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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Get up! Stand up! Do it!

Anthony Pellegrino

The recent election in the CNMI has proved that we can Get up! Stand up! and Do it! We can make a major difference in our society. Yes, truth coupled with unity of strength, has prevailed. The outcry for our governor to either resign or be impeached also proves that you and I can make a difference. Our life is not dependent on what others decide for us. We are part of all decisions. At times, however, too many of us for various reasons forfeit the right to affect the outcome of decisions. But we have proven to ourselves that we can Get up! Stand up! and Do it!

For the past years we have been beating the doomsday drum and singing dirges signifying the end is imminent. To some of us it appears that all that is left is the packing of our bags and saying goodbye to friends and moving on. Saipan is lost and there is nothing that we can do.

But today I woke up and decided to reject the dark shadow of pessimism. Instead I decided to change my attitude and sing about the joys of living and the spirit of the future in the CNMI. I was determined to examine what is good and hopeful about the dismal economic situation. I must wrestle with it. I wanted to examine my feelings on where my life was heading. After a few minutes I decided that there is much to feel blessed about. All I had to do was change my attitude at how I saw and thought about things.

I recently read Meditations, a book written by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, in which he reminded me that life is composed of opinions. He went to say there is nothing wrong or right but our opinions about it. Change our opinion and we change the world that troubles us. So I decided to change my opinion.

You may wonder what I am ranting about this morning. Why this note of optimism? It is because we must persist despite all odds. Another author, Michael Medved, stated in a speech: “Whenever our vision may be clouded by the fog of pessimism, we should recall we have deeper reasons for confidence and joy.” So this morning let’s talk about optimism.

We proved that we can make a difference in our society just last month. Now we have to finish the job. We must continue the self-respect and dignity we showed last month. Self-respect keeps us from accepting those bribes that reward us for violating our integrity. But taking that first bribe rewards us for violating our integrity and weakens us so that it makes it more difficult to resist future bribes. And so a vicious weakening cycle takes hold. Bribes come cloaked in many ways. The bribe can be the promise of a job, a favor, or a promise for something.

Upon awakening I glanced at my sleeping wife and felt how close and important she is in my life. She looked so serene with a slight smile upon her face. I walked into the next room to my sleeping children. Pausing over their beds, I silently offered a prayer of thanks for them. My family was healthy and happy. As a result I also felt healthy and happy. At this moment I felt no animosity toward anyone or anything. Instead I felt elated in this states of quietness. I realized deeply that I must improve myself and maintain self-respect and integrity. I do not want to bring shame upon them. After all I am their guardian.

About eight o’clock I arrived at my office. I greeted everyone and began to check the previous day’s activities. After checking accounts and discussing them with my manager, I began to assess the current business situation. Sales had been dropping, though everyone has been working hard. We realized that there is less money for people to spend. What to do about it?

I began a series of cost-saving activities. I began to monitor my employees’ hours more closely. We made sure that we would not have waste. All extra lights were turned off when not needed. All these problems made me think about and more closely control the activities in the company. But I refused to become downhearted. I recalled that when I began the business it was also tough and uncertain.

For lunch I joined a friend. He and I discussed similar problems. At first we began to point fingers and blame others for our misfortune. As we departed, I began to reflect on our discussion of finger pointing. Again a thought from Marcus Aurelius popped into my head: “Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; be ready to let it go.” I thought God had given me the opportunity to succeed and perhaps he was slowly taking it back. Surely another opportunity will appear. I was determined to work harder and remain positive. I was ready to Get up! Stand up! and Do it! I must improve my situation.

Folks, I am not trying to preach on what we should do or not do. I don’t know any better than you. But if we come to terms with ourselves we can create a better society. We must stop having the government dictate every more we make. The government is meant to govern us, not to dictate what we must do and then take opportunities away from us.

A good government helps to create economic opportunities for us by creating chances for work. But not in the government itself. It should not employ us so that we become dependent on it. Much work done by government employees can and should be jobbed out to private companies. A good government understands our needs and tries to guide us and motivate us. It seeks opportunities to increase exports, which will increase imports of dollars. It should be like a father concerned about its children. Is that asking too much?

We have begun to correct our past. Now we must continue and finish the job. Let us tell the government what is needed and that we are willing to sacrifice and work toward that end. The U.S. government will help us also if we reach out and ask for their help. To date they have given us so much money to improve ourselves, but have we used the money as wisely as we could?

It will be an exciting new year. I am determined to be successful not just in improving my company, but in my personal life as well. I am going to like myself, and I will practice integrity. I will cooperate with my community to make it a better one because I will change my attitude. I am going to Get up! Stand up! and Do it! Join with me and let’s do it together. We just proved that we can. Let’s continue.

Someone once said: “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” And finally from Marcus Aurelius: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

The CNMI is our home and we must work hard to make it a better place. Let us examine our attitudes and change them as necessary. We have the intelligence, we have the talent, we have the means. Now we need the determination. So again, Get up! Stand up! and Do it!

Somewhere I read: “We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly by embracing each other.” In other words—together we can do great and miraculous things. Let’s work together. Get up! Stand up! and Do it!

Until we meet again keep wearing that radiant smile! I wish all a belated Happy Thanksgiving.

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