To the editor: I’ve been thinking a lot about communities lately. Communities are built over long periods of time through the efforts of many people. Communities are built on middle ground, not extremes. Yet only a few people can unravel community ties given the proper circumstances.
In zero-compromise politics, such as Donna Arduin and Mike Dunleavy have foisted on Alaska, the room for middle ground is erased and everyone has to choose a side. This pits members of communities against each other and creates wounds that never heal. I’m seeing this play out here in Fairbanks, where people have found themselves staring across unbridgeable divides at others they once counted as friends. Community ties are being torn asunder.
Arduin is a woman adrift. She knows nothing of community. She has never built anything of significance. She has devoted her life to nomadically moving from one state to another, destroying what others have spent decades building. Her policies have failed in every state where they have been implemented, while she bolts to the next state to repeat the process, never having to experience the wreckage she leaves behind. Devoid of any notion of place and community, she is incapable of recognizing what she has done. It’s all transactional for her.
Arduin has no use for human connections, and Dunleavy has embraced her contempt for Alaska’s communities and for the bonds that hold us together. He shares her belief that they are irrelevant. The ultimate result of Arduin’s scorched-earth policies will be to rip us apart and create an Alaska modeled on her perverted values, where only money matters. Yet human values, not money, are what communities are built on. Without those values, we become nothing.
This is a fight for Alaska itself, and for what we were given by our predecessors — a state and communities we were entrusted to continue building, a place that has given our lives purpose. If we allow Arduin’s and Dunleavy’s scorn for Alaska to take hold, then there’s no reason left to fight. We will have lost what matters most. We won’t have communities to return to.