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OPINION | Epitaph of CNMI Democracy (16): Cultural conflict, Part 1

I CAN remember writing about the “cultural conflict with our politics” over a decade ago but like in the classroom sometimes teachers have to “re-teach” especially to those in the cheap seats in the back of the class who were NOT paying attention figuratively and literally.

The cultures of the CNMI both Chamorro and Carolinians are driven to a very high degree by RESPECT and FEAR which is especially true for our elders and leaders, but it’s our political leaders who abuse and misuse their title & power. One does not speak ill of these people in these cultures but just “suck-it-up” and be quiet. However, that is a “direct conflict” with the expectations of American Politics which is: “to be outspoken when holding Government Officials Accountable, to Protest when they don’t listen, and to EXPOSE these officials for whom they really are” — that’s what I’m doing. It is not a pretty picture but neither was the American Revolution that got us out from under the oppressive and unfair Governing by the English, the Civil War that begin the destruction of slavery and racism in America, the Civil Rights Movement that brought about more Equality in America. I could go on and on with issues in America that were not so pretty and to try and address these very serious issues like our dying Democracy with “kid-gloves & sugar coating” would have never worked! The institutional changes we need are DRIVEN by “wrong & ugly things” so don’t expect pretty.

Change in America is more often than not driven by PROTEST(s) but the culture of the CNMI actually goes against PROTESTING — for TRUE! I can almost count the number of real protests in the CNMI over the past two decades on ONE hand and it is no surprise these protests save “one” have been about Cultural issues and not necessarily about our politics and politicians. Again, the main reason there has been an absence of Protests against our Government is because there was NO Democratic Party on the other side of the isle to lead a protest against the GOP. We have been handicapped for 21 years and still no Protests against the GOP. Heck, almost every reader KNOWS that when Governor Inos passed away that we should have seen NEW Elections but not so much as a whisper of complaints from the People and our Independents didn’t do a darn thing either. Personally, I’m disappointed that our AG didn’t do MORE to explain WHY he let the Governor get away with not having a new election as it might have been legal but it certainly wasn’t proper given there was really almost four years on his term left. But that’s water under the bridge now, however, it proves the People of the CNMI need to do MORE Protesting if they truly want to take Control of the Government as the Government really controls us — making us consume Austerity without a fuss.

Some might say that protesting and calling it like you see it could be construed as “demonizing one that you don’t agree with” but if it is the TRUTH then its not demonizing but simply TELLING the TRUTH. We all know that the truth can sometimes be a very UGLY thing but to ignore and even suppress the truth is even worse as it borders on being “negligent and even evil.” I am not one to sugar-coat the truth and I don’t see any of the GOP as being demons but there is certainly a lot of “wrong and evil” things that have transpired by the GOP and it only happened because there was NO real Protest to what they were doing. I said before, We the People can’t sit back and hope and pray for four years like we have done for the past 21years with the GOP but we have to take Control of our Government to make SURE it does what We the People want and that can only be done if We the People have BOTH sides of the isle covered with Republicans and Democrats. We the People and our leaders are HUMAN and none of us are without fault which is why our founding fathers designed a “self-checking system” that does NOT work in the CNMI from the lack of a two-party system. Our political system is BROKEN and its evident to anyone who really knows how our Political System is supposed to work.

I saw the old school Political Play by someone publishing a letter last week on “Demonizing” from a teacher on the mainland ha ha. But it won’t work with me because I am telling the TRUTH and that will set me FREE of any Demonizing allegation. Culture and American Politics are entirely two different animals but somehow in the CNMI they have mated to create a real Political Nightmare with a GOP Dragon — just kidding about the Dragon. But demonizing the GOP would be telling outright-lies but I’m not doing that as I have and will continue to tell the TRUTH as the TRUTH is what will set the People FREE of a “dysfunctional government.” In fact, I have been one of the biggest victims of demonizing by the Political Emissaries of Politicians with letters attacking my character entitled Ambrose Bennett for promoting whom I thought would be a better candidate it’s on the record and I’m sure many readers can attest to this FACT of RETALIATION that the culture dictates! Protesting and complaining about true real acts of officials and events is the “AMERICAN WAY of Politics,” not demonizing. One only needs to see what our-fathers-in-Washington are always doing in holding our President(s) & Parties Accountable. So try an American Politics Method and Protest and hold our Governor accountable!!!

The culture of the CNMI dictates the New Group formed to protect the MPLT Money is already “stymied” because there is no real consideration to PROTEST what the Governor is doing. This new group should be organizing ALL the NMDs to establish a UNIFIED voice as “ONE PEOPLE” to stop the Loan if they learned anything from what happened to the Retirement Fund. I will repeat or should I say re-teach the lesson shared by the History Channel: “if we don’t learn the lessons taught to us by history, we are DOOMED to repeat the SAME mistake(s)” — for TRUE which is what is about to happen with the MPLT Loan.

This new group should be protesting and promoting: 1. The denial of the Loan as our Governor can’t be trusted when he KNEW we would be facing austerity when he made his Commonwealth Address making it a whole LIE and we KNOW the Government does NOT pay its bills to its people until FORCED by the Feds — a lesson we should have learned from history with the Fund. 2. The group should be protesting for the Law(s) to be changed so that MPLT will be run by “ELECTED OFFICIALS” to root-out the Political Appointees who really work for the Administration as we see our Governor is constantly putting HIS people in these high places on Boards — entirely toooo much Political manipulation going on. Didn’t we learn anything from the brief history of what happened to the NMDs Mariana Resort? 3. The group should be protesting for the MPLT Funds to be used for “DIRECT SUPPORT and ASSISSTANCE to NMDs” not loans to the Government and doing the Governor’s bidding. There are other things related to MPLT that need to be protested about but I hope NMDs get the message that they must TAKE CONTROL of the situation and truly be the MASTERS of their FATE at MPLT — get the Politicians out of Social Entities.

One of the main ways the GOP has maintained POWER & CONTROL being the ONLY Party in the CNMI is because they have been making ALL the Political Appointments for the past 21years so they are well-dug-in and in complete control to MANIPULATE all the Agencies and the many families tied to these agencies and appointees. It will for sure be a real up-hill battle to UNDO all the wrong DOING that has been done by the GOP over the past 21 years and it will take a United Effort by the People and their Party of CHOICE — Biba Democrats! So don’t let culture get in your way anymore voters, especially NMDs, and start protesting and supporting one-another for real Political CHANGE!

Email: ambrosebennett@yahoo.com for the previous opinions on the CNMI’s Democracy. One people, one direction for CHANGE!

The writer is a resident of Kagman, Saipan.