When it’s ten below, dark, and snowy, if you see a car stranded on the side of the road, it doesn’t matter to Alaskans what your bumper stickers say. You’re an Alaskan first. You stop and help. When traveling abroad, if asked “Americano?” most people from the 49th state answer “Alaskan.” We feel special about being from such a rugged land. After months of scraping ice off our windows, plugging in our cars, being more excited about a remote starter than a diamond ring, and the Vitamin D deficiency from months of light depravation, you’re damn right we feel special! An Alaskan Women Reject Palin rally took place at noon today and everything changed. I have never been more proud. Today I saw Alaskans put the pride in their state on the Altar of Democracy; Sacrificed to the Spirit of America.
This morning, Sarah Palin was in Anchorage. There was a campaign send off rally held for her downtown, and she was greeted by a throng of people given signs to hold. Home made signs weren’t welcome, just those provided by the campaign. Two men carrying a sign calling for peace were escorted out by secret service. “Drill, Baby, Drill” was the slogan. The message staged, the candidate processed, the free speech suppressed.
Someone suggested I wear a flack jacket today. I’ve been to every Anchorage peace rally and war protest over the last several years. When these gatherings began, it was just a handful of like minded people holding candles. I wasn’t sure how many Alaskan Women would really stand up and reject the archaic principles Sarah Palin holds dear. I felt like a suffragette. The cars were pouring into the overflow parking lot when I drove in 20 minutes before the rally was to start. I covered my face and cried. I am not alone. I am not alone.
Men and women of every age and ethnicity, children, strollers and dogs poured out of cars. Hatchbacks wide open, signs attached to hockey sticks and ski poles, each with a message to the world. Personal messages to the media: Sarah Palin doesn’t speak for me! A wolf/dog hybrid looked at me, a target painted on his side, a slack leash. He seemed depressed about the aerial wolf hunts Sarah Palin supports. Dangling coat hangers on sticks. A man in a polar bear suit, wanting more ice. Messages about the sanctity of Iraqi lives, soldier’s lives, foreign policy and environment. Pregnant women, obvious to the choice they made, wanting to protect the choice of others. A dad with a back pack full of snacks held his little girl’s hand; a poster the two of them had made attached to his back. Their family values measured by a morning of cheerios and crayons. I am not alone.
Sisters in not only geography, but ideals covered the grass in front of the Loussac Library. My own sister, with a cheeky sign, joined me. “Thanks, but no thanks on that platform to nowhere!” Disguised women wearing “Groucho” noses, with targets on their backs, held signs that read, “If my boss knew I was here, she’d fire me;” several brave state workers, afraid of losing their jobs, but more afraid of losing their country. A white woman stood with a pink bundle of cuteness attached to her chest. Her little girl has Downs Syndrome. She held an Obama ’08 sticker.
Vic Fischer stood at the side of the street waving. No one is more Alaskan than Vic, not that it’s a contest. He was one of the authors of our highly regarded Alaska State Constitution 50 years ago. He not only knows what we stand for, he wrote it down. Aged, beautiful smile, looking for more in Alaska’s future than Sarah Palin provides.
A collective relief washed our faces. Closeted Liberals. Free Range Alaskans. Endangered Species. Despite our differences, Alaskans raised their American ideals above those of Sarah Palin’s. We grew today. We are not alone.
I wondered where Texans were 8 years ago.