In a recent edition of the Clarion (Nov. 18), Norm Olson wrote, "It's about time that the slaves stand up to the federal government and start acting like free men!" In his letter, he likens residents of Alaska to slaves of the federal government. In theory, I don't disagree with Mr. Olson's perspective, but there is more to it than simple theory.
Oh sure, his idea that Alaska make decisions for its own resources is desirable, but how may this be accomplished? How can we "stand up to" the federal government? In his own words he pointed out the "federal government holding much of Alaska's resources under its strict domain ... how can (Alaska) be developed ... maze of federal restrictions and prohibitions ... even the Governor and our representatives in Washington are frightened ..."
He then advocates that we "take over the management of our rich resources." Considering the rich resources of our state, is it conceivable that the United States Federal Government would ever be willing to cede control? I seriously doubt it. What options and possibilities exist for those of us with "self-help, do-it-yourself" attitudes? We may petition, march, complain, and even elect all new officials. The status quo is certain to continue
Norm Olson paints a colorful story, but in the end, that's all it is; a story. How do we, the people (or slaves, as we've been described) stand up? How do we accomplish this independence? Will people be willing to sacrifice the programs and entitlements from the federal government to stand without them? What about the United States Air Force, Army, and other services with large presence in our state? Without them, how would Alaska be protected from any nation or faction that would take our resources by force?
The federal government owns most of the land; the federal government sets most of the rules; the federal government has the military based in the state. We may "act like free men," but in the end, Mr. Olson's own words say it best, " ... it is doubtful ... (Alaska) will ever be free to own and manage the resources within its borders."