Marilee Swirczek

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September 16, 2008
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Marilee Swirczek: Sarah may be nice, but her views don't seem so friendly

Sarah Palin might be a nice person, but we couldn't be friends. Why?

I have faith in scientific inquiry; Palin seems unwilling to consider evidence that human activities contribute to global warming.

My family owns guns; though I don't hunt, I don't mind if others do. I do mind Palin's insinuation that Sen. Barack Obama is against Second Amendment rights. The American Hunters and Shooters Association endorsed Obama; the last time I checked, Alaska was still part of America.

I'm anti-abortion and pro-life like other thinking, feeling people, but I'm also pro-choice, because this isn't a perfect world. In a perfect world, no woman would be violently impregnated. Palin is "pro-life" no matter what.

I'm fiscally conservative; Palin isn't. Ironically, as Wasilla's mayor (she got 616 votes), her earmarks appeared repeatedly on Sen. John McCain's objectionable-spending "pork list," such as in 2002 when she wanted a $1 million communications center that her own local law enforcement said was "redundant." More egregious, Palin wanted money for a bridge to Ketchikan (pop. 50); when Washington wasn't going for it, she dumped the project but didn't return the $200+ million.

Then there's her slick talk: She touts returning surplus tax monies to Alaskans, but omits that Alaskans receive more federal funding (that means your money) per dollar of taxes paid than states with larger populations. In 2005 alone, Alaska received $1.84 for every $1 of federal taxes paid " a state whose population is smaller than the city of San Francisco's. (Nevada received 65 cents per tax dollar paid).

I'm against lobbyists buying Washington; from 2000-2003, Palin's paid lobbyist got $26.9 million in federal pork for her town of 6,700. To keep things fair, note: In her first year of office, Palin requested $550 million in earmarks ($800 per Alaskan). In comparison, then-Illinois Sen. Obama requested $311 million in earmarks ($24 per Illinoisan).

It's regarding social responsibilities that Palin and I disagree most sharply. For example, although Medicare and Medicaid have problems, people will die without them. Palin supports McCain who supports President Bush " and Bush proposed $101 billion in cuts to these life-saving programs.

Even scarier: Social Security, created by Democrats, is a matter of life or death for many hard-working Americans. I don't believe Social Security should be privatized; Palin, who says "government is the problem," supports McCain who supports Bush. McCain said in 2004: "Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly ... make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits." In 2005, McCain campaigned with Bush to promote Bush's push for private accounts and in 2008, though he's since denied it, McCain said he still supports Bush's plan and is "totally in favor of personal savings accounts."

Straight talk: Those who are poor, who are old or sick or disabled, who are living on fixed incomes or minimum wage, might have to choose between food and medicine or "personal savings accounts;" without Social Security, those families won't survive in the richest country in the world. I guess that's OK with Palin. Let them eat moose.

Finally, Palin and I couldn't be friends because I believe she allows herself to be used by a man who would do anything to be president. McCain threw a red herring into this hunt for the presidency without consideration for us " the American people " who hope that presidential nominees have enough intellectual grit and commitment to the common good to select a vice president who can work effectively in this new world order. McCain knew he wasn't a favorite son of the Republicans, that he was dangerously out-of-touch with high-stake 21st century issues, so he needed a distraction and Palin fit the bill, though she didn't know what the vice president does "all day."

More straight talk: McCain's desperate use of Palin reveals the kind of president he would be " in the words of Joe Klein (Time), "... peremptory, petulant ... the politics of gesture over the politics of substance." And McCain has every reason to be desperate: His friends " Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove " had eight years in the White House.

Their legacy: A $10 trillion national debt, threatening and consequential as a terrorist attack; our economy's collapse; heartless outsourcing of jobs with tax-cut rewards for companies that lay off American workers; 9 million Americans unemployed; a million who have lost their homes; a trillion dollars in sub-prime mortgages still outstanding; the imminent elimination of the middle class; a dangerous disregard of our infrastructure, which will cost $2 trillion to rebuild; the sinful abandonment of Katrina victims; lack of basic health care for all citizens in the world's most compassionate country; degradation of food, pharmaceutical, and product safety; the failed obligation for effective national security at our borders, airports, and seaports;

A shocking disdain for our allies; the world community's disappointment in America; obscene war profiteering (Americans pay $10 billion to $12 billion per month for the Iraq occupation); the unconscionable, unbearable loss of over 4,000 American souls and over 50,000 American soldiers injured in a pre-emptive war; a descent into hopelessness that is the death knell of the American dream.

Because for eight years McCain proudly voted with Bush over 90 percent of the time, that legacy is McCain's as well. And because Palin is allowing herself to be used as a distraction from these deadly serious issues, she is not our friend.

While we are bedazzled by Palin and McCain hides behind her, we are forsaking our duty as Americans: to consider the grave issues of our times, to change our country's suicidal direction, to exorcise the enemy within.

Enough is enough.

Fresh Ideas: Starting conversations by sharing personal perspectives on timely and timeless issues.

Marilee Swirczek lives and works in Carson City.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 16, 2008 05:01PM Published Sep 16, 2008 05:01PM Copyright 2008 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.