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Turn off the TV and Vote for Truth this Election
By Hal Shepherd
Let’s not beat around the bush. We are all nervous about the upcoming election. This probably has to do with the fact that the political tyrant are leading an unprecedented attack on Democracy. In May of 2021, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell vowed to block President Biden’s entire agenda. McConnell’s statements have illustrated that rather than the good of the country, his priority is to amass and maintain power for himself and his political party. In fact, McConnell all but admits this when he bitterly reacted to one of the most ambitious efforts to address climate change in global history adopted along party lines by stating that he hopes the midterm elections “are a Referendum On Biden.”
One of the best examples that there is also much to lose in the upcoming election is illustrated by the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has a majority of judges appointed by conservative presidents and confirmed by republican majorities in the Senate, including a non-traditional rushed Trump administration appointment at the tail end of Trumps’ term. Now the ultra-right-wing court is setting a whole new standard for political and religious bias.
Another sign of our eroding Democracy is the same faction of politicians who incited the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. They continue to perpetrate the insurrection mostly at the state level, by attempting to pass legislation to restrict the freedom to vote, attacking fair voting districts, and quietly preparing future attempts to sabotage free and fair elections.
Arizona looks to be on the verge of political havoc if MAGA candidates Cary Lake, who is running for Governor, and Mark Finchmen, who could be Lieutenant Governor win the November election, which appears likely. These two have gone so far off the deep end that, if elected, they could potentially refuse to fulfill the traditional step of canvassing the results of the election or sign the required “certificate of ascertainment” which, under Arizona law, must be sent to Washington D.C.
Because there is no precedent for such efforts to perpetuate the Trump Big Lie, this could throw the electoral and legal system into disarray. According to a recent New York Times article this could be “a nightmare scenario for American democracy: The officials in charge of certifying an election refuse to do so, setting off a blizzard of litigation and possibly a constitutional crisis.”
Environmental and environmental justice issues affecting Alaska are on also on next week’s ballot. Alaska’s political leadership including Senators Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Governor Dunleavy have fabricated a false narrative in order to open up almost 30 million acres of public land in the state to mining and other development under a Trump administration rushed planning and environmental review while ignoring repeated requests from Alaska’s local communities, businesses and tribal and conservation organizations for adequate consultation and public process.
Also in Alaska, recent redistricting efforts consisted of nothing more than Republican gerrymandering in order to draw lines making sure progressive candidates could not get elected, or require such candidates to run against each other or eliminate districts that are traditionally progressive strongholds. Similarly, through Alaska’s Ballot Measure 1, the far right has managed to call for a vote on a constitutional convention question which is the first time a such convention has been called for since 1956. The Alaska Constitution specifically protects reproductive rights and Alaska Native land rights, and the call for a convention is a thinly failed strategy to limit such rights and to weaken constitutional rights for all. The Statement in Support of the Ballot Measure 1 in the Voters Pamphlet illustrates the hysteria behind the current convention question by stating “Yes! Our beloved state has been captured by massive political corruption. The amendments that might have been proposed for simpler solutions to a convention have been rejected for years by a legislature, while the judiciary has invented new unconstitutional powers for themselves.”
Fortunately for us, McConnell and the rest of the Republican party's strategy for blocking Biden's agenda has failed. According to producer and activist Michael Moore contrary to Republican claims that the economy has imploded since Biden took office, “wages are up, unemployment is at the lowest in half a century, more jobs have been created during this presidency than any other president in their first two years, inflation has slowed, the economy grew 2.6% last quarter, and everyone on Social Security is going to get a whopping 8.7% increase in their monthly checks in the coming year.”
In stark contrast to the GOP’s regulatory role backs and industry land grabs in Alaska, which reached historic levels with Trump as party leader, the Biden administration has initiated multiple measures to address water and environmental justice issues and listen to tribal communities in Alaska. Particularly with Deb Haaland – the first Native American Woman as the Secretary of Interior, the list of the Biden Administrations’ efforts to include Native Alaskan tribes in water and natural resource management and climate impact mitigation decisions includes reversing Trump's efforts to ignore tribal input in order to open up almost 30 million acres of public lands in the state; Recognizing the significance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in agency decision making; Promoting government-to-government consultation, co-management and other partnerships with tribes in management of federal lands and waters; In terms of geographic scope, proposing one of the largest land protection strategies in U.S. History; Creating initiatives to restore Tribal Homelands; Reinstating national monuments and other protected areas and overhauling outdated in environmentally destructive mining laws and regulations.
As we face one of the most important elections of our lifetime, including the need to keep control of the House and Senate, in Alaska we have to be aware of anti-democracy strategies for stealing elections and protecting our Constitution as well as the efforts of our political leadership to push through one of the most massive industry land grabs in Alaska’s history and block any progress on climate change and the disproportionate impact this has on Alaska Native Communities.
Most importantly we should ignore the doom and gloom from McConnell and the mainstream media who say the “referendum on Biden” is going poorly for the dems. Instead, I’m going with the words of Michael Moore who says we should stop worrying about the upcoming election and turn the T.V. off: “And please trust me — we are going to be fine” as long as we vote your values, integrity and above all the Truth this election.
 Ballot Measure No. 1, State of Alaska Official Election Pamphlet, p. 65 November 8, 2022.