SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


YO-YO Philosophy
By Meagan Foster


October 03, 2007
Wednesday AM

You're On Your Own, kids, elders, and working Alaskans. Reading Dan Fagan's column (or as much as I could stand) this Sunday reminded me of a Mike Doogan column at the end of this year's legislative session about the "right wing's" new "You're On Your Own" agenda. As a Legislative staff member, I repeatedly heard certain Legislators tell people in need (of health care, job training, education, or community revenue sharing) "you are on your own." However, when I heard some of these same people bragging about the size of the capital budget they secured for their district I was appalled. We live in a state where some key legislators are anxious to allow BP to write off their costs to replace corroded pipe, but that refuse to provide healthcare to children of working parents, because that would create a culture of dependence.

A perfect example of this happened during a House Finance committee meeting when a "conservative member" of the body said that people should "suck it up." Did he say this to utility companies looking for capital project money? No. It was said during the debate around looking to increase the pay for the Personal Care Attendants who work on the front line caring for the elderly and disabled.

Fagan reminds us that life is not fair. Thanks for the reminder middle-class, white guy who pays no property taxes and has no children in the school district. I have been fortunate enough to go through the public school system and am now happily employed by state government. I am a child of a woman who fell on hard times, struggled with addictions, and yes, received government assistance. Yet, I am still a productive member of society who understands and appreciates the value of a helping hand when it is needed.

I am a liberal. Actually, that isn't quite accurate. I am a progressive. I believe that it is the role of government to create as level a playing field as possible for all citizens. Yes, there will be people who, no matter what opportunities they have, will fail. But I still believe people should have opportunities to better themselves.

Why? Is it because I am a bleeding heart that wants to take rich people's money away from them and give it to every homeless citizen? No. It's because I know what happens to me affects the lives of others. I know that unless the government steps in and fixes the health care system, the cost to care for the uninsured is going to continue to increase the cost of my health care, even though I have insurance. I know that if we do not provide a strong education for all of our children, poverty, crime, and gang membership will all rise. This hurts me even though I do not have children.

We should be ashamed of ourselves. If we are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on our capital budget, then we should be willing to spend a fraction of that to provide care for those among us struggling every day. A child should never have to worry about getting sick because they know their parent cannot afford to take them to the doctor. An elderly man should never have to choose between paying for his prescription and having enough food for the month.

We are not on our own. We are all members of one community. We are Alaskans. Whether we like it or not, unless we spend more time, energy, and resources fixing the "liberal" issues, they will just continue to grow. The time is now to stand up and work to fix the greater problems. Or else the next time an industry comes to the public asking for a bailout maybe we should tell them, "You're on your own."

Meagan Foster
Anchorage, AK

Received October 02, 2007 - Published October 03, 2007


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