It's time we started getting along

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008

You gotta hand it to Sen. Ted Stevens, he doesn't equivocate.

After telling us that the 2008 campaign will be more divided and more partisan, he goes on to blame Alaska's lack of real growth on "extreme environmentalists" and tells us that we have to wake up and deal with the "enemy that is within us," whatever that means.

Is Stevens going to put them all in camps? Or maybe we should just form a few lynch mobs.

Most likely, though, "dealing" with these enemies of the state will involve taking away their rights as citizens to petition their government, something currently masquerading as "tort reform," a favorite topic of corporate representatives everywhere. It's part of the consequence-free environment big business seems to need to maximize the bottom line, and I'm sure it's a sacrifice Stevens would be happy to make for all of us.

Perhaps Alaska's stymied growth is due to a boom and bust resource-extraction economy, and the reliance on a few industries that do not seem able to stand on their own, or are all too willing to accept government hand-outs. Yes, they "provide good jobs" until the trees are gone, the minerals mined, and the oil and gas sucked out of the ground.

What then?

Sustainability doesn't seem to be on the agenda here, nor do a few other things we learned in kindergarten: Tell the truth. Share. Clean up after yourself. These don't seem to be "conservative" values, and they certainly had no place on the corporate agenda until a few citizens groups formed and forced their government to address some serious problems.

True, environmentalism grew out of a national prosperity and the ability to care about the consequences of development. They grew up hand-in-hand, as it were, and that's how we're going to walk into a difficult future. It's time we started getting along, rather than letting a corporate stooge such as Stevens set us at each other's throats.

And I've been wondering: If Stevens is so great and has done so much for the state, why does so much of it look like the Third World?

Jamison Paul


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