[guest post by Dana]
At this weekend’s annual NRA convention, Sarah Palin made waves with her speech. In typical Palin fashion, she captivated her audience and was met with cheers and applause.
One expects the left to be in a tizzy of course, because guns. However, there are a surprising number on the right who have taken her to task for her joke invoking Christianity’s sacrament of baptism with regard to water boarding (beginning at the 6:40 mark). Focusing on the United State’s current counter-terrorism policies, Palin described what she would do if she were in charge,
“Come on. Enemies, who would utterly annihilate America, they who’d obviously have information on plots, to carry out Jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists.”
Critics scolded that baptism isn’t a good punchline for a terrorist joke; disliked her uniting government with religion and making herself both judge and arbiter; while yet others accused her of sacrilegious jibe and invoking baptism to celebrate torture.
I have excerpted a portion of one writer’s take that caught my eye,
In our attempts to dehumanize our enemy we end up becoming less than human ourselves. It would be a Pyrrhic victory to save civilization and lose our humanity.
We must never hesitate to defend our culture, our future, and our lives against those who seek to destroy us. The liberal cosmopolitan elite appeal to tolerance and understanding in the face of such an enemy is suicidal. However, the right-wing populist position, which is willing to face up to and address the evil of terrorism, fails to understand the ramifications of becoming like the enemy by dehumanizing them.
The entirety focuses on the spiritual implications of Palin’s statement, water boarding, and the Christian. However, along with Palin’s controversial comments and the historical treatment of her by the left/MSM, consider the excerpt in a more broad brush generic way as it relates to politics: Becoming like the enemy. In light of that, what are the limits of how far the right can – and should – go when calling out the hypocrisy, smear tactics and campaigns to destroy by the left? At what point do we start resembling the very people we are attempting to expose? When does it end up becoming self-destructive, thus giving an unintended victory to our opponents? In other words, do we play just as dirty as our opponents and is the risk worth it?
Post script: Palin is not backing down from her comments. When asked if she thought she would make the remark again, she replied,
“Would I make it again?” Palin said. “Why wouldn’t I, yeah, absolutely. Terrorists who want to annihilate Americans, innocent Americans, our children — whatever it takes to stop them. If I were in charge, I’d be stoppin’ em.”
Politicians should take note: Stand by what you say. No backing down, no back pedaling, no “What I really meant to say…” shtick.