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WorldWatch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card December 20, 2009

Sarah Palin's Book

I'm still in the midst of reading Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue. I have been angry for more than a year now about the way she has been, and continues to be, savaged by the liberal media. She has done nothing to warrant this treatment. If she had been a Democrat with the identical record of achievements, she would be celebrated as one of the heroes of the Left.

Her only crime was that when she was chosen as McCain's running mate, their poll numbers shot up fast and far enough that the Left realized she might actually be the thing that beat Obama! Therefore she had to be destroyed.

And having once treated her with such gross unfairness and indecency (if you view their records dispassionately, there was nothing wrong with her, like inexperience or ignorance, that was not wronger with Obama!), the Left has to keep proving that their victim somehow deserved the vicious, snarling, tearing attacks on her.

So ever since her book came out, we have seen it reviewed as if it had been scrawled on toilet paper by a child. Many have reviewed the book as if its author were well-known for her stupidity, though in fact nothing is clearer than her vivid intelligence -- she is far smarter than any of the people I have heard call her stupid. For one thing, they are so stupid they call someone stupid without actually checking to see if she really is. That's stupidity.

And yet, there remains this: I disagree with her on at least half the issues that matter to her. After all, even though I'm a moral conservative, I am a Democrat and for good reason, as long as you define "Democrat" the way it was defined in 1977.

She is not my dream candidate for president. I'm hoping for somebody better. So I don't enter her book as a partisan of hers. She has my sympathy as a victim, but not my support as a candidate or my agreement on any but a handful of issues.

So I'm not going to review her book. Instead, I'm going to refer you to a review written by someone I had assumed would despise her.

Before I do, though, I want to tell you a little teeny story. Many years ago, when Rush Limbaugh's first book was newly in the stores, I was curious and bought his book on tape -- read by him. I had never heard his radio program, but he was clearly making waves and I wanted to find out what he had to say.

As with Palin, I disagreed with at least half of Limbaugh's views -- but I found him enormously entertaining and I saw why he was a hit on the radio. He was very good at what he did. And sometimes I did agree with him, and then it was a pleasure to hear what he had to say. Heck, it was a pleasure to listen to him even when I disagreed!

It happened that the book was in my car as I provided a ride to two friends of mine, professors at a university. When they got in my car and saw the cover of Limbaugh's book, you'd have thought it was the bloody corpse of a tortured cat, they reacted with such horror. They could not believe that I would read something by such a rabid right-winger.

At that moment I realized that even though these men thought of themselves as intellectuals, they were not. They were deliberately stupid with the stupidity of self-inflicted ignorance. I asked: Have you ever listened to him? No, they said. Then how did they know they hated him? Because everyone they knew said ...

Yes, stupid. I said to them, "I can't possibly know what I think about someone until I make some effort to find out who they are, how they think, what they're actually doing." I did not say: I just learned a lot more about you than you will ever know about Rush Limbaugh.

Right now, Palin's book is accomplishing exactly the same thing that Limbaugh's book did back in the day: You can find out who the stupid bigots are by seeing who hates and despises and ridicules the book without having read it.

I'm reading it. I'm not finished. And I'm not going to review it. Because a friend of mine pointed out a review of Going Rogue written by a genuine intellectual and man of the Left, Stanley Fish.

His review says everything I would say about her book, and says it better than I could say it. In addition, he brings his own experience with the bigots into his review. So I urge you: Get online and read Stanley Fish's review, if you want a fair-minded treatment of the book by someone who strongly disagrees with at least some of Palin's ideas and beliefs. There is not one word of Fish's review that is, in my opinion, wrong.

But having read my words here, and Fish's words from the New York Times online, you still have to read Going Rogue and find out for yourself what the book means and who Sarah Palin is, before you're qualified to talk about it.


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