On this Independence Day


Today is Independence Day throughout the country. I read extensively of its founding as a nation in 1787 under a constitution premised on Judeo-Christian principles. The vision of the founding fathers guided its growth for over 200 years until our country became the most powerful and prosperous in the global community of nations.

As we ponder the success of our country, there’s on the flip side the work of liberal progressives the likes of Obama and cronies who quietly work their agenda to turn the country into a socialist or nanny government where everybody lives off the national treasury. But wasn’t the success of our country founded on “rugged individualism?”

This was the conviction of newcomers to the “land of the free” beginning on the first day passing by the Statue of Liberty. Difficult the initial history may be it ended with Pilgrims sitting down on the same dinner table with Native Americans at Thanksgiving for a hearty meal. It was a celebration of an abundant harvest season going into the winter months.

Our ancestors had pioneering qualities in rugged individualism working the farm from pre-dawn past sunset. This quality has since faded into history.

Since the ’50s our elderly wanted something better than the retardant disposition of the old TTG. We finally broke off and established a permanent relationship with what’s now our national government. While mulling the benefits and success of “rugged individualism” there’s also the factual generosity of our national government, e.g., helping the NMI recover after superstorm Soudelor and other federal assistance including Medicaid, food stamps and housing.

On our own, we’re as good as sunken WWII tanks sticking out of the water in the lagoon. Difficult the challenges of instituting strong governance at least we’ve taken steps in recent past to oust corrupt officials. The task is far from over. And it takes our direct participation to free ourselves from ourselves. It simply means ousting the corrupt bunch from public office. It includes holding them accountable for their actions to the hilt!

I’ve started out this path already. Eradicating corruption is difficult but at least we’ve taken the first step to remind public officials that public funds in the local treasury is disposed by a set of laws not jungle rules. Discouraging though the lack of perception on “Issues That Matter” so prevalent among the elected elite here. Imagine our future placed at their feet!

Special tribute: As I ponder the essence of this day, I wish to offer a special tribute to my late grandfather Elias P. Sablan for enduring what could have been a fatal imprisonment before the war. The Japanese jailed him because he knew English he learned from books his uncle brought from the East Coast as a sailor on a whaling ship. Tata was a natural linguist.

I couldn’t imagine the heightened fear of his fate where the Japanese could have easily beheaded him. I’d say he paid for my freedom long before I was born! With a sense of humility I hum a patriotic tune for grandpa, “America The Beautiful” which says in part, “O` beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years, thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears, America…God shed his grace on thee, till nobler men keep once again, thy whiter jubilee.” Let the bells of freedom ring “from sea to shining sea!” Si Yuus Maase` Tata!

Covenant: The reunification issue has surfaced with the view to lumping Guam and the NMI under a single entity conjured on alleged “cultural” similarities. Culture?

Some have claimed the Covenant Agreement is shortsighted but then do we accept your adolescent view as visionary not? Take a look at the basis of its overwhelming approval in the seventies. It didn’t spin out of thin air. It has its own legitimate history. Please revisit USPL 94-241 for guidance that includes mutual consent.

Indeed, there are issues that seem missing. But the greater question is why? Isn’t it true that the NMI was under colonial rule for over 400 years? So where in the span of command and control by foreign powers did the indigenous people had the opportunity for self-rule?

If we’ve had a history of self-rule, it stands to reason that we would have dealt with such matters as territorial sea, disposition of 200-mile EEZ, including reaping the benefits of sea and seabed resources and trade. We never did other than to follow orders from colonial rulers!

The issue of decolonization is one humongous undertaking that begins with the complete use of the indigenous language from daily conversations to books in math and other instructional materials. Ready for the task at hand?

Militarization: Having seen the human devastation of the atomic bomb in Bikini, Rongelap, and Utirik in the Marshalls in 1974 hardened my resolve against the use of huge detonations anywhere nearby. It was an experiment placing might over rights.

I saw what the people had to endure including the annual check-up of their health by a team from the Atomic Energy Commission. Imagine the ruination of their health for life!

Returning to Kwajalein, I sat on the beach talking to members of the team into the wee hours of the morning. I had to rely on divine providence for spiritual guidance helpless in my struggle to understand the wrong I’ve just seen in the outlying islands.

It brought me home to military plans on Tinian and the residual rights of the people to be heard on the use of their island and Pagan against bombing practices. Enough with Farallon De Mendenilla! Negotiations would have to focus on thoughtful and mutually beneficial partnership.

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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