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Voting for the local

Posted: Friday, November 01, 2002

I was born in and raised throughout Alaska, having lived in Juneau, Fairbanks, South Naknek, Dillingham, and Kenny Lake. My mother was a Bush teacher, overqualified and doomed to roam the vast wasteland of the educational system. I am 20 years old, and a student surrounded by the drugged apathetic materialism of my generation. I do not support the immediate economic-development gratification that Murkowski would have us believe is the answer, which only contributes to and quickens the sickness of non-sustainable Americanism.

I have seen the result of "economic development" as everyone touts it, first hand. Marine Park and its trees are torn up for a parking lot, political developers yearning to see Thane Road turned into a plastic tourist heliport, Franklin Street and its plastic-Alaska consumerism, empty and boarded up in the winter. The Wasilla area, future site of our "new accessible capital" is a huge, disgusting strip center, and the Valley is following its example. Economic development means that we will never have enough.

Material wealth is a luring political carrot-on-a-stick, but at what cost? I like the fact that Juneau is not flooded with RVs like the rest of the state, because, thank God, there is no road for them to flood through. RVs and the type of tourism that comes with them cannot be argued by any stretch of imagination to be anything but disgusting.

While the environment may be indestructible, as Republicans claim, its inhabitants are not. While participating in this opulent, economy-driven society, we should remember the fact that "humans are natural and forever a part of, and dependent upon, natural ecosystems." (Waller)

Murkowski and Ulmer may both base their perception of society on instant non-sustainable economic gratification, but at least Ulmer is a small step in the left direction. I'm voting for a local, extremely intelligent woman, rather than a conservative, gung-ho-to-develop at-whatever-expense Republican. Speculative utopianism aside, vote for Fran.

Chris Behnke

Juneau

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