Elections: Its beastly nature


Whatever mood swing you’re in, e.g., celebratory, antsy from the sad reversal of political fortunes, or despondent, it’s the nature of the beast—there’s only one victor—the rest of whom take empty benches in the back of the room.

The coveted four-way contest is indecisive and it boils down to a runoff in two weeks between former House speaker Heinz Hofschneider and incumbent Republican governor Eulogio S. Inos. The former could easily come out ahead if he could craft a deal with the two camps—Babauta and Guerrero—both victims of this administration. It’s an easy win of over a thousand votes!

One enters the fray loaded with mullah, the other his gravitas. The latter isn’t singing any “sunshine” tune but has set his eyes on leading the CNMI to a hopeful break of morn.

The CNMI wading in the swamp of fiscal crisis needs major resuscitation known as “anchor” investments.

The woefully anemic economy started more than two decades ago, initially derailed by loss of immigration control. It simply annihilated the local economy. It was a boon for labor unions in California while completely destroying the local economy.

This triggered the exit of the $2.1 billion apparel industry. Close behind was the exodus of other key players in private industries that used their luggage as their head and feet. Their slow exodus left behind a near-complete ghost town.

The combined exodus forced the CNMI into a new height in mea culpa and genuflection in perpetuity unto itself. What perfect zoo to see how labor unions in California could easily send fragile economies into the abyss of destruction, a heartless agenda that shows what mindlessness could inflict against our livelihood out here. It turns into a fiscal monstrosity that has adversely affected everyone. Could we reboot investment and lure “anchor” economic ventures?

The CNMI has its work cut out, especially on the listless economy. Leadership must reset its button realistically too. The journey on this issue is arduous and lengthy. There’s no room for a honeymoon either.

Laying my pencil down
Sonia Ricotti, author and motivational speaker, said of leaving: “Surrender what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.” Slowly, I would leave the intellectual playground of my mind as sunset dims across the sea of these beautiful isles.

It’s time to finalize my scripts on books I’m scribbling in the vernacular and a brief one on indigenous rights mirrored against self-government before I lay down my pen. My visits to this part of the paper would be occasional. I mean, how true that once you taste ink it’s embedded in your bloodstream forever.

Well, several of my kids are recipients of my DNA in both music and rhetoric and are flexing their muscles. Each is college-educated, seasoned in researching their materials. Their discourses would be founded on “educated” discussions. Indeed, I look forward to putting down my pen at the end of next year. It’s time to surrender to younger minds.

Sailing self-government
It is a given that the concept of a democracy, specifically self-government, entails a long, slow process. There’s a stark difference in its essence—what we’ve learned in civic courses—versus our perception of what must we do in the actual exercise of self-government.

For instance, we’ve learned (or thought we did) why our government must spend within its means. Getting rid of deficit is even provided for under our Constitution. Yet we avoid understanding and accepting our roles to ensure that our government doesn’t engage in overspending. Is it not true that it is the taxes that we pay that fund government operations? Why do we accept wasteful spending with blind servility?

This deficiency, specifically lack of civic understanding of government, is pandemic and it’s all over the country. Having talked to a good number of people here, most don’t know their basic documents, e.g., the Covenant agreement or the NMI Constitution.

Be it here or across the country, there’s a dire need to reintroduce and strengthen civic courses to help students understand the foundation of our democratic republic. Beyond basic courses there’s a need to encourage students to read up on current national and global matters. You see, technology has shrunk the global village down to clicks on iPhones or laptops.

I ventured raising this issue so that we could begin organizing issues of substance vital for the indigenous people to come to terms with moving into the future. Disoriented discussions must cease forthwith.

If I may engage in some bantering: Covenant Section 902 offers the best way forward in terms of cultural and economic assistance from economies of scale nearby. We could have sought the help of the U.S. Department of State on this score.

But we opted to ignore it and even dropped the ball while reining in a non-voting delegate at the U.S. Congress. I’m not sure that we’ve made major strides in self-government when the D.C. non-voting delegate doesn’t vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In committees, his vote is relegated to one that “counts when it doesn’t count and doesn’t count when it counts.” And so our non-voting delegate is basically a bench warmer, true?

Section 805 pertains to land alienation—limiting landownership to the indigenous people—a provision that is a part of the “agreement.” There are those who say this is “discriminatory” and even dare venture voting on an issue that excludes them from any rights to landownership.

Discriminatory? How do you explain Uncle Sam giving Native Americans complete ownership and control of their land? I mean, it doesn’t take much to deduce that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. Sayu?

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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