Two weeks ago I wrote about the upcoming, state-sponsored "Federal Overreach Summit."
Well, Alaska, they dug to the bottom of the barrel and managed to make a meeting of it -- trotting out all the usual tea party nonsense about how tapping Alaska resources without having to answer to the feds on environmental issues is the embodiment of democracy.
But this summit wasn't just a pathway to pillaging resources. It was a dog-whistle concert for every wing nut they could get in the door.
The governor's policy director, Randy Ruaro, said there had been a funding request for "proactive science." Apparently that is different from, oh, say, "science." He went on, "It's good to have your own science when debating the federal government."
I'm guessing this would be some science that says, "Salmon like copper. It's delicious. Build Pebble mine."
Gov. Sean Parnell, or his staff, read my column and explained it to the crowd.
"One newspaper opinion writer said she took offense that on the one hand, we would complain about parts of federal government overreach, while with the other we accept federal dollars under federal law. But that's faulty logic."
Really? Faulty logic? I thought I laid out my case out pretty well. Middle finger salute (your summit, for example) vs. hands outstretched (waiting for FEMA funds and "For the love of God and all that is holy, please don't close the federal military bases here").
The governor then went on to explain that my argument was like telling an abused woman in a relationship with a "controlling and manipulative person" that "she should be quiet because she's accepting part of his paycheck and food. That's just wrong."
I'm glad the governor went there. It shows how well he understands the plight of too many women in Alaska. If you're battered, he feels your pain. After all, taking more federal dollars per capita than any other state and having to comply with clean-water rules to protect salmon is exactly like being beaten by a partner. (Oh, and ladies? You got a parade and a slogan, "Choose Respect." The poor, oppressed Alaska Department of Natural Resources got a summit.)
When is the Abused Women's Summit, governor? You know, two days at the Dena'ina Center with you and the entire congressional team showing up to bash all men in general?
I want that on my calendar.
Will you attend a "State Overreach Summit" in Bristol Bay? That's the one where the local people get together to object to your administration shoving down their throats a copper mine in an area that was supposed to protect salmon.
If you need an analogy, don't use wife-beating; try Alaska as a spoiled teenager who wants the car but no curfew.
So, back to the summit.
Congressman Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski railed against the federal government. Pardon me, Don and Lisa, but you ARE the federal government. Did you forget that? Don Young has been on the government dime full-time for more than four decades. Forty years! Talk about a welfare queen. He's missed more votes than just about any non-comatose congressman but doesn't blink at cashing those federal paychecks and enjoying government health care.
We'd like to think maybe Young's bolo tie was too tight as he proceeded to scold federal workers. He's one of more than 22,000 federal workers here. Nevertheless, he told them, "Feel a little bit guilty, because you are the government, not of the people, but government for government's sake. And that's not a democracy. That's not freedom. That becomes a monarchy. A totalitarian state."
That's right, federal workers, think of yourselves as the palace guard, or maybe Nazis.
Yes. This guy is actually allowed to vote on things like war and health care and doesn't realize he's a federal employee.
Sleep tight, Alaska.
How did Murkowski overlook the 32 years either she or her father was on the federal government dole? For all her certainty that there's a problem with the federal government, she sure didn't seem to be taking any personal responsibility. The woman who voted for the Blunt Amendment to limit women's freedom to access birth control is talking about "federal overreach"?
Wow, that's rich. I mean, I get it: government small enough to fit in a uterus, but not so big it can require limits on industrial pollution. Awesome.
And most of these whiners and their audience won't think twice about wasting federal money by the boatload anytime they get the chance: Knik Arm bridge, Port of Anchorage, Bridge to Nowhere, Mat-Su ferry, and on and on.
When elected officials talk about how bad the government is, they tend to spend the rest of their time making the government bad. They prove their point, over and over, with ideological policy and partisan attacks.
The summit wasn't about fighting for personal freedoms for individuals -- like voting rights or who we love, marry or what we do with our bodies -- it was about who is going to have the power to approve projects for wealthy, campaign-contributor, multinational corporations.
Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio.