Saturday, October 11, 2008

Troopergate: No Common Wisdom Gained from Brame Tragedy?

Putting the Palin's Troopergate "Intervention" into Perspective

Imagine that we are back in the early months of 2003.  Governor Gary Locke has gained personal knowledge of a police chief who may be a danger to his wife, possibly others. Locke brings the full power of his office to bear on having this officer removed from his position and ordered into treatment, thus averting what we know actually happened - the public slaying of Crystal Brame and subsequent public suicide of Tacoma Police Chief David Brame? 

Would we have considered Locke's actions an abuse of power?  Knowing human nature, we would have dragged our governor in front of ethics panels just as Palin's enemies in Alaska are doing to her now.  Because of our hindsight, we know that would have been a wrong thing to do, just as the investigation of Governor Sarah Palin, without consideration of the motivation for her actions, is wrong today.

When you hear people using Troopergate as a reason to attack Palin, take the time to have them remember that in the months following David Brame's psychotic slaughter or his wife we all were enraged at the code of silence that allowed Brame to continue his downward spiral without impedance.  We demanded that the code of loyalty among law enforcement officials not extend to covering for officers who were dangerous.  We told our elected officials that they should have done something.

Where are those close to the Brame tragedy in speaking out in defense of Palin?  They are us, and we are them.  We were all close to that tragedy in the way that it confronted us with the reality that our system had become so reticent and willing to sacrifice a woman's safety in the cause of department unity.

We can use the hindsight gained from that senseless failure of human intuition to see the wisdom in what Palin and her family were doing by challenging a system in Alaska that was not interested in dealing with a violent individual who was authorized to enforce the law with a badge and a gun.  She did the right thing and we must begin standing up for people who do the right thing.  If we do not, we are sending the message that courage will always be punished and more tragedies will follow.

Cross-posted at Sound Politics Public Blog.

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