Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Note: On Novermber 23, The Anchorage Times published an editorial that I had titled, "Let's Not Surrender." The Times editor changed the title to "Tolerance is foreign to 'Christophobes,'" which I admit is better. My editorial follows:

by Representative Bob Lynn

The unruly Rodney King made a valid point with his famous question, “Why can’t we all just get along”? I can add some questions of my own. “Why are people who pontificate the loudest about “tolerance” so intolerant of people who take their religion seriously? Why do many who preach the wonders of “diversity” exclude practicing Christians and Jews from their diversity big tent?

There appears to be a campaign to marginalize, or even eradicate, America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. We witness a flood of vitriol directed toward Christians and other believers, with especial wrath seemingly reserved for those who give evidence of being faithful Evangelicals or Catholics. It’s like a jihad in reverse. What’s going on here?

Our nation is in the midst of a cultural battle - a conflict of values - between extreme secularism and a religious world view. As one writer expressed it, there’s a tug of war going on for the future of America. The problem isn’t garden-variety non-religious folks, and certainly not members of one faith vigorously debating theology with members of a different denomination. The problem is anti-religious zealots with zero tolerance for anyone who actively practices their religion, and zero appreciation for America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. “Christophobes” would remove the faithful from the public forum, and revise our history and value system to suit their extremist agenda. The battle is evident in national news and local “Letters to the Editor.” Anti-religious jihadists would tear any form of religion expression from the fabric of American culture. They don’t believe in “live and let live,” and that’s unhealthy in a pluralistic society.

Anti-religious zealots would remove “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. A Ten Commandments monument is dragged out of a courthouse. The Salvation Army is banned from ringing bells in front of stores at Christmas (excuse me, the “Holidays”). Religious symbols are censored out of historic city seals. Kids can’t sing Silent Night in public schools. Menorahs are outlawed. Nativity scenes are taboo. A teacher gets in trouble for teaching the Declaration of Independence because the document makes references to God.

The colors red and green - even red poinsettias - are outlawed because they are associated with (there goes that “C word” again) Christmas. Christmas trees are out; “holiday trees” are in. A telephone company denigrates three holidays by advertising “Christmahanakwanzakah” in a TV commercial. A float in a 30th Annual Parade of Lights is disallowed because it includes a sign proclaiming “Merry Christmas,” and carolers singing - you guessed it - Christmas carols. Graduates from evangelical Christian schools may suffer problems being admitted to the University of California. A government worker is prohibited from wishing anyone in the office “Happy Hanukkah." And the list goes on, ad infinitum, ad absurdum.

Such outrages were once the absurd acts of kooks, but abnormal becomes “normal” when ignored. Things considered absurd a scant few years ago (for example, same-sex marriage) are deemed “politically correct,” and too often upheld in courts of law. None of this is good news.

This is America. It’s not the business of local, state, or national government to force religion down the throat of anyone. That doesn’t foster faith; it discourages it – not to mention that it’s unconstitutional. If someone is non-religious, that’s their business. However, the rights of anti-religious zealots must end where constitutionally protected freedom of religion and common sense begins. Anti-religionists have no inherent right to tear religion from the fabric of our daily life, or to deny believers their rightful place in a diverse society - including believers being a respected voice in the political process. As Pogo would say, if the faithful continue allowing this to happen, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

When we elect someone to office - PTA, assembly, state legislature, congress, or the presidency - we elect their values, whatever they are. Never mind vacuous statements that politicians shouldn’t bring personal religious values to public office. Nonsense. Everybody takes their values every place they take themselves. Values cannot be separated from the person. There’s no such thing as lack of values, only different values.

Believers and non-believers inhabit our same small planet – a planet and people many of us believe to be created by God. America has become a great nation because of our Judeo-Christian heritage and ethic that recommends “Do unto others as we would have others do unto us.” One application of The Golden Rule would be tolerance for neighbors who practice their religion. Unfortunately that concept is foreign to Christophobes. Whatever, it’s past time for believers to stop being doormats for anti-religious bigots. We can’t stop prejudice against the people of faith, but discrimination should end. Do I hear an Amen?

