Columns 2015

There is no bar so low our Republican legislators can’t find a way to get beneath it

It must have been the dental surgery I had last week. That can be the only reason I missed my legislators coming to my door to find out what I really think about the work they did this session. They did come around, didn’t they? Isn’t that the reason they gave for their little two-week working vacation? So did anyone have a Republican legislator come knocking on their door to see how they felt about budget cuts? And remember, if you were one of those foolish people who thought the legislature existed in the 21st Century and so used e-mail, Twitter and telephones to express your feelings, you don’t count. 

Every once in a while I think that politicians cannot disappoint me any more than they already have. Then the Republicans in the Alaska Legislature prove that there is no bottom they can’t sink below. It’s as though we’ve reached a point where Republicans legislators in this state feel so sure that they can’t be beaten by anyone that they can pretty much extend their middle finger to the voters and do whatever they please. And what apparently pleases them is to fund their buddies at places like KABATA rather than funding our children’s schools. So it should be pretty obvious to us at this point that the people we’ve placed in charge of the people’s business don’t really give a damn what the people think.

The question we need to ask is will anyone remember this sad debacle of a legislative session when the next election cycle occurs. Or will everyone put on those rose-colored glasses and figure it was the other guy’s representative who screwed up everything while their legislator tried his best. Because that seems to be how we operate anymore when it comes to voting. We are simply too lazy to change legislators. Better to believe that we elected the good one and the people in the next district elected the idiot.

The good news, of course, is that our legislators got to enjoy their new digs in downtown Anchorage for a few weeks.  Going from the old capitol building in Juneau to the Taj Mahawker must have felt like a real step up for them. Glass everywhere they looked. Trashcans that cost more than my monthly rent in NYC did.  All the amenities you could want with the extra-added perk of no public parking. Shrewd move. Way to cut down on pesky constituents who might want to stop by and let you know how they feel. I guess our legislators aren’t complete idiots.

So what’s the next step? They say they’ve sent the governor a budget. He says the budget they sent has no money to pay for it and that makes it not a proper budget. They say he should sign it and then they’ll fix it. Hmmm. Kind of like if I booked a round the world trip and decided to look for the money after I’d already locked myself into paying for it.

Exactly what do we really have to show for the special session our legislature was supposedly in?  Aside from their obviously well earned and needed vacation, what do they have to show for the public money they took as state workers? Not a funded and completed budget. Not passage of a simple law that would provide protection for children. Not keeping their greedy paws off the education fund they just recently created to give our schools some security. Not giving poor Alaskans a break by expanding medical care. After all, legislators have coverage. Why should they give a damn if you don’t?

So in conclusion, they managed to accomplish pretty much not a darn thing. They would have, you understand, if they’d known what their constituents wanted. But they didn’t have a clue. And those darn Democrats screwed up what progress they could have made by actually demanding that something be done for the regular people of Alaska and not just the Republicans’ wealthy backers. These brave Republican legislators found a way to keep subsidizing programs that make their rich buddies richer while keeping the masses in their place. They found it apparently in their willingness to let the government run out of money so that it may have to shut down. I guess that’s one way to cut the budget.

Makes you proud to be an Alaskan, doesn’t it?