Congratulations... WE WON!
Voice of the Tundra
There are always winners and losers in political contests and the 2012 elections are no different as some won and some didn’t. The blame game is in full swing and talking heads and political pundits are offering readers and listeners a wide range of commentaries and opinions on the positives and negatives of the campaigns. No matter, the results are in and our democracy won!
Now, it is time to cut the rhetoric and get down to work. The campaigns are over and we extend our congratulations to all of those who put their names on the ballot. If there is one redeeming quality about our elections, it’s the debates. Our form of government is indeed made stronger when the candidates discuss the issues and offer the voters choices on operating and capital budgets, political philosophies and personalities. Perhaps, Abraham Lincoln explained it best when he said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended on to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the facts.” Therein lies the challenges.
The rhetoric seems to be shriller this time around. Maybe it is because of all the avenues and means we now use to communicate with each other. There’s the newspaper, radio, television, and now the Internet with hundreds of blogs, online media sources, and self-styled journalists. The question with all of the noise, is what are the reliable sources for facts, the kinds of facts Abraham Lincoln would insist on? This is a question not local only to us but is now national and quickly becoming universal. In this current state of media and political affairs, it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the financial sources for some of this rhetoric which seem to be based on facts whether selective or otherwise. It is particularly challenging in areas where there is great wealth to be exploited. Alaska is just such a place.
There are very few people in this state, less than 750,000 in an area one fifth the size of the rest of the United States. Our lands, whether state-owned or privately held by Native corporations, are largely unexploited and unexplored. There are large pockets and tracts of lands that are untouched and there are few watchful eyes because of limited or an absence of local government. Many have said that beneath the surface lies great undeveloped and unknown wealth that only future Alaskans or future shareholders of large corporations will benefit from. Some speculate that without watchful eyes, those resources will be appropriated years or decades before there will ever be any actual development.
As Alaska completes yet another election cycle, it is imperative that politicians and policymakers not forget their obligations to share the facts, the kinds of facts that local people need to make informed policy decisions that will leave intact the benefits for future Alaskans. This generation of Alaskans is not the only generation that is entitled to benefit from Alaskan’s public wealth. And we should not be rushed to make hasty decisions at the behest of those who have fueled elections.
Yes, the rhetoric needs to be tempered. The elections are over. Those who won have now ascended to self-assumed public responsibilities to be beholden not to only those who offered support during the campaign but to all citizens at all times. And it is because of this ascension that we, the public, must also be those watchful eyes to protect the wealth of the undeveloped natural resources so many crave for their own personal sakes.