My Turn: One person's vision of past, present, future

Posted: Sunday, November 10, 2002

I want to make some comments on our newfound American nationalism. But first, we need some history. How about our approach to the purchase of Alaska when it was Russian America? Imagine the kind of vision that it must have required to purchase Alaska when, at the time, it was deemed a desert wasteland. I seem to remember Sen. Stevens saying similar things about rural Alaska, but imagine the vision!

I, too, am proud of our nation and its grand vision at the time, our manifest destiny and our powerful desire to conquer the wilderness and build our nation into a great, glorious, civilized future with jobs for all, tax cuts for the rich included. I also am proud of the way our nation has manifested itself in modern times, a tribute to our excellent, flag-waving past, mainly by the murder of innocent foreign people (not the corporate elite) in our new, highly publicized War on Terror, which some anti-American intellectuals would have us believe is actually just a diversion from our economic situation!

I'm proud of the fervor with which the Shrub-Bush administration has fanned our patriotic nationalism by taking advantage of 9/11, flags, eagles and the Statue of Liberty, much as Hitler fanned his country's now-demonized flames, except that no one in this country would dare compare Nazi fascism with our holy Republican White House, even if we do murder innocent civilians in the name of goodness, Christianity and Coca-Cola, and then consider it un-American for our citizens to think about the atrocities our nation has committed, and is in the process of committing.

Aside from the absolute illegality of the Russians selling a territory that they had never even fully mapped, without consulting any of the indigenous people who actually lived there, the Russians were mainly interested in resource exploitation when they occupied Alaska, and I would argue that they had no legal right to sell it, because they did not own it! Much like buying stolen goods at a pawn shop. That's vision, that's our American heritage.

The history of Alaska is, as the rest of the world, full of genocide and economic assimilation. What a true vision for the future they must have had! Militarily suppressing Native Alaskans, forcing them to stop speaking their language and practicing their customs through Christian schools and then, twisting them, from a people with a heritage and culture, into shareholders in Native corporations, pawns of a corporate game, making them players on our chessboard of materialism and economic-development, to which there will never be an end. What vision!

I see a bright future for Alaska in Murkowski. I really do. He's got a vision. He's gonna give us jobs, he ain't gonna tax us, he's just gonna cut trees down, drill the oil till we run out, again, and then, happily, announce that he's done a splendid job in improving our quality of life, as we stand amid our rows of identical houses, stretched over the paved tundra as far as the eyes can see in a plastic Tinkertoy Alaska, where, like always, the rich stand on the backs of the poor, or better yet, as in capitalism, convince them that it's for their own good that they be stood upon. But then we still won't have enough, will we?

When the Republican war draft comes for me to fight for God and country against the demon Saddam Hussein, or the devil Osama Bin Laden (if he even exists) or North Korea or any other member of the axis of evil, and I ask if it was really legitimate when I signed the social contract by being born into a nation that is run by greedy fools, will they still force me to commit murder, in the name of peace? Let's give thanks that we have such a vision for the future!

Chris Behnke, a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School, is a student the University of Alaska Southeast and is a former member of Up With People.



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