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Editorials 2018-November-09

Stay out of the kitchen

SOME people have complained about the “divisive tone” of election-year politics. This is like hearing someone grumbling about the heat in the kitchen.

Politics is divisive which is why people form opposing political groups, and regular elections are held. Unanimity is for ants.

Of course we all hope for a civil and level-headed discussions of the issues. Everyone, moreover, deplores negative campaigning. But as Dan Amira wrote back in 2012, years before Trump’s political ascendancy, “every presidential campaign is the meanest, nastiest, dirtiest ever.” In one particular presidential election year, Jim Mandelaro-Rochester wrote in 2016, there were “charges of sexual misconduct, corruption, and greed. One candidate was labeled a criminal, the other a coward. Personal attacks came on a daily basis.”  The year was 1800. The candidates were Thomas Jefferson, who was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine and “one of the most detestable of mankind”; and John Adams, who was labeled a fool, a hypocrite and a tyrant with a “hideous hermaphroditical character.”

In the NMI, as in any other democracy, gubernatorial elections have always been contentious if not boisterous, but back in the day, candidates and their supporters had to place advertisements in the newspaper or on cable TV/radio to “attack” their opponents. Such ads, moreover, must conform to certain standards of propriety. Today, negative attacks — the shriller the better — can be posted online for free, and they can be “shared” hundreds if not thousands of times in a matter of minutes.

We cannot put the internet/social media genie back in the bottle. But voters can choose to ignore it, at least during an election year.

In praise of CUC

LIKE Soudelor, Typhoon Yutu has reminded us once again that the most crucial government agency on island is CUC. Many if not most government agencies can shut down for a year or two, and no one would notice as long as their officials and employees get paid. But without power and water, health centers would not be able to fully operate. Many schools would remain closed. Public safety would be compromised. And this is just the public sector we’re talking about. The impact on businesses, households and the economy itself would be just as massive.

Like all of us, CUC officials and personnel were also affected by Yutu. But they’re out there, still performing their tasks which have now increased. CUC, moreover, is regularly updating the public about the ongoing restoration efforts.

With the help of federal partners and the CNMI government, CUC is slowly but surely restoring utility services one area at a time.

Thank you CUC.