I had a chat with a local politician a few months ago. We discussed Kodiak PANDA and the Alaska State Constitutions. I asked him if he took an oath to uphold the Alaska State Constitution and he told me that he did. He also told me that he never bothered to read it and frankly didn’t care what it said. Stunned by his candor and his complete disregard to his oath, I asked him what guiding principles he bases his political decisions on. Of course he could not answer this question because he has no principles in which to base his decisions upon.

Guiding principles give a person a frame of reference or perspective from which to make decisions. Doing the right thing isn’t difficult, it’s knowing what the right thing is that’s hard. People who lack guiding principles, such as those found in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, simply do what “seems like the right thing at the time”. Their intentions are generally good but we all know that the road to Hell is paved with them.

Another thing that happens when the principles of the Constitution and Bill of Rights are ignored, is that fraud, corruption and abuse get out of control. Our constitutional principles can be compared to the set of rules in a game of Monopoly. As long as all the players follow the same set of rules the game is fair. However, if someone, let’s say the banker, starts cheating then the game becomes unfair for the other players. This is indeed what has happened to our political system. The rules do not apply equally. Or to put it another way; some people are more equal than others. The people who are politically connected get the gold mine and everyone else gets the shaft.

Principles were the driving force behind the lives of people such as MLK Jr., Gandhi, many of this countries Founders, thousands of Protestants murdered during the inquisition because they refused to convert to Roman Catholicism, etc. These people stuck to their principles in the face of overwhelming opposition, oppression, persecution and even a slow, painful, torture and death.

The point of this article is that when I hear people bad mouthing Borough Assembly candidate Dennis Symmons because he was a member of Kodiak PANDA, one has to wonder if we are suddenly living in an alternative universe where up is down, black is white, right is wrong?

The idea that being a member of Kodiak PANDA is some kind is liability rather than an asset defies common sense and logic. The PANDA members, including Symmons, took the time to research and understand exactly what the NDAA is and its potential devastating effects on our personal liberty. They also had the courage to join, knowing they might become a target of ridicule and possible reprisals. But they understood at a fundamental level that it is more important to uphold principle than to follow the herd, even at personal risk. I believe the 3 Kodiak City Council members who voted for the PANDA Resolution would agree. In fact, ask them yourselves. They are Randal Bishop, Terry Haines and Richard Walker.

The people who are attempting to turn a virtue into some kind of offensive behavior have obviously never bothered to become informed about PANDA and are the ones who are demonstrating offensive behavior.

Here are the PANDA facts. PANDA stands for People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA gives the president the power to assassinate, indefinitely detain for life, without a lawyer or a trial or phone call, American citizens on US soil. It blatantly violates no less than 5 amendments to the Bill of Rights. The NDAA was found to be unconstitutional by Judge Catherine Forrest in 2012, and the federal government chose to ignore that finding. She also declared that it has a chilling effect on the First Amendment. For more info goto: pandaunite.org .

Think we are paranoid and over reacting? Ask yourself this. Why would a president sign a bill that would cause an extremely negative reaction from his supporters if he didn’t think he might need to use it against those very supporters at some point?

By getting involved in PANDA and other pro-freedom movements, Symmons has shown that he is willing to let his personal ambitions take a backseat to his principles. You can be assured that when Dennis makes a decision on the Borough Assembly, he will be doing it based on a perspective of viewing right and wrong through the lens of principle, not based on an arbitrary, perhaps temporary feeling of what seems right at the time or based on personal gain like so many others.