credence to Palin’s selection, saying, “She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired.”

No, she is not. Her candidacy is indefensible.

Election to public office does not distinguish you. Her behavior in our modern bloodsport, in every political Coliseum across the country, is not admirable. She is an abomination.

I cannot imagine how anyone could vote for McCain knowing that she is a heartbeat away from ruling the “free” world. If you intend to do just that, please explain it to me in the comments section. I really and truly would like to understand your rational for such behavior.

After the jump, a video that Palin absolutely needs to watch and we all could use as a civics refresher course. Read the rest of this entry »

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The importance of open, honest reflection

Over the last couple days, I’ve randomly stumbled upon three TV programs that shared a common thread. I found it remarkable that these random programs shared any thread, particularly one so pertinent to the American experience today. The PBS series Independent Lens featured New Year Baby, filmmaker Socheata Poeuv’s tale of her family’s history during the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia. The History Channel re-aired their emmy-nominated documentary on Blood Diamonds. Finally, Frontline/World featured a story on the development of a digital archive of the atrocities of the “disappeared” during the Guatemalan civil war.

Though none of the topics were new to me, what these excellent examples of television did illuminate was the need for a society to be able to openly reflect on its past. In Cambodia, though the Khmer Rouge is no longer in power (per se), many officials are former Khmer Rouge, making the victims reticent to discuss the past. In Sierra Leone, the perpetrators of the horrible mutilations and enslavement for diamonds were granted amnesty and financial gain in a deal to end a bloody civil war. That means the victims now get to live next to the monsters that maimed them, an officially-sanctioned horrifying reality. This quashes any catharsis. The bright spot, the archive in Guatemala, has faced fire-bombing from those that would conceal the past and a society that still does not speak of what happened. Hopefully, the existence of the archive and a current regime that seeks openness will help them overcome this hurdle.

Interesting, you say, but why should I care? First, it is always nice to find excellent programming on television and I am always happy to let others know that it isn’t all comparisons between adults and fifth grade students on TV these days. More importantly, I live in a society that is growing increasingly secretive. Open and free information, we are told, is a luxury we cannot afford if we want to maintain our society in the face of “terror”. In fact, just a couple weeks back we got a brand new classification for information from the government, the obnoxiously named Controlled Unclassified Information.

This is moving in the absolute wrong direction. We should learn from the lessons of Cambodia, Sierra Leone and Guatemala. Free information is the only way to preserve our society. Regardless of your political views, whomever becomes the 44th president of the United States must turn the tide in our society. It is our (dwindling) openness that makes and keeps us great. I hope you agree.

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