Blaming the senators for a raise that was approved by the House of Representatives and the governor is a very shameful and misleading act of blame. I do understand the frustration of those who opposed the increase in funding for the cost of living given our situation but I don’t think they stopped to think about how the cost of living in the CNMI is skyrocketing for all of us. Those who purchase food, pay rent, and buy various products on Saipan know that the costs are continuing to rise for everything, which is something a person living in Portland may not be aware of. The senators needed this raise as the life and cost of living as a senator is far above the needs of a person who don’t have to live and eat in public places but live in their own home and cook their own food, which is especially true for the senators from Rota and Tinian who must for all practical purposes live on Saipan for most of their term. So I must ask, is it truly being realistic to blame senators for getting a raise to offset the continuing rise in the cost of living?
Why wasn’t there a single complaint about the House of Representatives and the governor who approved the raise? We call this kind of blame game behavior as being biased and even prejudiced toward the Senate. Why wasn’t a solution offered to help the senators and the CNMI find more money to fund their raises? I didn’t write this to defend the senators but to simply ask: Is it being realistic to blame senators when others approved and contributed to make the raise a reality? It is easy to find fault and to point the finger of blame but, like I was taught at a very young age, when you are pointing at a person, make sure that you are not pointing three fingers back at yourself. The solution is really philosophical in learning to point with your entire hand (using five fingers with five points of factual justification) that will justify your complaint and not to use a single finger of blame driven solely by frustration or even dislike for a person or group. That is properly known as stereotyping, which is a shameful thing to do.
I’ve even seen some of our leaders calling federal officials names but calling elected officials gangsters and accusing them of not caring is not going to help with a solution. I know from experience as I have called our leaders some of everything and it didn’t change their behavior. But I have learned that helping our leaders to find solutions can be far more productive than public name calling because they are human and many of them will not take kindly to insults and will even act like they didn’t hear you! The senators and everyone on the hill do care, that is why they ran for office in the first place and I will be the first to say that some do care more than others and that some will do more than others. But we can’t play God in judging them as we must leave that kind of judgement to God.
I’m not seeking to get anyone to back down in voicing their concerns about the true waste, fraud, and corruption in the CNMI because name calling is not a solution. But I do think people should be doing more to help with solutions than pointing fingers of blame. A person living in Oregon should know how lucrative it would be for the CNMI to legalize marijuana which could pay for the senators’ increase in the cost of living and pay for a lot of other things that we need. including the restoration of the Retirement Fund. Help the senators promote legalization because there hasn’t been a single whisper of a solution to fund the senators’ increase. The Senate is working to finalize a legalization bill that will have the potential to transform the CNMI and deliver genuine prosperity by doubling and even tripling our budget capacity within a few years so if you want to complain about the senators’ increase, then make sure you support the Senate bill for legalization and you won’t have to complain about a raise. In other words, promote solutions and prosperity and stop shouting blame because it’s the solution we need to experience, not a shameful blame and name calling experience which accomplishes nothing! Learn to be more productive and constructive because the name calling blame game only serves to be destructive!
Ambrose M. Bennett