Opinions

Eastman has brought disrepute on the Alaska House

I’m 65 years old. Both of my parents served in the United States Marine Corps during the Second World War. My mother made sure we heard the stories of that terrible war, particularly stories of the Holocaust.

The pediatrician who delivered my two siblings was named Blinkoff, and he was part of a concentration camp liberation force.

The nation of Germany thought it wise, and rightly so, to outlaw glorification of Nazis, whether through words or deeds. The United States, on the other hand, with our Bill of Rights that guarantees the rights of freedom of speech and peaceable assembly (free association), has never outlawed Nazism. In point of fact, prior to the Second World War, sympathy for Hitler was at an all-time high in some circles in our country. Sadly — tragically — sympathy for the devil has turned out to be more than a Rolling Stones song, with Holocaust denial, glorification of the Third Reich, and open admiration for the cowardly Adolf Hitler becoming mainstream in America.

I moved to Alaska in the service of my country in 1976, and stayed. I have followed the state political scene for decades, sometime more closely than others, and like most Alaskans, can name a few scalawags and scoundrels, as well as more than a few extremely honorable ladies and gentlemen who have served our state through thick and thin. For them I, like most Alaskans, hold the highest degree of affection and gratitude.

However, I never thought there would come a day when I would find myself staring at the repulsive image of a member of a legislative body standing next to a quote from the man solely responsible for the deaths of millions of not only his own nations’ citizens but Americans, British, Canadian, French and Russian and other Allied soldiers, sailors, airmen — and civilians — not merely standing, but standing in a pose of attention, a sign of military respect, in the fashion he was taught at, of all places, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Those of the “Long Gray Line” take their responsibility as American military officers personally and seriously, as befits the station of their appointment. To the immense credit of nearly 70 alumni and former commissioned officers, a letter was sent to this member of the House of Representatives, who was not only present on the grounds of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but who also proudly claims life membership in a group called the “Oath Keepers,” several of whom are currently under federal indictment for their roles on that dark date. The presence of an Alaska legislator there was undoubtedly at the call of the former president, but by no means representative of the interests of our state.

This same representative, a participant in an insurrection aimed at overturning the constitutional process of electing the President of the United States, has also stood on the Alaska House floor, in session, and verbally disparaged Alaska Native women, disparaged, through his votes, African American and Hmong veterans, and generally proven himself to be contemptible to many, many Alaskans.

The Alaska House of Representatives has the power to police its membership based on both their Uniform Rules and the Alaska Constitution. I urge, in no uncertain terms, the expulsion of David Eastman from its body.

Mark Springer is a 46-year resident of rural Alaska, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and the mayor of Bethel.

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