DIVISIVE: producing, or attempting to produce, disagreement, tension, or hostility between two or more groups
DEFLECT: to direct criticism, blame, or responsibility away from oneself towards others
SCAPEGOAT: to blame someone else or a group of people for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.
GASLIGHT: to manipulate someone or a group of people into questioning their own sanity
Dear friends: Much has been said about the governor’s letter to retirees, issued Sunday night. How divisive it is. How it deflects his own responsibility. How it scapegoats the teachers, staff, and leadership of the Public School System and gaslights retirees (and really, our whole community).
I am thankful that it seems most people see right through the governor’s letter, and are calling it BS.
But here’s what the governor’s letter fails to fully and honestly confront head on: the economic and fiscal disaster we are facing is real. Our government’s finances are a mess. They were a mess before COVID-19, and they are definitely a big mess now. We have to own it. We have to be completely honest about it. And we have to make hard decisions.
The crisis we face is so much bigger than the governor. It’s bigger than any one person’s politics or ego. We have been through disasters before, and we know that to survive, to get to the other side of crisis and begin the work of rebuilding our lives, we have to pull together. We can’t afford to be baited into attacking each other, or descending into false choices like taking care of our elderly versus educating our young.
We are better than that.
Sometimes, your elected leaders will fall short. Sometimes they will make mistakes. Sometimes they will forget who they serve and they will say or do straight-up stupid things that divide, or deflect, or scapegoat, or gaslight.
You will have to remind them: We are better than that. We are so much better than that. And we have a lot of work to do.
May God bless the people of the Northern Marianas.
Rep. Tina Sablan (Precinct 2)
CNMI Legislature, Capital Hill