‘Ai, I don’t know Maria!’

The fresh scent of newly mowed lawn was welcome and a hopeful diversion after a long bout the night before with the humorous sigh of total surrender, “I don’t know Maria!” It was loosely stuck in my subconscious that came roaring back in a nightmare.

How do we deal with sedentary public officials (our collective Maria) nursing obesity, pigging themselves with bone soup, sashaying like 100-year-old turtles long forgotten by civilization? Or do they need us to shield them from the deepening humiliation of apparent obsolescence?

“I don’t know Maria” is a thematic refrain of spiteful though humorous sigh from folks all over who’ve given up the ship. Too, I no longer find it pleasurable listening to seemingly redundant sentiment, given the reality wrapped around it. Would I be able to change it or do I also surrender by following the choir of despondency?

It’s time to format a template (plan) to recapture and rebuild our future even if it means revolting against royal misfits on the hill. I could no longer stand the culprits donning the halo of Do-Nothings, smiling competently in mediocrity. Deafening their lack of moral humility to do what’s right, proactively. Perhaps they relish the assumption that we would acquiesced being sent to the filthy swamp of abject poverty, a crowning achievement.

This brings me to the term “idea.” Ideas are very powerful. Their expressions with perspective could make a powerful difference of night and day. Empty slogans won’t work and are no substitute for ideas. Not only do ideas have consequences, but also only ideas have large and lasting consequences. It may be a slow process but a process you can’t suppress nor derail once it begins its forward motion. Change is a darn good idea for this midterm election.

Leadership requires the undivided conviction of placing the interest of others before yours as public servants. But they have a sterling record of working for themselves. Legislators are getting a $5,000 monthly stipend on top of their regular salaries. No wonder nobody wants to move decisively to do what’s right and not when it may mean loss of stipend, di ba? Have they done anything (Republicans, Covenant and independent Republicans) to revive the local economy in wealth and jobs creation so we could find sufficient funds at least for basic needs?

The myriad of issues that have piled up over the years has rendered our mind hypnagogic as we struggle to understand what went wrong in paradise. The non-resolution of livelihood issues had everyone quizzing if conditions really didn’t prompt timely leadership role and isn’t it apposite that they step forward today after six years of “do-nothing.” Their deafening silence is disturbingly troubling.

I haven’t given up for “this too shall pass” morphing into a bright sunny day after dark. But moving into a bright new day takes our individual and collective effort. We must change the course of history. We no longer could sit idly by as spectators. Let’s recapture our future. Take the proverbial first step. Your vote can make a difference. Nah, we must part with “I don’t know Maria! With hope and steely determination we can do it for posterity.

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Health: A personal responsibility

It’s important that we humbly join hands to resolve the dire need to take health seriously as a personal responsibility. This is prompted by the crisis the local people face with diabetes and heart problems. It’s two of the most debilitating illnesses (lifestyle or genetics) that are fatally costly for both families of patients and the local government.

The fact that money for medical referral has dropped significantly makes it the more important that we come to terms with our personal health. If you will, last fiscal year’s deficit of $25 million is debt largely incurred by the medical referral program. The recent cut in funds is a tale that we have far less for this purpose. It’s also a tale that the local population is very sick. We need to meet the two beasts forthwith.

Yes, I’ve heard folks say we have doctors and the hospital to take care of his/her health issues. This is a very sickly attitude. What’s the use of sending you to an off-island medical center when you have already contracted lung cancer? Will it help your situation as a heart patient meeting a top-notch cardiologist when excessive smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor eating habits have clogged nearly all arteries and destroyed your heart muscles?

Too, there’s the tension that surfaces when a critically ill patient is close to dying. The doctor pushes to save him. His family would likewise. The patient rarely plans on dying. As the collision of tension intensifies, the cost of specialty treatment skyrockets. Dying is the period when medical services are at its highest.

Yes, Medicare may assist defray the medical cost but the length of treatment may also involve other medical specialties that would push expenses astronomically. This could very well occur when after heart surgery the patient contracts what’s known as “sepsis,” a severe infection from a multi-drug resistant deadly bacterium. It would trigger the amputation and removal of limbs that still doesn’t guarantee health recovery. It’s mind numbing both the cost of services and the emotional roller coaster that the family had to endure. I’ve been there twice and it’s no fun at all.

Definitely, the NMI needs to address health and healthcare in sober fashion. In my book, it remains the costliest item on our wish list. I still maintain too that timely public health education programs are the answers to preventing catastrophic illnesses. Health begins with the self. It’s all up to you to forge healthy habits. Like a ship, you’re the captain and only you can navigate your boat safely to port. Take charge!

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Legislative Omission

The Legislature dilly-dallies with two issues it’s struggling to turn into an initiative, both of which simply miss the most fundamentally flawed aspect of Article 12: Denial of full ownership of private land. The approval in reduction of blood quantum or extending the lease period still doesn’t resolve denial of landownership.

Sending people to court to determine genealogy is fodder for comedy. In short, DNA technology isn’t equipped to determine, i.e., how much of your blood is French, German, Chamorro, or Carolinian.

Why the delusional and presumptuous view on a nonexistent technology? It seems a last ditch effort in silent desperation to promote ethnocentricity or indigenous hegemony that is at best racist and discriminatory at worst? When do we outgrow immaturity so we could own up to citizenship responsibility?

The irony in arguments from pro-Article 12 is the “preservation” of so-called indigenous land. Extending the lease provision only prolongs the denial of use of private land among subsequent heirs from 55 to 99 years. All must wait this long before actual use of the family land. It still displaces heirs! So where’s the argument about preservation for use of land by indigenous children when they can’t touch it for 99 long years? It doesn’t add up, does it?

John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

By John S. DelRosario Jr.
Contributing Author

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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