The Fourth


There is nothing more sacred in the minds of Americans than the Fourth of July, being one of the intentionally political decisions the Union undertook in its history.

The Marianas has one American Memorial Park to showcase the design of a military occupation largely at the command of the Pentagon. We are told that Tinian and Saipan were 70 and 25 percent leased respectively for 99 years, and now in “Covenant” with the Union, understood in its legal definition in the West, but taken as a stance to relate and converse by the Chamorro and Carolinian.

Either way, the fluttering of the red, white, and blue is resplendent in homes, lagoon-side barbecues, and on sidewalk bamboo sticks along the parade route. For some, it is an affirmation of the sovereign position of White Amerika to the rest of the world, and there is brouhaha of the fluid whitener marketed in China with dark skinned African model turning white.

I was reminded of a PCV from the Carolinas bewailing the fact that she was not going to get too many dates while in service in Mindanao at a training in Bicol, and I pointed to a handsome Boston dude of African-American descent. With hands on her waist, she exclaimed: “He ain’t no nigger!”

Marketers of Obama were careful to point out that his father was a visiting student from Kenya, and his mother, a Kansas lass of British descent; born in Hawaii of indeterminate racial purity, he is not an African-American from the U.S. Deep South.

The United States is a work in progress. It is heavily laden with the ethos of new England but the citizens of the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego are hardly lily white, and the culture its people brought to its shores are hardly of the European variety. The corporate and office culture is still heavily Boston-NYC-DC but something about the casual and easy ways of the Orient permeates the Oahu-Alaska-San Diego triangle that has defined the west side of the Rockies save the Mormons of Utah and the ruggedly individualistic mountaineers of Montana.

But clearly, the Fourth of July is no longer confined to the Boston Tea Party, or the Minutemen of Concord. It is the dream of possibility by almost everyone around the world and the nation’s changing demographic will see an expansion to Canada and Mexico southward across the Pecos, the vaunted Wall notwithstanding.

There will be speeches today as the presidential campaign zeroes into the choice between Hillary and The Donald. Americans of the lily white persuasion are predominantly on the Trump side of the equation. But morality and ethics is not the issue (I chose Hillary on this one); reality is. The human biodiversity of the land is both its reality and promise. It is already biodiverse; it just needs to align its time management, space organization, role definition, and story narrative to conform to what is real.

Having recently taught Grade 1 in a public school, I was astounded at the defining quality of selfhood; the darker the skin, the heavier the obligation to conform to the ways of the fairer skin. Status and position was on skin color, and the common putdown is to tell someone that they are dark. This at the front of a potential 16-year journey of formal education.

Most of these are in the mind, which we can manage and control. Folks do operate on images and the same determine behavior. When images change, behavior changes. That we need a broad spectrum to contain various behavior patterns challenge educators to be more intentional with the images they project, the pedagogical call of the hour.

We have other perfunctory holidays, Christmas being the apex of the Chamber of Commerce promo for shopping, from Thanksgiving to Three Kings, but with the increasing non-Christian or former Christian members of the populace, the bright Noel had lost part of its luster.

Thanksgiving Day reminds us of how we treated the Native Americans. Upward mobility through higher education or the armed services is the Marianas limited option. Education graduates often go off island and do not return home, finding significant engagement elsewhere, unless one is stuck with a perfunctory role in a highly stratified structure like PSS.

Veteran’s Services are existential to the Marianas as the percentage of soldiers and veterans per capita is high from those of Micronesia. Flag day is usually mirrored on the Fourth. MLK Day is a nod to our AA citizens, and parents/Mama/Papa/Grannies days are contrived to keep us buying goods we do not need. Keeps the banks happy as credit lines are increased when one misses a minimum payment.

Acknowledgement of minorities extends to the raucous Italians of NYC on Columbus Day, and labor gets its cognition in September.

A country’s legal holidays is a telling mirror of the state of the nation, and right now, the US of A is into protecting its minorities and remembering its veterans; the minutemen with his right to bear arms quietly lurks in the shadows, TY but keep the guns holstered. Happy Fourth.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

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