By JIM RAYPHAND
Special to the Saipan Tribune
Our lieutenant governor aptly took a neutral position on the matter of impeachment saying “it's a process” and a very serious one no less. Undoubtedly he, more than anyone, should hold the line of objectivity amidst old acts being torn down, so the same old acts can be set back up. It's a tight rope to tread between impeachment and, the more likely outcome, that our House of cards will crumble on indecision, divisiveness, or outright dereliction. On the one hand, he steps to the center ring (sans hyperbole, I'd hope) and, on the other, he negotiates the high wire without a net-either way the show must go on.
The same is not true for members of the Legislature. “The process” is their part in this, 'The Greatest Show' in the CNMI. Their role is not to take cues from other acts, but rather to charge through the rings of fire with each of them coming out on one side or the other-to impeach or not to impeach (?), that is the question. Anything short of a straight answer at this point is a dereliction of duty. Beyond that, any position based on anything other than facts and law is shameful demagoguery, if not cowardice. Stop playing to the whims of the fickle masses and take an informed stance-that goes for representatives on both sides of the impeachment issue. There is an elephant, a donkey, and numerous other livestock in the middle of the room-people are not turning a blind eye or walking on peanut shells past it.
And then, there's the Judicial branch-perhaps, as a friend of mine points out, our last great hope for restoring order. It certainly feels a bit counterintuitive to speak of a bunch of lawyers as such, but he does have a point. I mean, putting aside the questionable ethics in a handful of them, lawyers are among the most well-educated people among us-a law degree, the bar exam, and good practice don't come easy. The court system, in general, is our greatest deterrent (the last defense, if you will). Should cooler heads prevail, it will most likely be from the bench. That's not to say that lawyers should get involved in these particular proceedings; in fact, I would hate to see this matter go to court-impeachment is a big fish, but the Judiciary has bigger ones to fry. Also, wouldn't it be nice if our legislative branch could serve up its own dish every once in a while?
On circuses of a different kind, I got to reading some historical accounts of “freak shows” (as they were called) wherein people with disabilities and other types of abnormal physical conditions were put on display purely as curiosities. Coincidentally, it got me thinking about the blame game in politics-when things go wrong, do we blame the elected officials or do we blame the voters for electing the officials? Similarly, should we blame the circus owners for the sideshows or the people who paid to go see them? But, I digress. Apparently, circus sideshows became a kind of studying ground for eugenicists who “were interested in various human disabilities, which they thought would give evidence to support theories of inherited characteristics.eugenicists interpreted [people with] disabilities as examples of degenerate heredity. They thought such people should be sterilized or prevented from [procreating].” So, among other things, “the practices engaged in by eugenicists involved violations of the right to life, the right to found a family, and the right to freedom from discrimination.”
Advocates at the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc. (NMPASI) hold firmly in the belief that people with disabilities (like anybody else) have an absolute, inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If ever there was evidence to support theories of inherited characteristics and examples of degenerative heredity, it's in the three-ring sideshow that is politics/government and the various acts serving only to amuse and to provide relief around the main attraction that is life and the people who live and die in it.
For more on the rights of people with disabilities, please contact the NMPASI Office at (670) 235-7273/4 [tel.] / 235-7275 [fax] / 235-7278 [tty] or stop by our office on Middle Road just north of the Guala Rai intersection.
Jim Rayphand is executive director of the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc., or NMPASI.