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Welcome to Alaska, the hub of irony

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Yet another headline in our local newspaper demonstrates again that we have a surplus of irony in our community and state.

I am referring to the third scandal involving purported “lawyers” who have been named by our governor and the attorneys general themselves as the state’s public defenders of our interest. And how ironic can you get? The first was a womanizing philanderer, Kevin Clarkson, who was married during his pestering of the state employee which got him very belatedly booted. The next guy named the AG was in for such a short period I can’t even recall his name or his offense. And now an assistant attorney general, (keep in mind, these guys are supposed to be upholding the constitution in service to we Alaskan residents) because he is using a pseudonym to post bigoted, racist and other such charming verbage on various social media sites. Quite the upstanding legal representative for us, not? He just “left the job,” so no discovery of how bad things are, will be known or disclosed.

Must I point out that there is a pattern here, and Gov. Dunleavy is at the center of it? Somebody in the governor’s office is either friends with a lot of lowlifes, or the governor is just a pretty poor judge of character. Don’t we deserve honor among our legal defenders?

And then there is the whole tribal Covid scene. And I mean tribal in the universal sense here, as in tribalism. Much moaning and griping about how we should not trust the government or the Covid vaccines, yet an acquaintance of mine who doggedly opposes getting vaccinated instead uses hydroxychloroquine. I find this hugely ironic. The government implored the pharmaceutical companies to get us the vaccines as soon as possible, and that somehow made them suspect. Yet the same pharmaceutical companies produce hydroxychloroquine and no suspicions seem to be aroused. Gee, how come?

It’s the same companies, the same science, same capitalist profit motive, but one is trusted without question and religiously pursued as the real cure, the other is a blasphemy and an unholy violation of human rights (getting the vaccine). Even though the vaccine works quite well. I don’t know if the hydroxychloroquine works or not, but why the huge difference in attitude? Does this make any sense? Well, no irony there I guess.

And now we have a new concept to arouse the terrors and night sweats of the right wing about something they newly find horrid and threatening to children, which goes by the hot button name “Critical Race Theory.” While most don’t really know what it means, as is often the case with complicated hot button controversies, that certainly doesn’t stop the furor. One Alaska legislator has already pre-filed a bill for the next legislative session to try to stop whatever it may be from ever entering our schools and kindergartens.

So this means, “don’t let our schools teach any new knowledge, right?” I mean what is being taught so far? Nothing. What is a pre-filed bill supposed to stop, when there is nothing there? I am not defending or condemning whatever critical race theory is or can be, bad name choice or not. Just lighten up! What is so awful a topic that we can’t even talk about it? I think it’s our history. How ironic.

That year 2020 may have been one of the worst for all sorts of reasons. It was nonetheless the 100th anniversary year of the women’s suffrage amendment to our national Constitution. This was profoundly important and worth honoring. It was a huge battle to achieve it, and took 70 years at least, of hard effort and activism. But in that same year, and continuing into this year, all sorts of states have attempted or already passed legislation which clearly tries to make it harder for people to vote.

Perhaps this is the most profound irony of all in our state and nation. We were not spared an attempt to pass voter suppression legislation. A bill by Sen. Mike Shower (of Wasilla) sought to change voting options and was pushed by him but failed to gain traction. Some days are a blessing from the Legislature. Most are not.

So there is my case for Fairbanks and Alaska being the hub of irony in the known universe.

That you and I agree or disagree, just makes my case.

Rich Seifert is a professor emeritus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He lives in Fairbanks.

Rich Seifert is a professor emeritus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He lives in Fairbanks.


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