I listened to our career diplomats testimonies during the impeachment hearings and found them lacking. In fact, the diplomats appeared to have no interest in corruption investigations at all as if it was someone else’s job. Did they forget their assignments were not vacations but their respective positions were to represent the United States citizens and their tax dollars (all $391 million) before gifting it to a foreign country?
So spare me their solemn faces and deep concern over “interference in our elections.” We are doing a good job of that ourselves as we allow our governors, mayors, Congress, etc. to change census and voting eligibility laws. Soon the legal taxpaying citizens will be out voted by illegal aliens and felons. Oh, and what a wonderful world that will be. Who needs Putin?
Tourism gives us economic, social opportunity
As an immigrant who married an Alaskan, have made my home in Juneau for the past 15 years and works in the tourist industry, I am concerned with the constant negative attacks on tourism by a small but vocal minority. Since arriving in this country and Alaska, I have been employed in the tourist industry. First in a local retail shop, then as a professional wildlife photographer, a bear viewing guide, a whale watching captain, and now as the owner of a charter business. Tourism has given me the opportunity to grow in this community, while supporting my family, contributing through sales tax collected in my business as well as donations given to local charities. I am fortunate to live and pursue “The American Dream,” and grateful to be a part of this well rounded community. There are thousands of Juneau residents that benefit from the tourist industry directly (jobs dealing with cruise ship passengers), or indirectly (servicing businesses that deal with cruise ship passengers: mechanics, accountants, lawyers, etc.). Yet, there is a minority of this community who are vocal in their assertion that tourism is “ruining” where we live. Tourism is a sustainable industry, a proven economic driver in Juneau, successfully managed and enhances many of the benefits of living here. We all “indirectly” benefit from tourism, so let’s welcome visitors and remember that whenever we leave Juneau, we are tourists too, hoping to be welcomed and appreciated wherever we go.
Not science fiction
As we enter a new year with the science-fiction-like number 2020, let’s consider the direction of our nation and its influence in the world. Are we more powerful this year, or weaker? Has America’s role as a nation improved or diminished? Are we achieving prosperity, peace, stability and enduring power? Or are we being bushwhacked into debt, enmity, fear and endless warfare?
Is any nation stronger when governed by a bully? Why would a truly powerful leader resort to name calling and juvenile insults? What can our allies make of such behavior? Does bullying even work, especially when used by someone strangely infuriated by personal insults? And is the elected leader in a voter-based democratic-republic somehow equivalent to that nation? Should the leader of a free nation call detractors “disloyal,” as a king or queen might do? Aren’t all those behaviors innately and simply wrong?
These questions might offer a rich plot for science fiction, but the significance of America’s power as a nation is real — enormously important across the globe. We are a beacon of light. How can we assert moral leadership when led by someone who shows, daily, a stunning lack of morality? Let’s ponder these questions in 2020.