Just say yes

As Alaskan author Marybeth Holleman reminded us in her recent post on Art & Activism, writing is action. On the heels of that reminder comes a call to action as Alaska governor Sarah Palin joined two other Republican governors eying the 2012 presidential nomination by announcing she would accept only 69 percent of the federal stimulus funds available to Alaska.

Logic is lost on our governor. Her idea of employment includes only construction workers, not artists and educators. Because apparently the stuff they build requires no state funding for ongoing maintenance. It’s only artists and educators, in the governor’s skewed vision, who would somehow lock the state into continuing to fund their frivolous little endeavors.

That nonsense about the value of education, the value of teaching a person to fish instead of giving a person a fish? That’s not how we do it in Palin country. Here, we dole out $1200 per person from our revenue surplus, assured that no one will expect that particular bonanza next year. But funding that helps Alaskans and contributes to our country’s economic recovery? Schools and artists might come clamoring for more. In utter defiance of logic, our governor reportedly called the federal stimulus money “a bribe.”

I’m weary of the insulting Orwellian refrain that every decision of our governor, no matter how transparently aimed at her national political ambitions, is “good for Alaska.” There’s nothing good for Alaska in refusing short-term funding with imaginary strings attached. Educators, of all people, understand nonrenewable grants. They know how to put them to good use. So do artists.

I just returned from visiting an Alaskan village where evidence of cultural decimation begun decades ago is rampant. The governor’s solution, proposed on her one-day photo-op tour with Reverend Franklin Graham, is for Native young people to leave their villages for seasonal work in fish processing plants. The gap between this simplistic “solution” and the complex reality of what’s happening in Alaska’s villages is so huge it defies description. I suppose it’s a little like unleashing a dozen grade-schoolers with washcloths to clean up the mess from the Exxon Valdez devastation and calling it good.

Writing is action. Your legislators face an uphill battle to secure funding that should have been a given. If you don’t know who represents you, check with the Division of Elections.

Write to them. Now.

4 thoughts on “Just say yes”

  1. Excellent – thanks for the links Marybeth. I went right from posting to those sites and sent emails to my senator and representative, but didn’t think to include the links. I’m going back to add them now.

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