Deadliest Catch: One Alaska Fisherman to Another

Exclusive to STR

September 29, 2008

Sarah Palin named her daughter after Bristol Bay. More than a thousand commercial fishing boats gather in Bristol Bay, Alaska every summer to harvest the richest source of wild salmon on earth. Thanks to the skillful management of the resource by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, enough salmon escape upstream every year to allow tens of millions to return the following years. Bristol Bay fishing is fierce and competitive. Crashing boats, cursing and skillful maneuvers by the best fishermen; Bristol Bay on the Fourth of July resembles The Deadliest Catch meets the Tour de France. We Alaska fishermen are stubborn, competitive yet cooperative when necessary, a strange mixture of self-interest and fair play. We'll risk our lives and boats to save other fishermen. But we'll motor across someone's nets if we feel they crossed us. Sarah Palin, my name is Douglas Herman. I am the oldest salmon crewman in Kodiak, Alaska, and I never quit a fishing boat even when severely injured and in pain. What made you jump ship halfway through the season? I'm sure you know that any crewman who quits a fishing boat halfway through the fishing season and leaves a crew shorthanded is a stinking, lowlife loser. Didn't you run for governor of Alaska against the good-old-boys from both the Republican and Democrats? Weren't you elected by Alaskans tired of corruption? Didn't you promise Alaskans FOUR years of public service, not more self-interest? Clearly Sarah, you're a quitter, with bigger fish to fry. When former Alaska governor Frank Murkowski, your predecessor, appointed his daughter to the vacant US Senate seat, most Alaskans felt outraged, understandably, that a political neophyte had been handed a trophy. Not earned, wholly undeserved, simply more political shenanigans from Republican fat cats. Your victory for the governorship, Sarah, was due less to your brilliant accomplishments'since you had none'then to Murks' blundering, stupidity and nepotism. Most Alaskans'unlike the effete US mainstream media'hardly care whether your daughter is due a baby out of wedlock. BFD. Stuff happens in the cold winters there in Alaska. NO, what most Americans fear is your sudden shrill stance, a troubling shift of wind from a breath of fresh air. Suddenly you've become a scary Stepford wife, spawn of the Neocons. Whatever rugged individualism you might have possessed is long gone after clever handling by the political corrupt elites in DC. As most people know, Sarah, we Alaska fishermen work in America's most dangerous jobs. Boats sink or capsize all the time. Crewmen drown or suffer serious injury. My former boat recently suffered a double stabbing among the crewmen. But that senseless stabbing was nothing compared to the double stabbings YOU have made in your short but bombastic career in the media limelight. 'John McCain and I are committed to drawing attention to the danger posed by Iran's nuclear program and we will not waver in our commitment,' said Palin in a speech to thousands of supporters in Minnesota. 'I will continue to call for sustained action to prevent Iranian President Ahmadinejad from getting these weapons that he wants for a second Holocaust.' What sort of 'sustained action?' Like another preemptive war, Sarah? Another war crime that you can justify as God's will? What separates you and the Neocons in both parties from suicide bombers and jihadists? What separates you, Sarah, from terrorists? You sound less like an Alaskan than an angry Stepford wife with a hunting knife. And how exactly did you'or your handlers'determine that the Iranian president wanted a 'Second holocaust'? No real Alaskan would use a phrase like that. We Alaskans might say that Iran would bomb the shit out of Israel given half the chance. Just as we know that Israel would do the same. But any intelligent Alaskan--not that you are in that class'would already know that Israel possesses 200+ nukes to zero for Iran. And how hypocritical does it sound when you say you want America to build more nuclear power plants but Iran must never be allowed to split the atom? And if America really does have all this untapped oil and natural gas'as you claim--WHY would we even need to build more nuke plants? Think before you speak.Likewise, that covert threat you made to Russia' that America would have had to come to the rescue of Georgia with a suitable military response, if that former Soviet satellite had been a NATO member when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. You really want to start World War III, Sarah? Suddenly you resemble less the hockey mom in an SUV than a chainsaw-wielding former cheerleader. No better than the wacky war criminals who have been reprogramming you in these few short weeks. Perhaps instead of building a bridge to nowhere, Sarah, you might start building bridges to somewhere. God knows the ones spanning the Mississippi River need some help desperately. Maybe instead of threatening foreign countries you might focus on REAL problems here at home. Like the wrecked economy. Maybe instead of wasting trillions of taxpayer wealth overseas, you might stick up for US citizens. Maybe instead of posing as a God-fearing Christian fisherwoman with 'family values,' you might emulate that fellow fisherman who founded your religion. You remember him, right? What did he say about bailing out the rich at the expense of the poor? Easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven? You still want to bail out your wealthy Wall Street pals? You still want to saddle US taxpayers with a $700 billion bill? You still want to call yourself a reformer? On any top Alaska fishing boat, you would be called a long list of names, none of them reformer. Sorry, Sarah. Your shrill flag waving won't pay the bills anymore. America is busted and your newfound cronies busted her. Millions expected more from you. Somehow America thinks we are tougher in Alaska. The Last Frontier, you know? Sadly instead, you resemble one more Neocon whimp, with your nutty, retro warmongering views of the world.

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Douglas Herman's picture
Columns on STR: 133

Award winning artist, photographer and freelance journalist, Douglas Herman enjoys exploring the occasional ghost town or spooky conspiracy and can be found wandering the back roads of America. Recently Doug finished writing, directing and producing an independent feature film, naturally a "road movie," and credits STR for giving him the impetus to write well, both provocatively and entertainingly. A longtime gypsy, Doug completed a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America, by bicycle, at the age of 35, and still wanders between Bullhead City, Arizona and Kodiak, Alaska with forays frequently into the so-called civilized world of Greater LA.