Dissed by POTUS
By DAVE KIFFER
September 05, 2015
Ketchikan, Alaska - Okay, I'm pretty sure we're all a little peeved that the most important person in the universe deigns Ketchikan unworthy of even a brief stop by on his much ballyhooed visit to Alaska.
Sure, sure it would have been nice if Toby Keith had decided to layover in Ketchikan on his concert swing north but that's apparently just the way the Red Solo Cup crumbles.
Seriously, the elected official currently known as POTUS is leaving T’US down here in Our Fair Salmon City feeling a little like PO relations.
Okay, I get that he had to go to Anchorage.
Everyone has to go to Los Skanchorage. I'm surprised that Alaska Airlines hasn't decided to make it a hub for all flights. It would be sooo fun to go Ketchikan-Wrangell-Petersburg-Juneau-Yakutat-Cordova-Anchorage-Seattle on our trips to Hawaii or Cabo in the Fall.
Fortunately, though, it remains just a short flight from Seattle to Ketchikan, which is why I can't figure out why President Obama didn't decide to stop in on his way north.
A cycnic might suggest that Ketchikan's high percentage of non-Democratic voters had something to do with it. I gather that may be one of the reasons he went to Kotzebue, because it remains a blue town in a very red state.
Speaking of which, he could have visited Klawock. I remember about 20 years ago, a Democratic candidate for Governor received all 118 votes in Klawock one election. Yep, all 118. That's a percentage that would have made Richard Daley or James Michael Curley blush with envy.
And, since Air Force One wouldn't fit at the Prince of Wales Island Intergalactic Airport, he would have had to land here and switch to a turbine otter. Fitting his Secret Service detail into that cramped space would have showed him everything he needed to know about Global Warming.
But, as usual, I digress.
The President chose not visit Southern Southeast Alaska and we must deal with it.
I get his visit to Kotzebue too. He wants to be the "First President to go North of the Arctic Circle" because that just plain sounds cool. Maybe not as cool as the "First President to Go to The South Pole," but chill none the less.
But Seward? He went to Seward? Really?
He went to Seward to hike to a glacier, visit the Kenai Fjords National Park and film a television show with reality show character Bear Grylls. Seriously?
Once again, he could have come stopped down here and filmed a segment with the Alaska Bush People. Isn't one of their kids named Bear?
Maybe they aren't Democrats. But then again, it's hard to imagine the survivalist wannabees who watch Bear Grylls being President Obama's "core" demographic either.
I guess former Governor Palin must have been too busy for a taping. Now, that would have been Must See TV.
Too bad, though, the President could have seen Misty Fjords. It would have made a great photo op. Imagine him with Punchbowl rising thousands of feet in the background.
And it's a clear example of Global Warming.
Once upon a time, glaciers covered much of the earth. And scoured out Punchbowl and the rest of Misty Fjords. Then it got all warm and the glaciers melted.
Now half of Punchbowl is underwater. And that same thing is coming soon to a Yosemite near you.
Or maybe not.
But there is no question that we in SSE are suffering through a warming trend. Ketchikan got zippo snow this past winter and not much the year before.
It's hard to convince people we live in Alaska because without snow and ice you can't have igloos. And then what do we say when folks ask us if we "live in igloos?"
Somehow "no, but I can see one from my house" just isn't as clever as it used to be.
So, okay, he didn't visit but he seems to be in the mood to rename things in Alaska.
You may have heard that he has renamed Mt. McKinley.
He said “hey, that’s Denali” which of course was its name before some prospector named it McKinley a century ago. Imagine how thrilled people would be if some modern prospector popped into their state and named a big mountain “Mt. Obama.“
Why I bet that in 2008 there was someone looking out at the Ohio River and thinking “we could name that after Sarah Palin.”
But I digress. Again.
Yet, if POTUS really feels a need to run around renaming things, I, of course, have some suggestions.
Really can't we do better than have our main body of water named after a third rate angel in a Frank Capra movie?
Now I am as a big a fan of the Beverly Hillbillies as the next guy, but who had the bright idea of naming our main border boundary after Ellie Mae Clampett (Donna Dixon). Although, we all agree that Dixon Entrance would make a sa-weet Ceement Pond.
Seriously, all the points in Southeast Alaska are Tree Point.
Fish Creek (ditto above)
Just fix the spelling. You know it was intended to be named after Jim Beam.
Prince of Wales
Another unfortunate misspelling. No disrespect to the Windsor Royal Heir, but “Prints of Whales” is a much more appropriate name in this touristy world of ours.
And while we’re at it, President Obama needs to change the name of that mountain behind Ketchikan.
No, not Deer Mountain, although naming a series of mountains “Deer” “Doe” and “Fawn” is about as lazy as one can get. Really, there weren’t enough minor politicians around to honor?
I am, of course, speaking about Mt. Minerva, a mountain name that seems remarkably out of place (even most locals always thought it was – wait for it – Bear Mountain). Sure, it was probably named after the Minerva Mine, another in Ketchikan’s relentless history of “dry holes.”
But if we wanted to be reminded of the endless holes in which we sank every last dime we had, we’d name our mountains after our boats.
Anyway, since our friends in Ohio are a little peeved over the loss of Mt. McKinley, maybe we can do the neighborly thing and rename Mt. Minerva after the 25th President.
You have to admit that having “Mt. McKinley” in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough would look really swell in the tourism brochures.
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Dave Kiffer is a freelance
writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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