Can we do this ?

Solstice is New Year’s Eve to me.

The  longest ,  darkest night  of the year…

The night before  we turn and run toward the light…

For many years I spent this day compiling a list of that which I hoped we could leave behind on this next part of our journey- dark things which hurt and damage us. Alcoholism, domestic violence, racial tension, poverty , all the harms of hopelessness and despair.

  In recent years, I have come to see this was an exercise in foolishness. I have no idea why I thought we could  dump these things  in a corner and skip off  into a bright shiny future but I surely did.

 ( Jeez. Dumber than a donut at times…)

 I  think, now, that  we must drag these harms out into the light , look at them carefully, poke them,  prod them , unravel them, and cut the threads  which tie us to them…

We do ourselves no favors by accepting these harms because we know where they come from. At whatever level we forgive those of our  friends, families, and neighbors who  fall in the dark we cannot continue to accept the cost their behavior burdens our future, our children, with. We must come to shun behavior which harms .We simply must.

Banishing hopelessness and despair requires work from all quarters, from within and without. No one is immune so no one is exempt. We do not live  outside the reach of these harms no matter how we may pretend we do or prefer  to  think it’s all  someone else’s problem or fault.

The lists I make now are of people who are thinking and working  toward   the greatest riches we can   offer ourselves- a future of hope and quiet content.

People working to save their children

http://www.uaf.edu/aurora/archives/fall-2009/canhr/

People working to change the way we talk and act toward each other

http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2008/04/preface-to-diane-benson-and-alaska.html

http://fieryblazinghandbasket.blogspot.com/2009/09/mask-of-ignorance-part-2.html

People looking for what will cut the threads

http://effectivenm.blogspot.com/2009/12/parnell-plan-for-reducing-domestic.html

People engaged in their community

http://www.deltadiscovery.com/letters/letters.html

People questioning  what we do and do not know about ourselves

http://www.firstalaskans.org/documents_fai/Remoteruralfinal2.pdf

People working to make our ideals come to fruit

http://www.yritwc.org/

People working to drag our selves in front of the mirror when we cheat

http://www.tholepin.blogspot.com/

People trying  to find what truly works in their communities

http://sustainruralalaska.blogspot.com/

Go well into this new year, neighbors.

We have a lot of work to do

as we run toward the light…

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Published in: on December 19, 2009 at 11:10 am  Comments (13)  

13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s an awesome collection of links to those who work to better ourselves through compassion, hard work and a close look at what choices we have every day to be a better people.

    Many as we know choose to, or must, do this anonymously and I am as proud of them as the ones who can stand on a podium in a crowd filled room to share their knowledge. There are many voices to be heard and many venues exist now to hear them – the quiet, studious, introverted people who do not have it in their bones to yell louder than anyone else in a crowd to be heard would never be noticed otherwise.

    As the official media blow their power, their chances and their willingness to perform their constitutional job under sanctioned methods, the every day voices become more valuable to me as a means of integrity, research and balance in which to learn about things I do not know about.

    Yes, I like commas and run on sentences! I would be the Comma Woman if such a designation existed.

    • MUYS-
      Well said and I agree.

      Our support in their speaking up is important too and I am glad we have another place to do!!
      These issues must see light and be handled, not just the symptoms.

      Glad there are at least a few people who are starting to make this happen.

  2. Congratulations on your new start. I wish you will. Come and visit me, too. You will often find that our paths cross.

    • Bill-
      I HAVE visited you quite often 🙂 and am quite comfortable in your place full of photos and family and community. Places like yours keep our feet on the ground, where we live…

  3. Already, one can see that this will be a valuable site for understanding and acting on issues. Much success heading your way!

  4. It is a gift to read your thoughts and contemplate your written words. I look forward to coming along on this journey of yours with this new blog. What a great segue from the old year/decade into the new year!

  5. Alaska PI:

    I’m not sure if the Governor’s rural subcabinet or their advisory panel “can do it”. Apparently the advisory panel may not have made any recommendations and the subcabinet probably hasn’t done much more than travel to a couple places. These groups were formed half way through the former governor’s/ Parnell term and they simply won’t have time to get much done before the end of this term. They have been working less than a year. They won’t be making any significant proposals to the legislature, and this session is their last shot unless they’re assuming governor Parnell will get reelected (I’m not making that assumption).

    Departments, especially Commerce, Community, and Economic Development have been more engaged in rural business, but the subcabinet concept so far has been, in my opinion, a distracting and misleading flop with nothing tangible to show– a failure from an administration that will have consumed 4 years without a successful executive branch “team” approach seeking rural solutions.

  6. I forgot to mention: The Attorney General (subcabinet chair) talked a lot in interviews about the rural community “hub” concept, where several communities could be linked with roads and other infrastructure to reduce costs. However they (the subcabinet) have not submitted any proposals to the governor and legislature and it is my understanding, from a State official who should know, that they haven’t even been pursuing this idea, despite the AG’s comments.

