Arrogant - or just lively discussion?

Posted: Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Is it now time to use the tension of a possible capital move to push and further a political agenda? I see this raised in many corners of our city, particularly in the business community. The line of reasoning seems to be, "Alaskans believe Juneau is arrogant and anti-development, therefore we all should be pro-development (or give the perception) to prevent a state Capitol move."

This is faulty reasoning. Does anyone truly believe that having any one person changing their views or suppressing those views will help prevent or quiet the debate on a capital move? That sounds like oppression to me. I would rather a person argue an issue on its own merits than use a current political situation as a tool of persuasion.

The issue of the day seems to be the capital move. Yes, people (especially in Anchorage or the surrounding areas) believe Juneau is arrogant. And, if perception is the game in politics, we would want to appear less arrogant, am I correct? Yes. But should we? No! If one examines the root of that perception, you would find a community of lively, diverse people who are not afraid to share their opinion and participate in the political and social issues we face. That is not too bad, but I personally believe that it all too often ends with the group that is loudest winning. Perhaps that is in absence of reasonable leadership.

All of that aside, I believe that to keep the state capital in Juneau, first we will need to discover a community identity. If one, true community identity comes to us, in absence of political fear-mongering, we can bring that identity to the rest of the state. Strong identity and community vision could not only improve our standing within the rest of the state, it would also help Juneau internally. Honesty, in the end, wins.

Ishmael Hope


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