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Extreme candidates tarnish Fairbanks

While Mindy O’Neall’s community perspective about searching for middle ground in the upcoming municipal election was appreciated, she didn’t detail how radical and extremist several local candidates are. This needs to be understood by all voters, because no one who values Fairbanks wants any of the following people holding public office.

Borough Assembly candidate Patricia Silva recently made headlines with her since-deleted Facebook posts. She is over her head in the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, which has morphed into a cult, and her posts raise serious questions about her mental fitness. I visited her Facebook page hours before she scrubbed it, capturing over 60 screenshots of public posts, and will send these to anyone who emails me at No sane person reading her ramblings would ever cast a vote for her.

Silva claims tunnels filled with thousands of children’s corpses lie beneath the White House, the Covid vaccine contains a tracking microchip and is a plot to depopulate the world while the unvaccinated are placed in holding camps, calls evangelist Billy Graham a pedophile, insists the 2020 presidential election was stolen, declares 9/11 an inside job, and more, without ever offering evidence for anything. If her family and friends truly care about her, they will get her off the internet and out of politics.

Former assemblyman Lance Roberts wisely scrubbed his social media activity prior to launching his latest run for office. We can see why. Roberts was questioned by the Alaska Dispatch in 2013 over his relentless boosterism of the radical cleric Rousas John Rushdoony, a deeply racist and antisemitic pseudo-Christian who advocated replacing constitutional governance with theocratic rule and called for mass executions of non-Christians, sexual minorities, and misbehaving children. Rushdoony declared Black Americans inferior and endorsed restoring slavery. In his written — and thus thought-through — responses, Roberts praised Rushdoony as a model Christian.

Rushdoony was a Holocaust denier who claimed Jewish deaths only numbered in the thousands and resulted from disease, that there were no gas chambers, and that holding Nazi Germany responsible for the Holocaust is “false witness.” Roberts called Rushdoony “an extremely accurate historian,” adding, “if he has a take on different numbers, then that bears looking into.” This is an open embrace of Holocaust denial. Journalist Dermot Cole found a post where Roberts, insisting Rushdoony wasn’t a Holocaust denier, cherry picked a brief passage from a longer statement wherein Rushdoony defended Holocaust denial.

To call a Holocaust denier “an extremely accurate historian” is to call Holocaust denial “extremely accurate history.” Roberts is clearly favorable to Holocaust denial, if not a Holocaust denier himself. Nothing is more antisemitic. He can only erase this perception by acknowledging the full magnitude of the Holocaust, retracting his previous statements, condemning Rushdoony, and apologizing to this community. He won’t.

In the school board race, candidates Andrew Graham and Jeff Rentzel are intent on removing the district’s masking requirement, even as Alaska’s hospitals are rationing care because they are overrun with Covid patients. Removing the requirement will lead to preventable deaths and hospitalizations, and result in multiple huge lawsuits against the district from parents whose children and families are sickened. Judgments will be paid by taxpayers. Neither Graham nor Rentzel care.

They are also fixated on Critical Race Theory, a legal concept only taught in law schools. Fairbanks, like most communities, has work to do to on achieving equality. But we have been fortunate to avoid open racial contention. A battle over CRT — which is not taught in our schools — will open deep racial divisions in our community that will take years to resolve. The pair never mention creating a welcoming environment for our children, nor do they show any interest in education itself. Their objective is to place our children in the crossfire of a manufactured culture war, education and their futures be damned.

QAnon, slavery, Holocaust denial, manufactured racial conflict, forcing the town into costly lawsuits it will lose, killing community members, and a systematic pattern of lies. This is what these candidates advocate. Is this what Republicans now stand for? Is this what Fairbanks business leaders want?

I grew up in a conservative and Christian household. This is not conservatism. This is not Christianity. No true conservative nor true Christian could vote for these four in good conscience. That they are even on the ballot is a grotesque moral failure for Fairbanks. The only thing worse is electing any of them.

David James is a freelance writer who lives in Fairbanks.

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