We live in one of the largest and smallest states in the Union. I hope that you have time to read all of your mail carefully.
I dearly love this country of mine, and one of the things I value so highly about it is the freedom I enjoy here. I am not arrested for speaking my mind, or reading what I choose to. I may marry who I please, and have as many children as I wish to, and raise them in my own faith.
Please, for the love of this country and all it holds dear, be a voice for sanity in government policy, both domestic and foreign.
Violence is not the answer. My country, the country I love so dearly, has fallen to the level of tossing snowballs with rocks packed into them on the playground at the class bully. Granted, the class bully threw the first snowball, and it was a damn big rock in it, but now we've stooped down to the moral level of terrorism. Violence does nothing but breed more violence, terrorism more terrorism, abuse more abuse. The way to teach a child not to throw rocks is not by hitting him until he stops. A "shining beacon of freedom" does not bomb the hell out of a country full of oppressed people governed by an insane government that this same "shining beacon of freedom" set up there in the first place. For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to raise the flag of this country I love so dearly. There must be a better way.
Adhere to the Bill of Rights. Everyone in this country must be free -- to practice their own religion, to speak their mind. Put an end to censorship in the mass media. Speak the truth about government policy. If the government can face the shame of Mr. Clinton's personal failings, the government can damned well face up to the errors they've made in the past and strive to correct them. Balance hate-mongering and hysteria with messages of hope. Give voice to the lesser-known opinions. Rule by majority does not mean that the minority should be squashed; my beloved country the United States has long been the "melting pot" where people of all different races, origins, and creeds have lived side by side and made a better future for themselves and all others by sharing their strengths. I am a Wiccan, raised by a Quaker, and I vote.
Do not depend on fossil fuels for our energy. California is having an energy crisis and gas prices have gone sky-high. We both make our home in an oil-rich state, but it is past the time of oil. Solar energy, wind -- clean, environmentally safe means of power are the wave of the future, and it's time Alaska took the oil money and did something useful with it to make our future wealth assured. I know it's possible to survive using only solar power with a small generator for backup in the winter -- do you know the Nodler family halfway to Nenana from Fairbanks? That's what they do. When my computer science degree and I return to Alaska, I fully intend to equip my home with solar panels in much the same style, and I have full faith that this will keep even my vast array of electronics running with very little problem. Less hazard of lightning strikes on the power pole, too, and less problem with squirrels.
I speak to you as one Alaskan to another. Remember that for every person who writes to you, there are several more thinking the same things who don't have time to write, or who don't think their words will be listened to. Please, listen to me, and listen to those who are not speaking.
Joan Laurel B*, permanent mailing address PO Box *, Fairbanks AK, 99708, permanent residence * Old Cat Trail, Fairbanks AK