As I’ve mentioned here before, SEACC staff and board write these Ravencall pieces fairly early to get them edited, printed, and distributed to mailboxes, coffee shops, and Southeast businesses on time. This can lead to a bit of prognostication, and perhaps a little bit of crystal ball work, as we seek to anticipate what we’ll feel and see in an upcoming season.
I’ve rarely been so grateful for some inadvertent procrastination on my writerly duties as I am this morning, as just 48 hours ago, the state had yet to certify the Special Election in which we Alaskans elected our first-ever Alaska Native woman, Mary Peltola, to the House of Representatives, to finish off Representative Young’s term.
Now, SEACC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse political candidates, so I’m not endorsing anyone here (let’s be real, real clear about that).
But for historic firsts – for the election to Congress of the first Alaska Native person, and Alaska Native woman – and for the Top Four + Ranked Choice Voting process used to get her there … can I get a WOOHOO!?
For months, political geeks like myself have been reading about how the House and Senate will likely change hands during the midterms, and how the return of He Who Shall Not Be Named (so, yes, Voldemort) is a serious risk. And frankly, that prospect has made things feel a bit heavier lately, and obscured some of the light and joy we should otherwise be reveling in as conservation- and climate-forward bills, rules, and programs have been announced, advanced, and funded by the current administration.
The landmark election of the first Alaska Native member of Congress this year should remind all of us that there’s always reason for hope, and always a reason to do the work to get good people with integrity into office. As well, it’s a good reminder to never let the doom and gloomers (nor the polls!) get to us. Of late, I’ve heard too many people, whose political analysis I regard, preemptively roll over, abandoning hope and assuming all will certainly be lost this election cycle. In an effort to make a theoretical impending loss less painful, these folks assume we can’t possibly prevail in this midterm or the next presidential election, and that rollbacks of the bills and rules we hold in highest esteem are therefore all but inevitable. And I’m just not here for that worldview. It doesn’t get us anywhere.
This Ravencall will reach SEACC supporters’ homes as we enter election season, and I am here to remind you: it’s a weird world right now, in an even weirder moment in history, and anything is possible — if we work for it. The 2022 midterm election could well go down as the emphatic endorsement of forward-thinking climate bills, promising executive orders, and the expected endorsement of the national Roadless Rule in Alaska, that many of us want it to be. So stop with all the doom and gloom, and let’s get to work, eh?
During a recent event SEACC put on with National Wildlife Federation, I noted that the same people who say your voice or vote has no power are the ones who are afraid of what will happen if you realize they do and that our voices, votes, and organized grassroots power can shape the future, protect our region’s beloved natural places, and even reform the way we run elections. After saying so, I was struck by how much I believe it.
So as we roll into this electoral season — and things get feisty or dispiriting; as we get saturated by ads; as the pundits chatter and the pollsters prognosticate — don’t forget that we got this.
Whether the electoral outcomes favor our bills, goals, and region, or they don’t; whether the court system can be relied upon for a last line of defense, or whether it’s time for a rethink on how we stop the bad and expedite the good, we will find our way if we step up to do the work, use our voices, and vote.
Next month, grab your friends, get to the polls, and VOTE.
P.S. Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Back in 2016, some brilliant humans stuck a ballot initiative out there that automatically registers Alaskans when they apply for the PFD. Some other brilliant humans (that would be us) voted for it. So if you got that whopper of a PFD this fall, pay it forward by getting to your polling station to vote.
- For polling locations: elections.alaska.gov/election-polls
- For voter status: myvoterinformation.alaska.gov