Published Articles


FROM THE ARENA
Column for Anchorage Times 1 July 1990
by Wayne Anthony Ross

The Jesuit priests thought that they had given me a pretty good education. They had me in their high school, and colleges, for 9 years and tried to instill in me a well-rounded curriculum, but the education I received in Juneau the last few days, isn't anything like the good fathers said life should be.

I went to Juneau to oppose the Governor's attempt to amend our " Alaska Constitution. Our Constitution presently holds that all Alaskans have an equal right to the allocation of Alaska's fish and game resources. Equal rights are guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. Equality is a quality espoused by both political parties.

The Governor, however, doesn't believe in equal rights. He thinks we should amend our Constitution to give the Legislature authority to allocate our resources any way they want, even if it is in a way that discriminates against those of us who live in urban areas. Indeed, the Governor actually wants the Legislature to discriminate against urban people. He wants to give rural residents a "priority" in the allocation of our fish and wildlife resources. That means that if the fish or game stocks available for harvesting are small, we urban folks don't get any, period.

The Governor doesn't care if there are some people in the urban areas who may need some of those fish, or some game meat, to feed their families over the winter. The Governor doesn't care if there are people in the rural areas who don't need some of those fish, or some game meat, to feed their families over the winter. The Governor just wants to allocate the distribution of our resources based upon where in the State a person lives.

It should have been simple for the legislators to see the issue. "Should we amend our Constitution to allow discrimination against one group of Alaskans, and in favor of another group of Alaskans?" It should have been equally simple for the legislators to see the answer. "Such arbitrary discrimination has no place in Alaska"!

"But you don't understand" cries the Governor. "A Federal Law, called ANILCA, requires Alaska to discriminate against urban Alaskans, and in favor of rural Alaskans. If we don't discriminate against urban Alaskans, in all of Alaska, when we allocate our fish and game resources, the Federal Government will come in here and discriminate against the urban Alaskans, in two thirds of the State, when it allocates our game stocks!"

It should have been simple for the Governor to see that issue too. "Simply because the law authorizes another to perform an act which is not fair and just, does that mean we should do it for them?"

It should have been simple for the Governor to see the answer to that issue also. "The State of Alaska should not participate in an unjust act. It should not seek authority to participate in an unjust act. And, the Governor, who has a duty to uphold the Constitution of the State of Alaska, and to protect all the people of the State, should attempt to stop anyone who attempts to impose unjust action on the people of Alaska."

"But you don't understand " cries the Governor." We are not sure we can win if we went to court to try to stop the Federal Government"

It should have been simple for the Governor to see this issue also. "If we are not sure we can succeed, should we try?"

It should have been simple for the Governor to see the answer to that issue also. "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again! Or, all that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing!"


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