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January 24, 2017

Alaska’s Dirty Little Secret, and Why Bernie Can Win

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To the disappointment of conspiracy nuts across the U.S. of A, President Barack Obama confirmed this week he won’t run for a third term. Even if he could, he said, his wife wouldn’t let him. And besides, why would he want to get treated like the substitute teacher for another four years?

Oh, that’s right. The only people crazier than armed bird refuge squatters are those contending for the GOP nomination for president. I wonder what any one of the GOP candidates thinks about Alaska? Drill? Um, we tried that. The oil companies are going to keep our oil in the ground — like their personal ATMs — at least until a barrel of oil costs more than a single king salmon.

Then there’s the other contest — the one for the Democratic presidential nomination. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are duking it out there.

On a frigid night not so long ago, a super-minority of Alaskans created the biggest traffic jam since Kmart’s East Anchorage store. It was so damn cold and the only available parking was a mile from Nick Begich Middle School, where we were holding the 2008 Democratic caucus.

I warned the organizers to expect a turnout. The previous caucus had drawn fewer than 200 people, so they weren’t worried. Then 5,000 people showed up. I wore a blue hard hat and stood on a lunch table to look out over a cafeteria full of people registering to vote. As a registrar myself, I had to check IDs and sign off, and I signed hundreds of registrations that night.

Though I’ve since changed my registration to independent, I was then a new Democrat. Why? I wanted to caucus. It was a more innocent time in my life, a time when I was prone to believe philandering white men like John Edwards. I know. Mistake. And it wasn’t my worst call of the year, but that’s another column.

Anyway, in February 2008 I didn’t think an African-American man had a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected president. I was and still am mad at Hillary Clinton for her vote to take us into the Iraq war. John Edwards was talking about the war on poverty. That meant something to me. It still does. In fact, it means more in this election than it did in that one.

I was one of those saying, “No, he can’t” about Obama. Sure, he was a charismatic speaker and I agreed with much of what he had to say, but I simply didn’t think he could pass muster with the majority of American voters. A black man with the middle name “Hussein?” Seriously?

The Obama campaign had an answer for doubters like me. It was, “Yes We Can!” And they did.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching Democrats tear into each other to reach the top of their ticket. I cringe when I hear people say, “It’s Hillary’s turn.” What? We’re taking turns with the presidency, like it’s the shotgun seat on the ride to school? That’s not how this is supposed to work.

Hillary has an email problem that isn’t going away. Hey, I’m being consistent. When Sarah Palin used a private email account to conduct state business, I had a big problem with it. Why would I feel differently about Clinton?

I laugh when people say Bernie can’t win because he’s a socialist. We can thank the right-wingers for rendering that a nonissue. They called Obama a socialist for eight years. That was such a ridiculous lie it made the label meaningless.

Besides, fellow Alaskans, you know love of socialism is the dirty little secret we all share. Go ahead, find me a single Alaska tea partyer who doesn’t benefit from multiple government programs — whether it’s a government contract or government-provided health care. Pack a lunch.

Big case in point, the Permanent Fund. If Alaskans don’t like socialism, why are so many of us fighting so hard to keep state government from diverting our collectively earned money from our collectively owned natural resources that now goes to our individual bank accounts.

Really, what do we demand tax free — except police and fire departments, schools, airports, harbors, roads and ferries (to name a few items on a very long list)?

Of course, all the “sky is falling” warnings of impending economic catastrophe once Obama took office came to less than nothing. I’m not the first to note that, if Obama is a socialist, he’s the worst one ever. Just ask the stock market.

He cleverly kept his Muslim religion hidden beneath a diabolical, decades-long practice of Christianity. I believe burqas are still optional for formal events. Millions of us still have our guns — including those who need a 30-round magazine to go deer hunting. Or grocery shopping. (The confiscator in chief is running out of time.)

Alaskans won’t get their chance to caucus again until March. Eight years ago we were swept up in Super Tuesday activities, but the chance to caucus is still important — even for states like ours with relatively few super voters. You should get involved. We still need hope and change.

This article is cross-posted at The Alaska Dispatch News.

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3 Responses to “Alaska’s Dirty Little Secret, and Why Bernie Can Win”
  1. akbatgirly says:

    I was one of the 5,000 who caucused at Begich……………….it remains one of the most amazing nights of my life. I stuck with the Democratic Party for a year, but switched back to Nonpartisan because I always like to keep my options open for the local primaries. I’ll be switching back to Dem so that I can caucus for Hilary. I disagree that Sanders can win, I like him a lot, but I just don’t think that he’d appeal to true moderates. Plus, I think that Hilary has gained a wealth of experience as Secretary of State. I went with Obama last time because I felt that he wouldn’t have the baggage that Clinton had, but it turned out that a large chunk of this country simply hated him due to the color of his skin. I figure that if Obama can be effective in those conditions, then Hilary can too. I’m hoping that either Sanders or Warren will fill the VP slot. See you at the caucus!

    • CorningNY says:

      If you’re going to support Ms. Clinton, you might learn to spell her name right. It’s Hillary with two “L”s.

      • Dagian says:

        Unless she needs to write in the candidate’s full name, I think akbatgirly will be okay. Although I agree it’s best to learn how to spell her name properly.

        In the end, it’s more important to spell surnames properly.

        *rim shot*

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