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Lipstick power and the complexities of Alaska

September 3, 2008

Alaska initiates you. I know this because, soon after we sledded to my daughter’s home from the airfield where the bush plane landed us, we were off on my first-ever snowmobile trip. We rode sixty miles. What amazed me most was that I still had thumbs and toes when we returned.

But the scenery and the fact that the incredible brightness of the spring sun enabled me to see without glasses were just as amazing. Captivating.

While we were in that bush plane flying from Anchorage to an Inuit village north of the Arctic circle for three hours, I was undergoing astronaut training. We flew with the mail. There wasn’t a restroom on board.  We sat in folding seats, our backpacks scrunched under our knees.

And we flew over country less impacted by human footprints than the moon.

Fast forward ten years later. The whole country is focused on Alaska. Everyone is finding out that Alaska does things its own way because there is no other way to do things in Alaska. And of course, they’re learning that lots of things that happen in Alaska are things that happen everywhere else on the planet, even in their own neighborhoods and families.

What Americans are not learning from their unprepared media is that Alaska is not as incidental as they thought.

The Democrats and their politics of demoralization claim that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is “inexperienced.” Bother the fact that Senator Obama’s own supervisor in his street activist days answered “Nothing, really” when asked what Mr. Obama accomplished in his days there (Recitation of interview, Michael Medved Show, 9/2/2008). Bother the fact that lawmakers are consensus builders and never really have to make decisions. Bother the fact that governors must be decisive because they are executives. Facts are just so much more bothersome than soundbites.

Consider these facts about Alaska. Some of these facts make the state among the most complex–if not the most complex–states to govern:

  • First, notwithstanding Paul Begala’s arrogance-bloated ignorance, Alaska is not unpopulated. Alaska has over 670,000 people. That’s 150,000 more people than live in Wyoming, home of Vice President Cheney. Alaska is the most sparsely populated state, not the least populous. Alaska’s sparseness compounds the complexities of governance.
  • Alaska has an indigenous population, a large portion of which retains its subsistence lifestyle.
  • Alaska natives have one of the highest fetal alcoholism rates in the country.  This makes it hard to meet NCLB standards imposed by public schools.
  • Much of Alaska is without roads. The state has no intrastate highway system. Many people get around only by dog sled, snowmobile, and bush plane.
  • Alaska is a major energy-producing state and has the most politically debated gas and oil reserves of any state.
  • The Federal government owns 60% of Alaska’s land–a far higher percentage than any other state.
  • Alaska has two international borders: Canada and Russia. While there is no land border with Russia, there is a water border with fishing rights on either side.
  • Every Alaskan lives closer to Russian Siberia than to Washington, D.C.
  • Alaska has a population of people who live there because they don’t particularly want to be governed.

But what do we hear about the complex experience of the Governor of Alaska?

“Alaska has six people and some reindeer.”

“Shhh,” whistles Senator Biden in his loudest and best stage whisper. “Children are off limits.” “CHILDREN ARE OFF LIMITS, DO YOU HEAR ME?” We’d have to be deaf to miss it, Joe. Keep shhhh-ing and make sure that everyone understands that you are trying to protect them from the most unutterable secret sin imaginable: a BABY! HORRORS!!!!!!!!

Governor Palin and her family hit the scene with a vibrancy and authenticity that was completely new to America. They simply had nothing to hide; they aired it all.

I scooped them to heart immediately and claimed kin. As it happens, my husband’s grandmother was a Heath and my grandmother was a Palin.

The Democrats of demoralization could find nothing on them, nothing. A 24-year old traffic offense and a discretionary action had to be amplified to come out as a squeak. But they could keep bellowing about how they wouldn’t say anything about The Baby.

The Republican Convention began as a weatherwatch. Then there were a few unmemorable speeches from an actor and a party crossover. But what the whole world awaits is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and fam. What the whole world really awaits is a gander at The Boy. Levi! That’s him! He knocked up the Governor’s daughter!

History assures us that normalcy returns, albeit with a new twist. Viva le twist.

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