Right call for Paule: Bow out now

Despite the many ways she has tried to help the Republican Party in Blair County over the past several years while serving as an active volunteer, Samantha Paule, one of the nominees for Altoona City Council in the Nov. 5 general election, would help the party now by withdrawing her candidacy without delay.

While Paule has renounced online posts that she made in the past that denounced “the terrorist state of America,” not all of the concerns that have erupted since those posts were exposed on May 24 are likely to be forgotten anytime soon.

That means they’ll remain a continuing source of embarrassment and a potential distraction for the local GOP, despite comments by former chairwoman Lois Kaneshiki, who called Paule a good and honorable person who has been “more helpful than 95 percent of committee members.”

On the day the posts became public knowledge, Paule was adamant in wanting to remain on the fall ballot. She was quoted in the May 25 Mirror saying, “I’m not dropping out; I refuse to back down.”

She said she made the posts in question at a time when she believed that the U.S. government and its agencies weren’t doing enough to try to protect Americans from terrorists within this nation’s borders.

But her posts were a strange way to express frustration with the government. Aligning oneself with the enemy, as one of her posts — “I support ISIS” — seemed to do smacks more of betrayal and treason than loyalty and patriotism.

This is a time of the year when those who died in the service of the United States are honored. It is hard to imagine many, if any, living veterans being sympathetic or forgiving to an American who took pride in voicing anti-American sentiments, whether geared on behalf of pro-Islamist views or to the delight of others who despise this great land.

Besides the predictable reactions from veterans and their loved ones, the same can be said in regard to most other loyal Americans. Consider that many Americans still harbor great dislike and disrespect — even abject hatred — for actress Jane Fonda for her actions during the Vietnam War.

Even given the benefit of the doubt, Paule’s posts depict an immature understanding of the power of social media — that comments made on social media can follow a person for the rest of his or her life.

No matter what Paule says and no matter how much she apologizes between now and the election, many Altoona residents, understandably, will continue harboring suspicions about her sincerity — even if she eventually succumbs to pressure to end her candidacy.

“I know I said some horrible things,” Paule said on May 24. “I was trying to get people’s attention.”

What a strange way to try to rally people behind what she considered a positive endeavor.

Paule might now truly be promoting honesty, transparency and peace to all, as she claims. But her image has been tarnished by her grave error that she should have had the maturity and good judgment to avoid — a grave error that now is evoking fears about her decision-making abilities and overall mindset.

Blair County GOP Chairman Jim Foreman described Paule’s posts as disturbing, then rightly pointed out that the posts in no way reflect the principles, virtues or characteristics of the GOP committee.

Still, the committee has work ahead to try to undo whatever damage Paule has inflicted. Meanwhile, Paule can help by bowing out.

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