I have a couple questions.
What do you do when your Governor is accountable to your Attorney General, and your Attorney General is accountable to your Governor, and neither one of them will either acknowledge or administer consequences for bad behavior. It’s like a kid whose Mom says, “Go ask Dad,” and whose Dad says, “Go ask Mom.” Neither one of them wants to be accountable, and neither one of them has any intention of answering the question. They are hoping the kid will go away.
Now I have another question.
What do you do when the Legislature, the voice of the people who hired the Governor, also refuses to administer consequences for bad behavior, and simply stands mute? And what do you do when that silence then turns into statements that run not only counter to the expectation of the people, but to their job description, and the bounds of ethics and the law?
What do you do when your “voice” no longer speaks for you?
I have a small understanding about how people with Tourette syndrome, or muscular spasms must feel. It must feel like a betrayal of mind and body when the things that are meant, on the most basic level, to represent you (your voice, and your actions) are hijacked by unknown forces, leaving you making declarations and gestures that have no connection with your true intent.
When the Alaska Legislature starts talking about how we’re all weary of Troopergate, and Governor Palin, Attorney General Talis Colberg, and those who ignored legislative subpoenas should just be able to continue without facing any consequences for violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, and the law, I feel like shouting, “This is not me! I’m not saying this! I’m not doing this!”
I have often compared the Democrats of the Legislature to white knights. I’ve been blown away at times by their bravery, their conviction, and the fact that they put themselves out on a limb to do the right thing. And I’ve also given a pat on the back to Republicans who have planted themselves on the right side of the fence despite their party affiliation. In some ways the Repulicans had the harder job. When the bipartisan Legislative Council voted to make public the Troopergate report whose first finding was that Sarah Palin abused her power and violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, I was amazed. I began to…dare I say it aloud….have faith in my Legislature. All of them.
Now, after the election, as Sarah Palin gets back to the business of the state (when she’s in town), I am beginning to lose that faith. The white knights are starting to pull their punches, the horses are rearing like they’ve seen a snake, and the villagers are getting a horrible sinking feeling. We are wondering what happened to them? We wonder if they are breaking their vows to us, and justifying the betrayal in the name of “moving forward and working together on the issues that really matter.”
Call me crazy, but I think ethics really matters. If you polled voters and asked if they’d rather have an ethical politician or an unethical one, you’d get the obvious answer. And if you broke down the results of this poll by party affiliation, I don’t think you’d find much difference. Everyone wants ethical politicians. So, why, after a candidate has been elected, would anyone want to stop a process that was designed to find out if that politician is corrupt? Why would you budget $100,000 for an investigation to find out whether a politician violated the ethics act if you were going to ignore the finding? And why, if the findings showed that the politician had indeed violated the ethics act, would you decide to give them a free pass? And why, if witnesses, and perhaps the head of the Department of Law violated…..the LAW, would you be just fine with that?
For right now, I’m going to give our White Knights on both sides of the aisle the benefit of the doubt. I, on behalf of the villagers, am going to accept some responsibility for their waffling. Perhaps we just haven’t been doing a good enough job of letting them know we’re here, and that we’re going to back them up. Maybe they really think people don’t care. Perhaps they feel like they’re headed off to battle with no ammunition. That has to be scary.
So here’s your homework Mudflatters… As a Thanksgiving present to the Alaska State Legislature, I want you to give them some ammunition. Every email you send, every letter you write, every phone call you make is an arrow in their quiver. Phone calls count as two arrows…maybe even three.
I want our white knights to be armed to the teeth. I want them to ride into battle feeling invincible. I don’t want them to feel like they were abandoned by the village. Let’s hang a garland of flowers around their necks, and sent them off with a full quiver of public outrage.
I’m not willing to throw them under the horse just yet.
For emails to all Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE – then cut & paste them all into your email address bar.
For phone numbers of the Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE