This short anecdote that I heard about Sarah Palin today might actually ruin my day.
As the title suggests, I have only a short amount of time to heave this burdening contempt from my chest, so I'll allow you to first read the actual news story, and then point you to Glenn Greenwald's take on the matter. Gleen Greenwald, by the way, being a former lawyer of constitutional law.
The phrase he uses to describe the statements made by Dowd and Palin -- "so stupid it hurts" -- doesn't really capture the full extent of what's going on here. Dowd's argument I can at least understand; she is arguing for full transparency in government. What she doesn't understand is that while full transparency in a politician's professional life is required for a democracy, full transparency of their civic lives are at their discretion. Meaning, if they invite you into their home (or all seven of them) or their jet or anything other than their public records, it's because they're doing you a favor. I'm dissappointed in Dowd for getting this confused, considering she has much more journalism experience than I do, but her heart's in the right place.
Palin's thumping organ, however, is someplace I cannot understand. Criticism by the press is, jesus, that's the most first amendmenty you can get.
Look, it's obvious she does not understand what the First Amendment is about. Not even close. (In fact, it's becoming very clear to the country she hasn't even read the constitution, if she can't grasp both the First Amendment and the duties of Vice-President.) She does not seem to understand that the government has not prevented her from saying these things, but by the press somehow saying that she is "negative" this is hindering her right to free speech. Greenwald is right: This does hurt.
What bugs me is that I'm guessing she's going to get away with this shit. She's been playing the "I'm just like you only a governor" schtick since she was introduced to the politcal arena. Your average citizen does not give a damn if a politician's right to free speech has been infringed (moreover, they would most likely applaud a good "shut the hell up" to statesmen they disagree with) but they care, and are angered, when an American citizen is denied his or her First Amendment rights, especially from the evil media.
She has, in my view, invoked the most scared, most beautiful part of this country, to justify stretching the truth and downright lying, and to cower and hide from the backlash. If we gave Palin her way, the media would not be allowed to criticize her statements. Think about that for a second: Palin is stating that the media should not be allowed to criticize her. That is no longer painful, it is dispicable and frightening.