Monday, September 15, 2008

I Can See Russia From Outside My Door


You can see Russia from outside my front door. She said that! She made a point to remind us that those Russians can easily make their way over to American soil and attack at will! What a desperate attempt to strike fear among all those who remember the Cuban missile crisis and the Cold War years.

Those darn Russians are close, and I, as the Governor of Alaska, serve the role of protecting our American borders. Give me a break Gov! The Cold War ended with the fall of the iron curtain. Russia isn’t what it used to be, and most intelligent American’s aren’t buying into that game anymore. Whoops! Forgive me. Maybe they are. Maybe Americans are dumb enough to feed into the “we better watch our back” game.

The implied statement made during Sarah Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson makes it easier to understand how so many Americans think. I have been dumbfounded by how Americans are so easily duped into embracing a we versus them mentality that has the world snubbing us due to our arrogance. I know! I Know! 911 is proof that we should never take national security for granted. Things have changed in the good ole U.S. of A.

But that assertion was way over the top. Implied in her statement was a gross exaggeration of her role as head of the states National Guard. Because of her leadership, we are led to believe; those darn Russians have been kept from coming over here. Look at me. I’m like the head of state, leading our troops into protecting our national interest.

I sure hope Americans are smart enough to read between these lines of Bull fertilizer. But wait. Please wait. There’s more in her statement that Americans need to ponder. If she can see Russia from outside her door, doesn’t that prove how far removed she is from the typical American agenda? She’s a long way from where I live down in Durham, North Carolina. Shucks, I doubt if she has ever encountered some of the issues that are common within my backyard.

4,4875 miles. That’s how far Anchorage, Alaska is from Durham, North Carolina. It takes 75 hours and 13 minutes to drive there. You have to drive through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver before you make it to Anchorage. I realize the state has some statistics that resonates with most Americans-number seven in the nation in violent crimes. Number one in the nation, that’s right, numero uno, in reported rapes. The people in Alaska have some of the same problems with crime facing the rest of us, but for different reasons.

Alaska has a thriving economy driven by the oil industry. In 2006, the State Gross Product was 43.6 Billion, the 5th highest in the nation. “Crime is really high there because people have noting to do,” a former resident of Alaska told me. “My father is a judge there, and he’s happy I no longer live there because it is safer in Durham, NC.” What! Are you serious! It’s safer in Durham “shoot em up, gang banga capital of North Carolina?” Has pops seen “Welcome to Durham”, the documentary that portrayed Durham as an unsafe place to live?

So, let me get this right. Crime is higher, much higher in Alaska because people have nothing else to do. It’s high because it’s so dark and people get depressed. They fill voids with alcohol and drugs and do crazy things because they have nowhere to go. That’s life in Alaska. Oh, let’s not forget you can see Russia from your front door.

Life up there is completely different than life down here. You have your social outcasts who live there because they want to remove themselves from life as we know it in the other states. You can’t take a drive to another state. You can go hunt and fish, get a few drinks and turn on the tube and watch “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars”. Sounds like a lot of fun! Life away from the rest of us, and Russia is so very, very close.

Those are the type of credentials we need in a person who may be called upon to lead our nation. Someone far removed from the rest of us. Who wants a president who has the benefit of the American label but never has to connect to American problems? Who wants a president who has never contended with the demographics the rest of us take for granted?

It’s one thing to deal with a few enraged people struggling to find a way to have fun. It’s a different matter when you have people who are grappling with finding a way to survive after the plant has moved overseas. It’s one thing to refuse to take a job with the petroleum company because it doesn’t fit your free and easy spirit, versus not finding work because work can’t be found.

Oh well. I suppose we have a few things in common. Can’t you see Russia from outside your front door?

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