Context, and why it’s important

Today just about every news outlet I can see is carrying a story on Sarah Palin announcing that the Iraq war is, “a task that is from God”. Everyone’s referencing the same quote — but unfortunately, they’re all misquoting it.

So here’s the full quote:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

Now watch this YouTube clip. Wait… Starting at ‘our national leaders’ is definitely an omission of important context.

Anyone who’s remotely skilled in conversation could condense this down to: “Pray … that our leaders … are sending [our military men and women] out on a task that is from God.” There’s a huge difference between claiming that a task is from God, and asking people to pray that it is.

I’m still not sure on my opinion of Palin, McCain, or even Obama for that matter, so hearing the truth about the candidates is important to me — can’t we at least avoid putting words into their mouths?

3 Comments so far

  1. Matt on September 9th, 2008

    Readily agreed! I have a whole rant about this, as I saw it happening a _lot_ with Obama. (It probably happened a lot to other candidates, too, but I have a slanted frame of reference. You know the chain e-mails against Obama, with quotes from Obama’s books in which he says he “stands by the Muslim community” and that he was bothered by a man because he was white? Both were _radically_ out of context.)

    Though even with the full thing, I’m still not sure what Governor Palin was getting at, to be honest. Why talk about a “task from God” at all, when, “May God bless and watch over our troops, who are risking their lives in defense of freedom and equality” or something of that sort gets a much less ambiguous point across much more concisely, without risking controversy?

  2. Mr. T on September 9th, 2008

    No one cares about the truth in politics anymore. Well perhaps the voters do but that’s it. The people running races don’t care. The media doesn’t care. The pundits don’t care. None of them. About the only things one can count on is that when someone promises to do something and the people on the other side accuse them of wanting to do that same thing maybe you can count on it. Sorta.

  3. Hannah on September 12th, 2008

    I agree that it is deplorable to have her comment be misquoted and used to create a scandal.

    However, the very fact that she wants to believe this war (or any war for that matter) is a “task from God,” and she does want to believe that if she is praying for it, is still horrible. The real problem is that she is using God to try and justify sending our friends and family out to die. I would rather a war be for justice, freedom, and the ultimate goal of worldwide peace.

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