Room enough for both parties in the Great Land

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In response to the interest of my readers, I recently made my way to the Governor's Mansion at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 1.

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I had to keep my eyes peeled, however, to avoid any wild placard wavers who might have wanted to scare Dick Morris or John Bolton. It was quiet on the street, so I entered our great historic Southern mansion.

I met a warm-hearted group invited by the Gastineau Channel Republican Women to welcome some of the guests who were affiliated with the magazine, National Review. Some 400 people made the cruise to hear talks and attend seminars. I met Ambassador John Bolton and Judge Robert Bork. Those figures have gotten a lot of attention in recent years.

The governor gave a short welcoming address, the attorney general spoke, and Dick Morris gave a speech about the danger of allowing appointed government officials to subvert the agenda of the electorate. I personally did not think that this applied very much to Alaska.

The people I liked the best were two women. One was Kate O'Beirne. The tall blond woman frequently seen on TV taking the conservative side, she is the Washington D.C. director of National Review. I complimented her, telling her that she always sounded so calm and reasonable among other often shrill voices. The second woman was a retired editor of the New York Times.

On the other side of the political divide, Rocky Anderson, the Salt Lake City mayor, was traveling through Juneau about the same time with a group, affiliated with the Nation magazine.

A rally was held at Marine Park on July 30. Ralph Nader was present, and Anderson said, "Patriotism doesn't mean anything, morality doesn't mean anything, without a willingness to act."

Pray that only good deeds flower and not hurtful, disrespectful and uncivil acts. Alaska is the Great Land, big enough to embrace and welcome warmly all who visit or live here.

• Lifelong Alaskan Elton Engstrom is a retired fish buyer, lawyer and legislator (1964-70) who lives in Juneau.

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