Most people had never heard of Sarah Palin when she was named Republican VP nominee. But I’d been hearing her name all too often, because I belong to a group called Defenders of Wildlife–and in her time as governor of Alaska, Palin has used her position as governor of Alaska to ruin the Alaskan wilderness in every way she could.[Welcome to new readers. There's tons of Palinalia to either vex or delight you on Salto. Click here for the main page.]
Her most recent “victory” came on August 26 when Alaska’s voters defeated Measure 2, an initiative that would have banned hunting wolves from airplanes for sport.
Palin organized a campaign against Measure 2, and funded it with $400,000 of state money. For most of us, the idea of zooming around in a private airplane over snowbound wilderness just for the chance to spot a terrified wild dog and blow it apart with a high-powered rifle is insane. But there’s a whole culture out there in love with the idea. Palin did her part by playing the tired old Alaskan pioneer card, saying that lower-48 naysayers who dared to object to the idea of divebombing wildlife didn’t “understand rural Alaska.”
Alaska isn’t really very hard to understand. It consists of a minority that loves the wilderness and an overwhelmingly Republican majority that wants to squeeze all the cash it can get out of the state before the oil dries up, the fish die out, and the wildlife disappears. Nowhere else does the Republican formula of manipulating the suckers by playing on their silly hatreds and even sillier vanities play out more clearly than in Alaska.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of Palin’s disgusting record on environmental issues is the fact that it’s hardly even being mentioned in the debate about her nomination. Most of the focus, for an audience of suckers weaned on celebrity gossip, seems to be about her mothering skills, her daughter’s pregnancy, and whether she was Miss Congeniality or just a runner-up in some beauty pageant. The fact that she makes her living helping to wipe out whole species, poison productive watersheds, and play to the stupidest great-white-hunter fantasies of her constituency hardly even seems worth a mention.