Political marathon ahead


Politicians have begun prepping their arsenals and war chests for what looks like a very contentious and vicious warfare on the campaign trail this year. The academically and professionally suited would review their materials in hopes of understanding and articulating them publicly.

The less suited would bluff their way with clichés and jargons they don’t even understand, e.g., “We have to be open minded” or “It is what it is.” Nice try but could you explain exactly what you mean? Posturing as superficial intellect won’t cut the cake either. We both know it’s fallacious.

Let’s cut through the chase and solicit answers both from incumbents and the new kids on the block. Victors must prove that the Legislature isn’t a cesspool of incompetence and ignorance.

Incumbents: Did you successfully reduce power bills? Did you do anything to raise wages and salaries so families could meet concurrent combined cost of living of some 60 to 80 percent? Did you do anything to help employees deal with the 40-percent increase in health insurance? Do you know that the fiscal collapse has adversely affected every household here? Your solution?

Guam will raise its minimum wage to $8.25 per hour next year; what’s its economic implication for the NMI? Isn’t it higher prices for basic commodities, including fossil fuel given that all of these must pass via the commercial port of Guam? Do you now understand why vision and perception are vital in policymaking, guarding against adverse effects of laws from within and without?

New kids on the block: Granted that you may be academically and professionally competent, but what’s your perception of policymaking and have you seriously reviewed current predatory policies that have stifled economic growth? If so, could you articulate them including solutions that are investment friendly? What are those issues? Would you be amenable to changing the casino law so the NMI allows for two licenses to secure temporary cushion to its needs beyond those of retirees?

In all that may have gone wrong in paradise, I still cling to a single thread of hope—walk alongside our people in search of brighter tomorrows—mind numbing it may be. Hardship we’ve endured (and will continue to do so) has shifted into endurance and resiliency. This has moved into the rough and stormy waters of hope.

We’re now paddling our canoes into the lagoon of common sense and logic. We hope to move out of the harbor of misery up ahead. Hold on firmly and let’s repeat what we did last midterm election when we collectively rebuked a growing dictator and his cronies from office.

As I cast my vision 50 years into the future, I find comfort in the fact that younger, academically competent, and professionally equipped folks are entering the realm of policymaking to recapture what’s ours! These folks deserve the opportunity to shift misery to prosperity. Incumbents have simply lost their true north! No longer do they serve as beacon lights but dimmed useless flashlights.

Across campus at NMC, I see young scholars taking resolute sacrifice in the acquisition of lifetime skills to prepare themselves for the challenges ahead. This group would become fully poised and informed on matters of state. They’d trash shallow provincial politics into the ash heap of history. They offer a new and hopeful beginning over the tired and exhausted bunch struggling for air in their self-made cesspool of appalling disconnection.

The young and educated candidates are out there with realistic perception that this government is bankrupt, demonstrated by the cut of 25 percent of retirees’ pension pay last October. Their view isn’t stuck in ideological or philosophical divide but premised on insightful clarity of understanding that the NMI needs the power of fresh ideas to jerk the needle of growth forward. They also know that financial or economic paralysis has strangled the livelihood of the multitude Marianas-wide. This must change!

The new kids on the block are equipped with real competence. Among incumbents I’m still impressed with Rep. Ralph Yumul. Admirable his thoughtful articulation of issues backed by factual information. The rest have turned into broken lawnmowers at the Marpi landfill! Sorry, this watchdog isn’t a lapdog by any stretch of the imagination.

Statesman vs politician

We only have about three folks who qualify as statesmen. The rest are in the latter category, a dime a dozen since time immemorial and still peddling useless wares. A politician is someone who:

Salutes the flag but sends others to the battlefield in defense of our country.

-Pillage the Retirement Fund and declares, “Eh yeah` no!”

-Cuts pension pay by 25 percent and declares, “I will continue fighting for you!”

-Fails to resolve health insurance that went up by 40 percent then turns mute.

-Fails to reduce power rates but found strange sandwiches in New Zealand.

-Guards the sole casino license law singing, You Are My Sunshine.

-Myopic view of healthcare thus never cared about CHC being underfunded.

-Delivers speeches they can’t write, much less understand and articulate.

-Doesn’t understand the role of real leadership!

-Doesn’t know what’s north. Their usual answer: point north! Non-directional query!

It’s a citizen’s obligation to probe the competence of those running for office. Though you may be a good friend of mine, if you lack the competence then you won’t be getting my vote either. I don’t see why our people’s miseries should be extended in perpetuity just to accommodate incompetence.

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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