Monday, October 27, 2008

Uncle Ted

We call him Uncle Ted up here. Senator Ted Stevens has done more for Alaska then any other man alive.

When I was a junior in High School, we were awarded some sort of grant to help our high school athletic program. The first athletic season was about to begin and the money had not yet shown up. My government teacher was explaining how things worked in congress and I figured I'd try working the system. After getting permission from the principal, I called Senator Stevens' office. I Introduced myself, told the person my story, they got another person on the phone who wrote down the particulars, got a pleasant, "We'll see what we can do." and hung up the phone. The money was in the schools bank account within a week. That experience changed me. Later that year at D.C. Close Up I had the opportunity to shake hands with Senator Stevens. I told him about what his office did for us and thanked him. He looked me in the eye and said, "That's what it's all about, Alaskans helping Alaskans."

All of my children were born in a hospital he built, I fly in and out of an airport he renovated, my employment is a direct result of legislation he passed. Senator Stevens is a great man who has done great things for so many. He has been termed, "The Lion of the Senate." He steps on toes and makes no apologies. It is after all about Alaskans taking care of Alaskans.

Then today on my ride home for lunch I heard the news. Senator Stevens was found guilty on all 7 counts. He is a convicted criminal. Just another corrupt politician. This great man. It's all very difficult to stomach. For those new to the state, he may be seen as washed up and past his prime. But for so many of us he is Uncle Ted.

Senator Stevens says he will apeal the decision and maintains his innocence, but to what end? I would do the same if I were him. Try to clear my name and salvage a legendary career of service.

The rest of us have a big decision to make in a week. Senator Stevens is up for re-election. If we did vote him in, what could he possibly accomplish in the Senate. Who in their right mind would support him and risk the political fall out of partnering with a convicted criminal. He has now become the very poster child of Republican political coruption. What are we all to do now? This man we love so dearly has left us in this uncomfortable position. We all must make our own decision and live with the consequences.

No closing for this somber post comes to mind. No profetic thoughts itch to be written into this blog. I'm left with a heavy heart and sorrow. Deep sorrow.

1 comment:

Swanny said...

Dude, your Blog entry really should be sent to the Fairbanks Daily News Whiner as a letter to the editor. It captures the sentiments of many Alaskans perfectly.