Random thoughts on recent events

Posted: Monday, September 06, 2010

If you're like a lot of Alaskans, you may be shaking your head at what happened in the Aug. 24 primary. Then, again, maybe you predicted what others are calling an upset, since Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski in all but two southern Kenai Peninsula precincts.

We're not sure exactly what the moral of this story will be in the long view, but in the short view it's this: You don't have to accept the status quo. If you want change, get involved. Tea party candidates and their supporters are doing what President Obama's backers did to elect him: networking at community levels to orchestrate big changes.

Interestingly, at least part of their message is similar: If you're fed up with business as usual, elect me.

As we study and get to know the candidates in preparation for the General Election Nov. 2, we need to be clear about what we really want and if the candidates can deliver what we want. What does limited government look like? Do we just want politicians in other states to stop bringing home the bacon or are Alaskans willing to stop dining at the federal trough as well?

There are some tough questions to be asked and answered as we move toward the election. Let's do our homework and relish the responsibility we have as voters.

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We wonder how many Alaskans are troubled about confidentiality issues in the state's primary. There's got to be a better way than poll workers proclaiming to the entire polling place what ballot they're giving you.

It's bad enough that Alaskans have three ballots to choose from, but to have that choice broadcast to anyone within earshot is more than just an irritation to those Alaskans who disdain party politics, value their privacy and shun labels of all sorts.

Maybe it's time to do away with a state-run primary.

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The tragic news out of Southeast Alaska where two police officers were fatally shot in the village of Hoonah is a sobering reminder that no place is exempt from violence.

Hoonah has a population of just 800 people. The two officers represent half the community's police force. The officers weren't even responding to a call. One of them was off duty. They had just stopped to chat when they were gunned down in front of family members.

The Saturday incident reminds us to say thanks to those people who put their lives on the line to make our communities safer. We're grateful for those who serve in the Homer Police Department and Alaska State Troopers, as well as those who serve in all the area fire departments.

Our thanks to all of you, as well as our sympathy, because we know you join the community of Hoonah in grieving their loss -- as do we all.

-- Homer News, Sept. 2

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