(Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

The problem with ‘Always Fighting’

What about “Always Thinking” or “Always Working” or just “Always Building Coalitions for Alaska.”

  • By Jim Hammond
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023 12:49pm
  • Opinion

“We so easily go backwards now and call it progress.”

That line is from a recent work by the Canadian novelist, Louise Penny.

It struck me as very relevant as I had just read in our own Juneau Empire that our governor was proposing legislation to put new restrictions on a woman’s right to pursue an abortion.

We all assume the governor is a dedicated husband and caring father as shown in previous campaign ads, but to the best of my knowledge he has never had nor will have a uterus and therefore a near zero chance of getting pregnant. Shouldn’t that type of extremely personnel and private decision be left to those who can carry a fetus?

But it is even more than that which drove me to sit at this keyboard. News from Florida, a state with no landscape worth mentioning and almost assuredly no polar bears in its airports, comes at us regularly with tales of fear and restrictions. Politicians there appear to take pride in defining what people can read in public libraries, saving its young citizens from the nightmares of our countries history of race relations and most recently saving its “straight” population from the ravages of getting to know or understand the concerns and needs of its gay, lesbian and transgender population.

Is it a race among politicians to see who can get us back to 1952 the quickest? Possibly 1852 is more accurate a destination for those promoting our “protection.”

“Critical thinking,” it is not a phrase consisting of four letter words. Since the 2016 election it has seemed to fall out of favor and even shunned by the Republican party. That was the year the country elected a reality television personality who happened to be involved in over 3,500 lawsuits and couldn’t use language foul enough to not get elected. A side note here, he didn’t fire anyone: the producers decided who would leave the show.

Walking along Montana Creek Road a few weeks before the last election I noticed a political poster tacked to a Sitka alder tree. Wind held the branches over most of the sign but the words “Always Fighting” were clearly visible. Looking closer the words “For Alaska” became visible.

It got me to thinking, are there any campaign managers that might want their candidate to be “Always Thinking” or “Always Working” or just “Always Building Coalitions for Alaska.” I would even take “Always Scheming” before I would vote for anyone who was satisfied with “Always Fighting”. Are they fighting for progress or self gratification?

There have been leaders who have lived and died with that phrase “Always Fighting” The Fourth Crusade (1201 to 1204) does not get much mention on-line or during the 6 o’clock news but the story I feel is applicable today. The Pope in Rome sends thousands of soldiers from Italy and France to “free” Jerusalem. The crusaders first sail to Greece where they spend more than a year fighting other Christians who did not recognize the Roman Pope as head of the church. After a great loss of life they continue on to Constantinople where again loyalties are not to Rome and fighting breaks out for 2 more years. The lives lost are again almost exclusively Christian and the great city laid to waste. Emperors came and emperors were removed and the fighting went on. The mission, to free Jerusalem, was completely ignored and not one crusader ever got near Jerusalem. The mission a total failure but the billboard was true, “Always Fighting.”

• Jim Hammond has lived in Southeast Alaska for over 40 years, spending more than 30 years in the visitor industry. Hammond resides in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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