Columns 2008

America be proud…Alaska not so much

I sit here wondering what I can possible say that hasn’t already been said about this historic election.  It’s probably the first time I’ve cried listening to a politician since the day I attended Bobby Kennedy’s funeral in New York and listened to his brother’s eulogy for him.

A few days before the election, I listened to Public Radio International report in which commentators from a variety of European countries were interviewed about their take on the upcoming election.  One of them said something that really stuck in my mind. He said that Europe was watching our election in rapt fascination because the reality was that in Europe, it was unimaginable to think a person with dark skin could ever be elected to the highest position in government. But in America, he said, a person of color actually had a chance of winning the election and leading what is still arguably the greatest country on earth.

I think last night’s election proved that we are not only the greatest nation on earth, but more importantly that we are still the greatest beacon of hope this world has. Despite all that the Current Occupier and his minions have done to tarnish our image and erase any vestige of good will for America, we are still the only place to go if you really want a chance to shoot for the stars. That’s what brought my grandparents here almost 100 years ago. It’s what still draws immigrants to our shores year after year.

For those who doubt the benefit of immigration, I can only stay that it is through the diversity of thought, culture and customs they bring to America that we remain as strong and vigorous as we are. Europe sits in stagnation, unable or unwilling to give their immigrant populations the ability to fully integrate into mainstream society. America may not be perfect, but on this issue we are head and shoulders above anyone else around.

I’ve had friends say to me that Obama is too glib, too silver tongued. And I respond, “What is wrong with charismatic?” Isn’t that a perfect description of Martin Luther King, Jr.? He inspired us with words and those words described a vision of the possibilities of America. His speeches challenged us to make those possibilities real.  Isn’t that the very definition of what a leader should do? I’ll take that any day over someone who tells us that if we go shopping, we can beat Al Qaida.

Of course, no discussion of last night’s results is complete without an explanation of our congressional races. And anyone who has a good clue as to what happened should call me.

I do wish all my friends and relatives from the East Coast would stop e-mailing me and asking me what we were thinking.  I especially resent those questions coming out of New Jersey since it is glaringly evident to me that the citizens of that fine state are extremely upset that we’ve taken from them one of their proudest titles….most corrupt politics in America.

Well New Jersey, get over it.  We’ve taken that title from you and plan to hold on to it as long as possible. After all, except for that title, what other titles do we really own? State that receives the most federal dollars per person? State that redefined Main Street as a four-lane highway with a divider?

Here’s the simplest explanation of the results of last night’s congressional races. Not only don’t we care how they do it in the lower ’48, we don’t care how convicted our felons are so long as they are dragging federal pork home with them.  Alaskans may boast of being independent minded cusses who want government out of their lives, but the truth is that we don’t want the government out until they’ve delivered our checks. Then they can leave.

So there you have it. I went from crying last night over the election of a man who I believe can lead this nation back to the greatness it abandoned over the past eight years, to total awe at the fact that here in Alaska, crimes and misdemeanors are completely forgiven so long as we get our share of federal dollars. I’m proud of America today. I have mixed emotions about Alaska.