It is that time of the year. They have begun to sprout up along the highways. Daily we see more and more of them. Each has a smiling face and a name plastered on it with a “Please Vote for Me!” By mid-October there will be little space unoccupied on the highways with hundreds of these posters each with a grinning face and a “Please Vote for Me!” Yes, you guessed it-it's election time.
Now all we have to do is see which one is our closest relative and vote for him. Don't bother with what he promises he will do if elected. Who remembers anyway? But I am going to ask each of the aspiring candidates to take a self-evaluation quiz.
Attention: all Legislator candidates, please sit down for a few minutes and take the following quiz. If you prefer keep the results to yourself, but please try to improve any low rating. Remember you can lie to us but you cannot lie to yourself. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5. Take 1 as the highest and 5 the lowest score.
1. I am self-disciplined and allow no excuses for myself.______
2. I am highly motivated and enthusiastic about my challenges._____
3. I am well-educated on the legislative process._______
4. I thoroughly understand the problems facing our community._____
5. I will study carefully both sides of all issues before I vote on them.______
6. I will not introduce bills without careful thought that they are needed. ______
7. I will strive in all my endeavors to be a leader.____
8. I am aggressive when I believe in a cause.______
9. I frequently read magazines and books on domestic and international affairs._____
10. I will attend all sessions and prepare before hand for them.____
11. I have studied and understand the history of the CNMI._____
12. I live what I believe in.______
13. I am ethical in all my dealings._____
14. I feel my work as a legislator is a duty and a privilege.____
15. I do not buy or repay votes for favors.______
16. I will listen to the plight of the people and try to fulfill their needs.____
17. I will try hard to encourage and motivate others to do better._____
18. I understand the relations between the U.S. and the CNMI._____
19. I will communicate frequently with my constituents._____
20. I have a strong willingness to help the CNMI.____
21. I will never put personal interests above my responsibilities._____
22. I will seek out different viewpoints to better under a bill before I endorse it._____
23. I am willing to bend the rules when compassion is necessary.____
24. I will study the possible consequences of a bill before I endorse it._____
25. I understand the Constitution and the Covenant thoroughly._____
After taking this self-analysis, study your strong and weak points. If you are not truthful here, when will you be? One of the most important qualities you must possess is “trustworthiness.” It is ironical that many of our representatives are not trusted or believed by the general public.
I recently read a survey taken about a variety of occupations. The highest trustworthy occupation was a medical doctor with a rank of 1.43, followed by clergymen with 1.44. the survey revealed that the lowest trusted occupation was that of salesmen with a rank of 3.29. But guess what the second lowest trustworthy occupation was? Politicians with a rank of 3.18. Why is that?
Who of you will step forward and lead? How many of you grasp the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in? How many of you are willing to sacrifice yourself to correct the wrongs being done daily? Will you show us by deeds or words? Will you work hard and with determination to bring back our prosperity and dignity?
Anything you do in the Legislature has to be done as a unified group.
One stand-out legislator can do little on his own. The most effective action is through a consensus of agreement. Will you be able to persuade your peers to see things through your eyes, through discussions and compromises? Will you always remember that politics is not a job but a duty?
Let me quote from a columnist named Charlie Reese which seems to fit here. Hopefully his thoughts will cause you to think about your situation:
1. Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
2. Have you ever wondered if both Democrats and Republicans are against deficits, why do we have deficits?
3. When we fully grasp the plain truth that the Administration and Congress control the power of government then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
4. If the tax code if unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
5. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
6. You and I don't propose the budget, the governor does.
7. You and I don't set fiscal policy, our Legislators do.
8. All our elected officials of the House, the Senate and the Administration are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague our country.
9. the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representative for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.
10. I cannot think of a single domestic problem that is not directly traceable to our elected officials.
11. There are no insolvable government problems.
12. If we have 11,000 plus people on welfare, it is because they want it that way.
Mr. Reese's statement above are harsh but sadly true. We elected Legislators to help us lead a better life. But matters are only getting worse. But I quickly add that we also must take some of the blame for voting for them repeatedly based on family, instead of ability to lead. We are as wrong as they. No, I am not writing the above remarks just to sound off and point fingers. We are in this mess together and must work together to get out of it.
We must understand that there is no such thing as something for nothing. Everything worth anything has a price. If we insist on trying to regain prosperity by selling our souls, we will pay a price that we will long regret and sadly regret.
As I end my discussion this morning, I hope that all aspiring candidates will seriously consider the above comments and please take the self-quiz. Don't become a legislator unless you truly feel that you can make a difference. It is not a job. It is a duty! Are you ready and willing to serve and sacrifice for all of us?
Please repeat over and over:
Our country will only be as good as I will be as an elected official!
To all aspiring candidates, please be honest with yourself and with us before you flood the highways with your pleas to vote for you. Know that you will do an excellent job. Do not apply if you are just looking for a job or because you have a large family but no guts for the job.
And keep looking for the diamonds under our feet. Believe it or not, they are there waiting to picked up! Prosperity is around the corner.But are we willing to pay its price? The forthcoming election will answer this question. Have a great week and keep SMILING!