Five issues have made southcentral Alaska news over the past few days that, tied together, paint a picture of a people in total denial: A seeming unwillingness by Alaskans and their lawmakers to adequately fund higher education in the sciences; the promotion to the job of Alaska's wildlife director of a man deemed by dozens of wildlife management professionals to be unqualified; the selection of an unimaginative military functionary to guide our universities through trying times; the continuing and deepening commitment by Alaska's national delegation, including Sen. Mark Begich, to fight off scientists who seek to find long-term solutions for survival of the Cook Inlet Belugas; and the announcement that the company proposing development of the Chuitna coal fields just doesn't give a damn if they destroy prime salmon streams and habitat for the next 35,000 years.
So many scenarios, playing out simultaneously, I can imagine us - Alaskans - as inhabiting a huge theme park, managed by people who listen to Anchorage right-wing talk radio, and paid for by corporations who feel it is in their interests to manage not just the animals, but the people too, for maximum yield. The people, just like the moose and caribou, are here for maximum sustainable yield of corporate profits by foreign-owned cruise ship companies, foreign-owned oil conglomerates, foreign-owned mining companies, foreign-owned mega-fishing fleets, and - soon - foreign-controlled gas pipelines and LNG plants.
Our politicians and corporate leaders have no intention of turning southcentral Alaska into anything more modern than it has to be to serve their corporate interests. Aging, visionary leaders like Wally Hickel and Vic Fischer are marginalized by our current political leadership.
Watching the 2010 gubernatorial campaigns shape up, the flight of funding to those most in favor of managing Alaska's human population for the abundance of profits by foreign-owned companies isn't very startling. Nor have been the moves by Alaska's right-wing elected legislators in Juneau to keep oversight over corporate contributions in the post Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission world from occurring in a rational way. It is frustrating, though, to see so few Alaskans willing to stand up and fight for our rights to not be treated as if we were so many moose and caribou, being unscientifically managed, and being skinned and mounted on the walls of corporate offices in Tokyo, Oslo, Vancouver, London, Hong Kong or the Caymen Islands.
Meanwhile, here's a song for our newest improbable State Director, Corey Rossi: