Nov. 3rd: Marianas holiday?


It’s a daunting task sifting through the maze hoping to understand the “November Surprise” in the recent runoff election. Puzzling, though not surprising, the shift from doing what’s right to surrendering to a miasma of bribery and political chicanery. After 36 years of self-government? Mind-boggling!

And we thought political chicanery only happens in Communist countries where dictators simply suffocate the multitude. Then they step forward and offer the masses something they can’t refuse. Either they follow or they’re dead! It’s a dictatorial tool to bend the will of the people with impunity. Ours is the friendly 10 silvers ($10 million), though no less corrupt in form and substance.

I’m not convinced our people have given up personal dignity for cheap gratis. But it is a case of struggling for survival in the filthy swamp of poverty handed them by their elected officials. It’s an unsolicited and a very humiliating trophy handed down by the elected elite (I refuse to use the term “leadership” for obvious reasons). It’s nonexistent!

Other questions have also popped up: Would the gratis be generously provided annually hailing from the “community chest” of Best Sunshine International or is this a one-time deal? Could we park our utility bills until next November to await another Christmas drop from BSI?

Or do we replicate it by building our own bamboo reed airplane dropping tangan tangan leaves from upstairs (cargo cult mentality) in hopes it magically turn into another 10 silvers?

Sad that despite the best efforts of conscientious citizens to help the multitude on this score the tyranny of corruption was woefully difficult to overcome. Does it matter to them the citizens’ efforts to forge a sure-footed collective future?

Is the wholesale of integrity the new way of electing public officials now? Is corruption the indigenous definition of self-government? Whatever happened to integrity or personal dignity?

Definitely the massive miscalculation is fodder for serious sniffing and eventual disposition by appropriate authorities or coffee shop talk for many moons to come. It’s the corrupt exploitation of the innocent for pecuniary gain!

Perhaps we need to work harder resetting our buttons to force integrity into the cranium of the elected elite. Must insist on vision and leadership the requisite traits in fostering stronger governance under a government of laws.

The adolescent view that victorious “biba” defines leadership is completely misplaced. We must do better so we jolt the sleepy heads upstairs from falling asleep on the switchboard once more. Otherwise, declare Nov. 3rd another holiday in infamy!

Lack of information

It isn’t surprising the lack of citizenry’s understanding of national events or the history of our country and provincial issues.

Fox News interviewed folks (Watter’s World) about the performance of the man in the White House. A guy quickly said he’s doing an excellent job. Asked who’s in the WH. He doesn’t know. And he renders an ill-informed view?

Another was asked who’s in the WH. He looks confused but chanced, “Nixon?” The guy must be from the most backward side of the Appalachian mountain! Nixon died years ago. Subsequently, there were other presidents before Mr. “Teleprompter.”

On the islands, it isn’t surprising either that most folks don’t know the basic issues under the Covenant agreement or the concept of separation of powers we’re supposed to have learned in high school civic courses. This setback is also pandemic across the country. So we’re not alone.

Essence of culture

Self-righteous proponents of indigenous rights have use “culture” as a perfect backstop when pushing its scatter shot agenda. Curious, I asked some why support Article 12. The quick answer is “culture.” I’d press further and the answer reverberates in nervous laughter as they circle the flagpole, searching embarrassingly for answers.

Apparently, folks use the term culture as a mouthwash just to sound hip. An understanding of it is missing by oceans apart. And I was like, “And you’re mouthing off culture you can’t even define?” Is it really about culture? Or isn’t it more about “natural rights”?

I know my culture. I’ve lived it and still do to this day. It’s that sturdy canoe that has weathered huge storms at sea. It stays the course and plows ahead into another bright new dawn. It is the canoe that has provided edification or the means and a way of life for our people since time immemorial.

But landownership remains individually owned up until 1978, violating my rights on personal property! Government owns our land under Article 12. Did you know this?

Get closer to home

In posh hotel conference rooms, well-intentioned folks discuss serious issues like health, domestic violence, heinous crimes, and child molestation, among others.

I am sure these discussions bring about efforts to forge a stronger group and approaches to fostering better health, respect among family members and community, etc.

But aren’t these meetings best held in the villages so the group engages the very people it seeks to help? A little effort down this path should gradually bring the appropriate clientele to the table so we also hear from their concerns.

For instance, if you wish to help them understand the importance of eating right, the obvious question is whether they are equipped financially to buy the right food? At the village level on a one-on-basis is the perfect venue to hear the whispers of the poor who are, e.g., seriously afflicted with diabetes, etc. Within the four walls of posh hotel conference room you only hear yourself!

I venture saying this given the fact that this scribe grew up in a very poor home. I’ve got my pride and won’t share issues with any Tom, Dick and Harry. But I’ll step forward and talk to you at a venue where we both could stand shoulder-to-shoulder and confide my problems and concerns. In other words, try to see it through the prism of your clientele.

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.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.