Your supporters trust you. For all their cynicism about politics, they believe that you’re different: a faithful Christian with small town values and a commitment to doing right by regular Americans. You’ve used that trust to ask homemakers, retirees and small businessmen and women to send you their money. As the Web page of your official political action committeeputs it, SarahPAC is “dedicated to building America’s future by supporting fresh ideas and candidates.”
But that isn’t how you’ve been spending the money.
Sure, you’ve given to candidates in the past. But you spent $418,000 in the first 3 months on 2012, and none of it has gone to candidates! Nor has it gone to “fresh ideas.” In fact, as Kenneth Vogel points out, it appears that you spent $19,000 on a video that argues an HBO film about your role in the 2008 presidential campaign gets its facts wrong. Is that correct? It’s 2 minutes and 38 seconds long.
Do you think that is worth $19,000? Or $1,000? Given that you have a popular Facebook page, regular gigs on national television, and the ability to summon multiple reporters to a press conference at any time, why would you spend $19,000 saying to very few people what you could’ve said free? Even if the short video is worth thousands to you, why do you think it’s appropriate to spend money raised on the promise that you’ll support fresh ideas and candidates on contesting events that a) happened in 2008; b) have no bearing on this year’s political races or issues; c) mostly just affects your reputation; d) is unlikely to change anyone’s opinion of it?
You’d think that at this point in political history, the right kind of revolution would be getting started. In 2010, we had “Hide your kids, hide your wife” instead of “The love you take is equal to the love you make” of 1969, and instead of the Beatles, we get the conservative tea party.
Which is just lovely.
I’m not saying that this organization is the only one today that deserves criticism, but I am saying that, especially in light of the attack onArizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords yesterday, it has used the most blatant propaganda in recent years that is being taken extremely out of context, and purposefully so. In case you haven’t seen them, here’s an example of Sarah Palin’s “target” maps that were released last March:
Even from the most conservative (I’m looking at you, Elisabeth Hasselbeck), this caused a stir when they were initially released. In my opinion, there is a difference between an effective campaign (although Palin wouldn’t know an effective campaign method if it slapped her in the face) and violent propaganda, and these charts toe the line dangerously. I can’t say anything for the gunman himself, understanding that mental illness is a valid excuse in a court in most situations, but I am citing Palin’s campaign as a source and an excuse for the violence. Say what you will, ‘target’ directly implies something to be gotten rid of, a term that can be grossly misinterpreted when put into the hands of an extremist. When you are elected to be a political official, it’s understandable to have a distinct point of view, but it’s a responsibility to ensure your views are for the betterment of those you’re representing, not for a thick personal agenda. In that way, In this respect (and with many other politicians), the GOP and Palin especially have a lot of work to do.
Is this as good as Palin herself pulling the trigger? Of course not, but I’m guessing this horrifying incident will cost her some ironic love and some viewers of the less-than-compelling moose shooting extravaganza that is “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”. As of right now, Gabrielle Giffords, an advocate of not only the health-care reform but pro-choice abortion and stem-cell research, remains in critical condition after being shot in the head. In addition, gunman Jared Lee Loughner’s other six victims, including Judge Roll and 9-year-old girl have been pronounced dead, along with thirteen others injured.
Although I have a tendency to avoid politics from day to day and only allow my ears to perk up somewhere around mid-October, this is a tragedy everyone should be aware of and one that has left me very upset. So, Tumblr, in a sea of screencaps and magazine scans, I hope you see this and make your own thoughts known; let’s put our freedom of speech in the correct context.