Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is Palin For Rape or Against It?

Sarah Palin was in legal trouble before she became a vice presidential candidate. But she may be in more political trouble than legal trouble.

Someone needs to come right out and ask her if she thinks the laws that prohibit sexual violence are a proper activity of government. In other words, should rapists be arrested and prosecuted, or should rapists walk free because the government has more important things to do?

It’s not a question you would normally ask any American politician, but Palin’s own statements suggest that she fired her Public Safety Commissioner in a power struggle in which she was trying to block enforcement of sexual violence laws.

Specifically, she approved a trip to Washington by the Public Safety Commissioner, then disapproved of it after the fact and, she says, fired the commissioner for taking the trip. This, she has said, was because she learned that the purpose of the trip involved prosecution of sexual assault cases. It was only then that she decided the trip was a waste of government resources.

It is one thing to be skeptical of the ability of the government’s ability to prosecute sexual assault cases. It is quite another to be so angry at an official for attempting to see that sexual assault laws are enforced that you fire him for it. What can the public conclude other than that Palin wants to protect rapists from prosecution?

This conclusion gains more credence when you learn that as mayor, Palin had her town charge rape victims a fee, a very unusual arrangement that apparently is not done anywhere else in the state.

Palin has questions to answer. No public official in the United States can be in favor of sexual violence. It is not a socially acceptable position to stake out in American politics, yet that is what Palin appears to be doing. If she cannot clear the air in short order, then she must resign.