Sunday, September 07, 2008

An Open Letter to Gov. Sarah Palin: Please Raise the Level of Discourse

Dear Vice Presidential Nominee Governor Palin:

I urge you to raise the level of discourse. I believe you are better than you appeared to some at the Republican National Convention. I have a young friend, a high school student, who asked me why your speech was so "sarcastic and harsh." She perceived you to ridicule and jeer at your opponents. While there are 18 million cracks in the ceiling, this young girl couldn't see past your denigration of your opponents to appreciate what it actually took for you to get to that place on the podium at the RNC.

I have researched your work in Alaska, and you have done some amazing things. The Sonya Ivanoff Act is a good example. Mandating the maximum sentence for first-degree murder when committed by an on-duty peace officer addresses a serious need in the community. To girls like my friend, however, your accomplishments are overshadowed by the sarcastic tone you are taking. I know you have to speak in sound bites, but you can take the high road. Sound bites can be dangerous. And they can bite you.

Some of the positions in the Republican Platform are controversial, and you know that we may not agree on everything, whether in Denver or D.C. But you can help set a new tone. We do not want to be the Divided States of America. You can help by acknowledging the good that your opponents have done, and help to show that people can disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

You have admonished others to raise the level of discourse, and that's admirable. I ask you to do the same now.


Kimberlie Ryan

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