I can’t stress this enough: Governor Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes are going to kill people.
It will be women in abusive relationships, murdered by their partner.
It will be opiate addicts, our friends and family, dying from overdose.
It will be alcoholics who freeze to death on a park bench downtown.
It will be those without access to mental healthcare who commit suicide.
It will be the homeless youth that have nowhere to go, and have to fight all of these battles on their own.
People are going to die.
Governor Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes highlight Alaska’s very real institutional racism and classism. Not just the poor are paying the price, it is disproportionately Alaska Natives, especially those in the villages.
It will also be queer Alaskans, already facing tremendous problems, who will be affected first.
It will be the queer Alaska Natives who feel it worst.
It will be people like me.
That’s why I say the need for radical change is larger now than anything I’ve ever witnessed.
Even overriding the vetoes doesn’t fix the problem. The tactic of turning basic state functions into battle grounds every budget cycle is calculated — and I would say nefarious.
We’ve been in a economic state of uncertainty for many years now, and it will continue without addressing the real purpose of these battles: to waste our attention, time and resources.
They intend to take people who work at places like Fairbanks Youth Advocates’ The Door or the Fairbanks Rescue Mission, and to make them feel pain. Toying with budgets that control life-saving programs tortures those who care about others. The more you hurt, the better it is working. The goal is to make you give up, move out of state and let others die in neglect. Dunleavy is not unaware of the importance and impact of his cuts. He knows, and it is evil.
If we believe in access to food, water, shelter, health care and education, we can’t let these yearly battles continue to happen, we have to end the war. We need radical, sustainable change now, because otherwise there will be no Alaska, just another resource colony.
We need direct action. We need a new vision. We need a new way of life. I will do everything I can to make sure Alaska does not become a worse place for the poorest queer Alaska Native, and I need you to help.
David Leslie is a bisexual Inupiaq Inuit raised in Fairbanks.