A lesson from history

Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2001

Remember the French Revolution?

The peasants were starving and Queen Marie Antoinette, when told that the disenfranchised had no bread, supposedly said, "Let them eat cake."

That's exactly what came to mind when I read Gov. Knowles' spokesman Bob King's explanation for why Juneau doesn't need a road. King proclaimed that the only highway Alaskans need is the "information highway."

Tell that to the average family in Fairbanks who'd love to visit their state capital some summer but can't afford to fly or spend what it costs to take the ferry (if it's even running).

Politicians - like kings and queens - always seem to know what's best for their subjects and often fail to recognize the arrogance of their own pronouncements. Comments like King's coming out of the Capitol perpetuate the image of Juneau as an exclusive, elitist sanctuary for out-of-touch politicians.

We can spend millions on fancy, high-tech teleconferencing and video streaming. But until the common folk can put their 4x4's on that information highway, the rallying cry for the legislative move will be the "access" issue that for 40 years Juneau has failed to address in any meaningful way.

The price Marie Antoinette paid for her arrogance and short-sightedness was her head. "Capital" comes from the Latin word for "head." When 250,000 Alaskans storm the polls in November 2002, let's hope we don't lose ours.

Gerry Crossley


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