To be perfectly honest, I'm a bleeding-heart liberal born from a pair of bleeding-heart liberals. It's simply in my DNA. For most of my life, I've also been cradled in the nest of bleeding-heart liberals that is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's been nice. Even when I lived in Texas, I was in Houston which is one of the blue-er enclaves in the land of Bushes and evangelical "Christians". I definitely ran into all sorts of folks with different views than mine, but I wasn't surrounded by them constantly- especially at Rice University where I got my undergraduate degree.
In addition to all of that, I work at The Boston Conservatory which is like the Bleeding-Heart Liberal Vatican of Boston. I was talking with a co-worker today about the few-and-far-between Republicans that we have on campus- whether they're staff, faculty or student- it must be difficult for them to be embedded in such politically-foreign community. I feel for them because I'm about to feel their pain.
Alaska is a red state. Plain and simple. It always has been. It likely will be that way for many years to come. If I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned Sarah Palin during a discussion about my move to Alaska, I'd be BUYING a house there. A mansion. With a view of the Mendenhall Glacier. By the way, I've been to Wasilla several times. BARF. Of course, you cannot see Russia from there. The endless strip malls block the view.
I'm going to try to be very mindful of the fact that I'm going to be in the political minority in Alaska. I think the best strategy for survival (there are LOTS of guns in Alaska) is to keep my political views to myself and resist the urge to engage. I had a bit of a wake-up call this summer when I discussed ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) politics with Alaskan family members. WHOA. I had just finished reading Douglas Brinkley's "The Quiet World"- a history of natural resource management of the early 20th century in Alaska, and I felt I had a rather good handle on the current situation of the wild lands of Alaska. Well, my "liberal" Alaskan relatives has a VERY different opinion on the specific topic of ANWR- which thoroughly surprised me. It made me realize that no topic is safe- even with people I'm familiar with.
I'll be in Juneau for election day this year, but because of the timing and registration deadlines, I'll have to vote absentee in Massachusetts. That's probably better anyway. There's quite a close senatorial race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren here, and my vote could actually make a difference.
There's quite an extreme side of Alaskan politics that I know a little bit about. There's an Alaskan Independence Party that wants Alaska to secede from the union. In 2006, they tried to get a ballot initiative going to vote for secession. They were unsuccessful. Why do I keep moving to states that have these secession folks? I should move to Vermont next. My uncle Larry gave me a book to read last time I was in Juneau. It was basically an AIP wet dream. There's an uprising in Alaska to take back the motherland from the federal government which had become too involved in local resource management (a real topic of struggle between the local and federal agencies in Alaska). I seem to remember a large-scale battle taking place towards the end of the book along the road to Valdez, and the Alaskans were successful and became their own country. What a terribly written book. Great cover, though.
Also, speaking of similarities between Texas and Alaska, those two states rival each other for Most State Pride State. I mean, wherever you go in either state the flag is plastered on EVERYTHING. Lone Star beer is "The National Beer of Texas". I also have this t-shirt from my last trip to Alaska. I considered bringing it to Texas the last time I went, but I didn't feel like dying right then.