This is one of the saddest aspects of the Palin pick. Book banning is such an insult to the universal American respect for freedom of speech that it is shocking McCain would even consider choosing someone to be a heart beat away from the presidency who had even considered the action.
It is less shocking, at this point, that when faced with a challenge on this issue the McCain camp would fall back on their second most favorite defense, a lie.
The AP provides the details:
Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said Thursday that Palin asked the head librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, on three occasions how she would react to attempts at banning books. He said the questions, in the fall of 1996, were hypothetical and entirely appropriate. He said a patron had asked the library to remove a title the year before and the mayor wanted to understand how such disputes were handled.
Records on the city's Web site, however, do not show any books were challenged in Wasilla in the 10 years before Palin took office.
The McCain camp thinks they can get away with defending attempted censorship by passing it off as if she was simply investigating what she should do should someone request book banning. I guess it is too bad for them that the AP found out the truth.
Even if the evidence had supported the McCain version of events, I would still have my doubts. She asked about banning books three times. I could believe it was a hypothetical if she asked once and dropped it. However, asking three times and proceeding to try and fire the person she asked does not sound like a hypothetical process.
Even had that been the truth, that she had no idea what to do when violation of free speech is on the table, I am astounded this is actually considered by McCain to be a defense. We are in the twilight zone. The defense is as bad as the crime.
If you need advice on this, here it is.
(Read in Ghostbusters voice)
Sarah, when someone asks you if you're willing to ban books, you say "NO!"
It is as simple as that, no need to consult a lawyer or librarian. Consult the constitution if you have forgotten.
What books were apparently under question? The AP gives a hint:
The Rev. Howard Bess, a liberal Christian preacher in the nearby town of Palmer, said the church Palin and her family attended until 2002, the Wasilla Assembly of God, was pushing to remove his book from local bookstores.
Emmons told him that year that several copies of "Pastor I Am Gay" had disappeared from the library shelves, Bess said.
"Sarah brought pressure on the library about things she didn't like," Bess said. "To believe that my book was not targeted in this is a joke."