America by Air
In the March cover story, “How America Is Putting Itself Back Together,” James Fallows summed up three years of reporting that belie the popular perception of a nation in decline. The financial journalist Justin Fox, writing in Bloomberg View, said, “The piece is a wonderful, hopeful reminder that this country can be a wonderful, hopeful place.”
As a lifelong Alaskan and former U.S. senator, I was simultaneously interested and appalled when picking up the March 2016 issue of The Atlantic. I was drawn to the cover story because of my background as a small-business owner, but I noticed that my home state—which is bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined and has more shoreline than the entire rest of the U.S.—was nowhere to be found on the cover illustration. Yes, Alaska is facing some serious effects of climate change, but we have not yet melted into the ocean! (I also noticed that our sister state, Hawaii, was missing on your cover.)
Kudos to writer James Fallows and his wife, Deb, for unearthing the real story about the revival and reinvention of America as technology and creativity change the way we live and do business. Having traversed Alaska many times by small plane, I can relate to the magic of landing in a village and observing people in rural places exercising great ingenuity to build the local economy. I have seen new fish-processing plants, aluminum-boat fabrication, kids fixing fishing nets and building airplanes, elders working on policy issues, and entire communities celebrating with music and native dancing. I met Mr. Fallows when he visited Alaska years ago, and I am certain he experienced this to some degree at that time.