An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

I am a member of the UAA College Democrats.  It was something that, I will admit, I first got into because I was just trying to escape.  And now, as I look at where things are heading, where it looks to end, I am feeling a stab of deep pity, not just for myself, but for those involved, and I don’t hold it against our leader.  I hold it against our school.  And now, a parting of the ways is happening.

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is a commuter’s school, for the most part.  The bulk of students are in Nursing.  It is the largest field that employs here in Alaska.  Part of me thinks that maybe I should have gotten into that.  It is a career path that can be pretty lucrative, but it involved a metric ton of work.  Well, any career field does that.  In any case, this is the school that I attend.  It is a school where kids come and kids go.

There has never been a unifying force that is behind it.  There has never been an effort to get all the students to come together and be something more than just those who come and go.  The college is continually trying to have events that get students interested.  I figure that only a precious few even draw a decently sized crowd.  It has always been that way.

And therefore, since the college itself has no unifying efforts, or large group who is working to be a part of what goes on there, clubs are also criminally small.  Now that I think about it, UAA represents America at large, in a way.  It is a place where people are only concerned about their own interests.  They get involved only if it affects them.  If they are going to have to lose some of their time to it, they will fight what is happening.  People don’t really care about what happens.  Unless of course, it affects their wallets.  Touch the kids’ money, and they will get right to getting involved.  There really is a lot of poetic irony in the fact that UAA does seem to represent how most of this country is.  People come and go, not caring about the major issues, not caring about the major problems, not caring at all.

And this leads us back to the UAA College Democrats.  The leader, Heather Aronno, is stepping back.  I don’t shame her that.  One of the things that I live by is “do what you feel,” which is really the shorter version of “do what you feel is right for you.”  She has a career path in mind where some level of objectivity will be required.  Granted, I don’t believe in true objectivity, but that isn’t the issue here.  She has to do what is right by her, and at the same time, I, and apparently somebody at KRUA, could see the writing on the wall.  The UAA College Dems are coming to an end.

When one looks at American politics, it isn’t surprising.  People don’t want to get involved in all of that anyway.  And given how people at UAA don’t give a crap about what is going on, or the people who are doing things, then it really makes a lot of sense.  This group was held together by Heather and John Aronno.  A lot of burden to be placed on two people, and now, it is just destined to come apart.  I hope I am wrong, but really, those two were the only ones who were making a significant effort.  I tried to be more involved, but I did really a lot of jack in the grand scheme of the club.  Those two balanced the whole damn thing on their backs.

And now, Heather is making a move to further her own future, which is a good thing to do.  And as she steps back, hoping that another will step forward, I think her and I both know that such is not to be.  Nobody will want to have that on their shoulders.  Nobody will want to work that hard.  It’s sad, horribly sad, but true.

So I raise my can of Vanilla Coke to you, UAA College Dems.  We have reached a parting of the ways.  May you rest in peace.  It was an effort by two good people to make something worthwhile to get people involved here on campus, and then to have that translate out to something more.  But it will perish because of a lack of those who want to get involved.  Perhaps someday, somebody will want to step forward and bring it back.  I hope so.

Au revoir, UAA Dems.  We hardly had time to get to know one-another, but like most things in life, it was a good run, and when one is trying to make a difference in this world, or just trying to do something productive, that is about all that you can hope for.

Peace out,



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