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On dangerous liaisons, hatred and hope

Posted: October 24, 2008 7:34 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.
There I was, perched atop my father's shoulders, from where I caught my one fleeting glimpse of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Amid thousands of other bystanders, and above their near-deafening cheers, Dad's words to me were clear: "Honey, that great young man is going to be our president."

Throughout his lifetime, my father was generally an accurate predictor of things to come, and that time he was right on target.

Although I was a little girl when JFK came to North Hollywood for that pre-election speech, his visit will forever remain a sacred memory. This was my first and oh-so-historic exposure to politics, and the only time I have ever in-person seen a presidential candidate.

As well, it was the first time I felt the extreme optimism that charges the air when a bright, articulate and charismatic prospective national leader steps forward.

This election reminds me of that hopeful time - and our country's anxious desire for a fresh new path. Like debriding a festering wound, there needs to be a thorough clean-out for healthy re-growth to begin.

For months I've been in support of Barack Obama becoming our country's next president. But knowing the years 2000 and 2004 delivered severe electoral disappointments to me, I've needed to adjust my thinking.

So I prepared myself. I decided that if John McCain ultimately gets elected, life would go on, and hopefully he'd lead us to better days.

That was before he selected Sarah Palin as his VP running mate.

Once that happened, my confidence in McCain's judgment vanished.

In recent weeks, Palin has delivered some grave and dangerous accusations against Barack Obama.

In doing so, Palin has been exceedingly successful at rallying her crowds to a fever pitch while suggesting that Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and "isn't like the rest of us."

I found it as frightening as it was despicable that she stopped a recent anti-Obama speech to scold those she perceived as hecklers (actually, they were supporters chanting, "Louder! Louder!"), yet she kept talking when one particularly fired-up man screamed, "Kill him!"

Other times, when declarations like, "Off with his head!" "Treason!" and "Get him!" were shouted, Palin again did nothing to squelch that growing lynch-mob behavior. Granted, there's no way to be sure if the troubling comments were directed toward Sen. Obama or Bill Ayers. However, Palin's apathy to such bloodthirsty shouts is equally as disconcerting, regardless of their intended victim.

How can someone promoting herself as a God-loving reformer enable such hatred? How can anyone who encourages such toxic partisanship be the salvo our nation needs for uniting in turbulent times?

If Palin is so hell-bent on revealing questionable associations, she should look no further than the man she wakes up to each morning. Todd Palin has been a longtime member of the Alaska Independence Party.

The AIP's now-deceased founder Joe Vogler, once said, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag."

Promoting secession, the AIP's Web site says: "The people of Alaska can better decide what controls need to be in place than can bureaucrats in Washington."

It's been "officially" explained that while Todd Palin has indeed belonged to this group, he wasn't really "that involved in it." Whether active or not, he was a member from 1995 to July of 2000, then joined up again in September 2000 and remained until 2002.

As mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin attended the AIP's 2000 convention. As governor in 2008 she sent a video message to the convention congratulating AIP's efforts.

Considering this information, and the fact that Sarah Palin often promotes a "big-government-is-baaaad-for-us-all" theme, I have far less concern about Obama's casual relationship with a former ‘60s radical than with the Palins' activities.

If she ever became president, would her longtime card-carrying member of a separatist, anti-American organization hubby be the kind of First Gentleman we want in the White House?

Don't forget, he's an extremely influential figure in Sarah's life - most of her official government-related e-mails are CC'd to him.

Even certain Republicans are now bemoaning McCain's VP choice, some flat-out begging him to dump Palin and choose a less polarizing, more experienced and mainstream candidate.

I applaud this vocal group. Understandably, they want to see their party flourish, not voted into obscurity.

They also want better leadership for this country, and Sarah Palin will never be that commodity.

Despite Obama's rising poll numbers, I know anything can happen in the weeks ahead. Painfully, I learned that fact of life many years ago when the great young man who went on to become president was assassinated.

Beyond pulling for Barack Obama now, I also hope that the hate-filled rants released against him won't incite a tragic re-visitation of that violence.

Diana Sevanian is a Santa Clarita resident. Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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