    • Jim-
      I think we’re going to have to watch this one unfold and I have a hunch you are mostly right…sigh.
      The State of the State address and Leg session are coming up fast. We’ll have an idea fairly soon whether the rural subcabinet came up with anything substantive for the governor to take hold of and run with.
      I recall the hub /infrastructure talk, amongst other things.
      I was talking here about what we can do to break the grip of the harms hopelessness and despair bring with them. Your reminder of the pretty words of the administrative order which established and commissioned the rural subcabinet also reminded me that broken promises far too often lie at the heart of hopelessness…
      And I’ve worried for quite awhile that the rural subcabinet will end up being just another broken promise…

  7. STATE OF ALASKA
    OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
    JUNEAU December 18, 2008

    ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 247

    “… under the authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24 of the Alaska Constitution, establish the Alaska Rural Action Subcabinet to advise the Office of the Governor on challenges faced by rural Alaskans.

    BACKGROUND AND FINDINGS

    Life in remote parts of Alaska has always been more difficult than in other areas of this state. Barriers exist – both new and old – that make living life outside of Alaska’s urban centers increasingly difficult. Rapid and substantial fluctuations in fuel prices, combined with other factors, have compounded already complex problems for Alaska’s rural residents. The state must address the proper roles of government and private institutions in order to ensure that life in rural Alaska remains sustainable.

    PURPOSE AND DUTIES

    The Alaska Rural Action Subcabinet (subcabinet) shall advise the Office of the Governor on the preparation and implementation of a rural needs strategy that recognizes and works to preserve the culture and way of life, including reliance on subsistence resources, of rural Alaskans. In view of its purpose, the subcabinet shall study

    rural migration patterns; and

    the cost of energy in rural Alaska.

    In further examining the sustainability of life in rural Alaska, the subcabinet should also consider the following non-prioritized issues:

    state and tribal relations;

    local self-governance;

    sustainable local economies;

    rural education;

    rural law enforcement;

    availability of affordable telecommunications and transportation;

    creation, maintenance, and replacement of infrastructure;

    public safety in rural Alaska;

    rural workforce training options;

    coordination of existing resources;

    availability of emergency services; and

    any other issue which the subcabinet considers important to rural Alaska

    Individual state agencies are already addressing many of the factors related to these issues through existing energy assistance and social programs. Good examples are the state’s power cost equalization program, community revenue sharing program, rural utility business advisor program, and village safe water program. The subcabinet will not replace the work of these agencies. It will supplement their efforts by engaging additional interests both within and outside of state government.

    COMPOSITION AND CHAIRPERSON

    The subcabinet shall be chaired by the attorney general and shall include in its membership the commissioners from the following additional departments: Commerce, Community and Economic Development; Labor and Workforce Development; Military and Veterans’ Affairs; Environmental Conservation; Health and Social Services; Education and Early Development; and Public Safety. The director of the Office of the Governor (Alaska and Washington, D.C.) shall also serve on the subcabinet.

    OTHER PROVISIONS

    The subcabinet is authorized to create one or more advisory groups to study specific issues. Advisory groups created by the subcabinet may provide recommendations to the subcabinet for consideration. At times and locations to be determined, the subcabinet may also convene public meetings to present and receive comments.

    To the extent that travel is required, each member of the subcabinet is responsible for the member’s own travel expenses.

    Nothing in this Order is intended to limit or otherwise modify any existing or future statutory or regulatory authority of any state agency. This Order takes effect immediately.

    DATED at Anchorage, Alaska this 18th day of December, 2008. “

    • Alaska Pi:

      You and I have read this administrative order many times; I think they should just throw it out and start over again.

      This order’s author could care less about rural Alaska.

    • I agree with Jim on starting all over again. Rural Alaska has been ignored and manipulated since way before statehood. We’re finally coming into our own thanks to modern technology. The voices coming out of the most isolated parts of Alaska is very alarming. A lot of lies and misinformation has been given by a handful of so called leaders primarily looking after themselves and building themselves up as “Special”. It’s the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s all over again. I wasn’t given a chance to vote for the Native voice on the Subcabinet and I don’t even know how the dude was recommended. Yes, a nice man but the world is not NICE out here. We need somebody Assertive and Aggressive to represent our needs out here in Rural Alaska. The world is not NICE to at least 80% of our people and we need to address that.

      • I am going to be very direct here.
        I think that some of the “somebody”, those somebodies we are looking for , are here in the links I have gathered. We have to look the harms we live with right square in the face and take up our own future across this state.
        “Professional” leaders are a varied group, some ok, far too many not. Unless we get honest with ourselves , nothing is going to change…
        It will stay a top-down setup, with fancy orders establishing boards and suchlike. Reading this admin order for the bazillionth time, I see less meat than I did originally , and don’t hold out a lot of hope that anything useful will come of it. We’ll know in short order as session and the governor’s State of the State address is almost upon us.
        That being said I encourage you to follow the links I have here and read about neighbors trying to take control of their own lives and push ideas which help.
        We have to push from the ground UP…


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