‘Stop playing demigods’

A demigod is a person so outstanding as to seem to approach the divine but none of our leaders are divine nor is any elected official. Leaders who judge and think that because a person had gotten in trouble before do not deserve to be trusted in government need to take a long look in the mirror because some of them have done something in their past to get in trouble but just never got caught and got a free second chance. There are leaders who have used marijuana and even committed a felony but never got caught and now two want to play like they are so high-and-mighty perfect by pre-judging people. Furthermore, whatever happened to giving a person a real second chance in our society? Why does a convicted felon have to be punished for the remainder of their life as a second-class citizen who can’t be a public servant, can’t have a weapon and other rights? Perfection is not a human trait and to segregate people on the principle of “perfection” is flawed as there have been many people in public office who have committe felonies before and after being elected or appointed. In fact, voters call our politicians criminals all the time and so have you, Ed Propst and Tina Sablan.

Propst and Sablan better believe that it is a far safer bet to elect or appoint someone who has been in trouble and has learned their lesson and stayed out of trouble for 15 years or more than to take a chance on someone who has never been convicted but just didn’t get caught. People who have gotten into trouble and realized they must change are the salt of the earth as they are people we don’t have to worry about anymore. It is those people who never got caught that represent the biggest threat like we have witnessed with public servants going to jail. So Propst and the others who are concerned and want answers about the marijuana bill giving a second chance need to be more human and stop trying to be demigods who only want the appearance of perfection in people. You shouldn’t and can’t judge the entire book (people) by their cover (something in the past, especially when it was over 15 years ago) as people do change.

Propst and Sablan seem to think that everyone involved in the cannabis industry on the board and the director should not have a criminal record. Sadly, those who are against people with a record have been stricken with the same demigod ailment that has infected too many of our leaders on the mainland and in the CNMI. They believe that a person who has gotten into trouble is no longer worthy of being a public servant—a genuine fallacy because we see public servants convicted and sent to jail every year in America and in the CNMI. But people are not bad for life, which is what is being implied!

Sex offenders and behavioral offenders who commit serial crimes are the only criminals that need to be banned from certain activities, requiring them to be monitored and even controlled to some degree for the remainder of their lives. But people who commit other crimes that are not cognitive-related should be given a fair break once they have paid their debt to society and proven themselves over time. In fact, what does it mean to pay your debt to society if society is going to continue to brand and ban you from returning to be a full contributor to society?

FYI, there are many people who grow pot and know about marijuana in the CNMI but many of them have also gotten into trouble before because of their activities. We need these people who are the most knowledgeable of marijuana and the criminology to play major roles in the cannabis industry when it becomes law. Why would we want to alienate the people we need the most? If it’s OK for these people with a record to grow and sell their crops, then why can’t they be a commissioner or the director? Why would we want people who don’t know anything about marijuana to be the major decision makers?

Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman, Saipan

Ambrose M. Bennett

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