POSTSCRIPT: I'm a daring person, so I hereby wish by blog readers a "Happy Thanksgiving" (NOT "Turkey Day"), Merry Christmas, and a Blessed New Year!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I’m a military retiree, and also a Vietnam veteran. At the so-called “end” of the Vietnam War, I was a forty year old father of six serving as the commander of a radar site (call sign “Peacock Control”) at Pleiku, in the central highlands of that war torn corner of Southeast Asia. Our military faced determined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong enemies. Vietnam was a very dangerous place. Well, that’s to be expected in a war. Combat is dangerous. People get killed. As the saying goes, “we knew the risk when we joined up.”

But the enemy combatant in Vietnam wasn’t our only danger. We also had peaceniks and politicians back home who did their best, knowingly or unknowingly, to destroy the morale of American servicemen in Vietnam. This danger to our troops is now repeating itself in Iraq, and it’s just as deadly.

In 2003, I organized a “Support our Troops Rally” and gave a speech, on the capitol steps in Juneau. A copy of that speech can be read in my March 8, 2003 blog. That speech can also speak to the demoralizing effects the 2005 current crop of peaceniks, and politicians with an agenda, to our American military in Iraq. A quote from my speech at the 2003 rally follows,

“If there’s one thing I learned in Vietnam, it’s this: there’s only one thing more important, than bombs and bullets to winning a war, whether it’s in Vietnam or Iraq – and that’s morale. It’s a direct attack on a soldier’s morale, when the terminally naïve and worse, America-haters – protest against a war a soldier is trying to win and trying to survive. When a fighting man loses his morale - he can lose his life. I’m here to tell you that it’s disheartening, and just plain dangerous, to be in a war, and not have support from the folks back home.”

A soldier - whatever his or her link in the chain-of-command - must trust their military leaders, and the top leader of the military is the president, as commander-in-chief. It’s politically disingenuous, or at the least silly, to claim to support our troops, but not their commander-in-chief, the President of the United States when we are in the middle of a war.

And yes, we are in the middle of a war. Just because the enemy doesn’t commit a 9/11 attack every other day on America soil, it is no less a war. Unfortunately, the terrorist enemy apparently has more patience in planning attacks, than some of us do in patiently sustaining the War against Terror.

Put yourself in the shoes of an American soldier in Iraq. You face unimaginable terror everyday from suicide murderers and roadside bombs hidden by cowards, and every other hardship of military duty – and peaceniks and politicians in comfort and safely back home broadcast to the enemy that you’re losing the war, your commander is a “liar” who can’t be trusted, and you shouldn’t have been in Iraq in the first place. As I said, such attacks on a soldier’s morale can kill. Shame!

It’s irresponsible and shameful to destroy the morale of our soldiers. As Winston Churchill said, “The problem is not winning the war, it’s the public letting us do it.”

Monday, November 14, 2005


Marlene and I were two of the 1,000 civilians and 4,000 military to greet President Bush at his stopover today at Elmendorf AFB enroute to South Korea, China, and Mongolia (where my son Bob Jr. serves in the US Foreign Service).

President Bush gave a headliner speech on the "War on Terror." He received a tremendous ovation by the troops and everyone else. The president projected an outstanding aura of leadership. Later he met personally and privately with families of Alaskans who lost their lives serving America in Iraq, including the family of a Marine from our House District 31.

Along with a small group of other legislators from around the nation, I had an opportunity to meet the president in the White House a couple years ago. He spoke quietly and elegantly at that time of our troops in Iraq, and when he spoke of how he was "heartbroken" when a soldier's was lost his eyes were visably moist. I'll never forget that.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Today, Marlene and I attended Veterans’ Day 2005 ceremonies at Camp Denali on Fort Richardson. It was Marlene’s (the “First Lady” of District 31) first “official outing” since her very successful total knee replacement surgery.

Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom and her husband also attended the Veterans’ Day ceremony, as well as Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman. Governor Murkowski, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, gave an excellent speech honoring veterans.

The Air Force Band of the Pacific performed throughout the ceremonies – especially poignant to me, because I began my military career as an Air Force bandsman (bassoon, saxophone, drum major) at Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Arizona. But, of course, the playing of taps – with an echoing trumpet – was chillingly beautiful.

I’m immensely proud to be a veteran, and I wear military pins on my suit that testify to my military service. I belong to a family of military veterans. I was raised by my maternal grandparents – my Grandfather John was a World War I veteran. My mother was a World War II veteran – a member of the WAACS (Women’s Army Air Corp) who served overseas with the 15th Air Force at Bari, Italy. I’m a U.S. Air Force retiree, and a Vietnam veteran. It’s an especial honor to be Chairman of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans’ Affairs.

There’s a camaraderie known only to veterans and to active duty military people. No one enters and leaves the military the same person. Personally, the military opened doors of opportunity for me that never would have otherwise happened. Other veterans weren’t so fortunate, and sustained battle injuries in defense of our nation. Still others made the supreme sacrifice of their lives.

A lady who lost her son in Iraq said it best, “We are the Land of the Free, because America is the Home of the Brave.” God Bless our veterans and our United States Armed Forces – not just on Veteran’s Day, but everyday. All gave some, some gave all.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Kaktovik is a three-hundred person outpost of civilization on the coast of Alaska’s frigid Arctic Ocean. The village is about as remote as it can get and still be on Alaska’s mainland. But that’s no deterrence to our Alaska Air National Guard and “Operation Santa Claus.”

On Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Claus flew into Kaktovik on an Air Guard C130 Hercules, accompanied by a group of “elves” (I was the “mature” rotund volunteer “elf”), and distributed gifts to the village children. We also provided a Holiday lunch for the village, and great music from the US Air Force “Greatlander” Band from Elmendorf AFB. In turn, Katovik’s dance group performed dance and music for us.

Operation Santa Claus originally stared in 1956. Since then, tens of thousands of Alaska’s children in bush communities have benefited from the generosity of the Alaska Air National Guard, and the civilian community that supports Operation Santa Claus.

My first Santa Claus trip was last year to Venetie. This year’s trip to Kaktovik was especially meaningful to all of us, because Kaktovik is the village that lost its power last winter, and suffered so much. The Air Guard came to the rescue during the emergency, but this time came in a happier time to bring good cheer.<
I really enjoy my legislative work, both during the session, and during the interim. But I must confess, I especially enjoy opportunities to participate in such personally fulfilling activities as Operation Santa Claus. The Holiday Season is a joy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Today I toured Bowman Elementary School. The school hosts an impressive educational environment, and good education is happening there. I can speak from experience. I can also tell you it's a "small world."

I retired from public school teaching in California, to teach in Alaska. I was interviewed in Anchorage by Mr. Darrell Vincek and subsequently hired to teach special education at Romig Junior High. By happenstance, I didn’t see Mr. Vincek after that interview. Later, I was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives, from District 31 in South Anchorage.

This last legislative session, I was able to obtain some additional state funding for Bowman Elementary School in our district for computers, supplies, and especially to redesign the school parking lot to make it safer for children entering and leaving school. Imagine my surprise, to learn that the principal of Bowman School is the Darrell Vincek who helped me obtain my first job in Alaska, and that he also a constitutient.

I sent my Dirk Moffatt, my Anchorage staff assistant, to the school to get information about what needs to be done to the parking lot to make it less dangerous. It turns out that Darrell Vincek was Dirk Moffatt’s science teacher in years past!

I think Alaska must be the world’s largest small town!

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