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OPINION | Envy has taken root in our community

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IT is very disheartening that envy has taken root in our community. It is becoming a disease that if left untreated, we will become an antagonist society fueled by animosity.

I cannot imagine living in a community that thrives on hate. Just thinking about it scares me. We are witnessing a trend within our community that is replicating the craziness that are occurring throughout the mainland and in other parts of the world. It is becoming as infectious as a virus.

When the Torres Brothers returned home after many years of being away, they were, in some respect changed, but in many ways remain the same persons they were when they left home.

Changed, in the sense that they came back vibrant, well-educated, with much eagerness to contribute back to our community. They re-established themselves and with hard work, they earned their share of success and have been prominent members of our community.

While building themselves confidently, through hard work, making a name for themselves, they remain the same people that I have always known them to be since my childhood. They distinguished themselves with decency, humbleness, respectful, giving, and a loving family personified by the affection they have for each other that they publicly share. This is something that we don’t see enough in our community.

As we all may recall, the Torres Brothers were the talk of the Commonwealth for many years since they returned home. People across our island community talk about them with a sense of pride. I personally heard those conversations too many times at social gatherings, in homes, and in public offices, on Saipan, Tinian and Rota. I heard the same conversations among members of our community living abroad. But. I also heard envious comments expressed.

And then there came Ralph entering the political arena. He has been remarkably successful, etching his footprints of “many firsts” in the entire history of the Commonwealth. Those were a result of his hard work, dedication and the sincere desire to advance the Commonwealth forward where it matters the most — improving the quality of life of our people. The fruits of his labor and his love for his community is evident with all the progress the Commonwealth experienced in the last few years.

He took the bull by the horn to re-write our history with a narrative that moves the Commonwealth in a direction where we no longer just hope for. The strength of our islands community today has never been as resilient. Governor Torres continues to seek sustainable opportunities to build upon our resiliency to enable the Commonwealth to navigate through the complexities of both, internal and external factors, that disrupt our fragile economy and our standard of living while seeking out other options to provide for sustainable economic growth.

There is no need to restate the accomplishments he has achieved. We all know what those are and indeed, a tale to be told for many generations. A story to be proud of.

Sensible people can appreciate how far we have come. It is very unfortunate that all the hard work of the Governor to build upon the progress and the resiliency of our Commonwealth comes with a price — unwarranted assaults riddled with misguided information that are being plastered all over social media by those who simply cannot fathom the fact that the Governor’s footprints are headway in the Commonwealth’s history.

The crusade against the Governor and his family did not just happen. The propaganda started years ago leading up to the last election cycle. Concerted efforts fueled with so much energy to defeat the Governor. Lies, allegations, witch-hunting, distortion of information to mislead, defamation of character, attacks against his families, and condemnations on cabinet members, government employees and supporters who publicly make known of their support for the Governor’s continuity in office. People were insulted with distasteful language and labeled as corrupted cronies.

It is very unfortunate that some simply cannot accept the election results. The outcome should not be a painful defeat to anyone. We have the inherent right to elect individuals of our own choosing and the outcome, regardless of who wins, is a result of democracy that is beautifully alive in our community.

We had hoped that post-election, we would come together as one community to continue the movement in advancing the Commonwealth forward. Sadly, it is not the case. While I recognize that there are those who simply cannot accept defeat, the depth of viciousness as characterized by the vigorous efforts to destroy the Governor and his entire family is not only appalling but so horrible in every sense of the word. I cannot even begin to imagine the level of anguish and bitterness behind such drive to remove the Governor from office, harming his entire family, and subjecting them to character assassinations and assaults.

On the other hand, it is saddening that we are allowing external interference to influence our perceptions despite the misrepresentation of documents and distortion of information to mislead. To the extent that we ourselves are encouraging outsiders to assault our own people. Why is that? Why are we allowing those who never live here, who has done absolutely nothing to better our lives, who doesn’t know anything about us, about our islands, about our struggles, and about our growth to attack our own people? When members of our community are succeeding in life we can guarantee that someone will cry foul. Yet, celebrations and praises consume social media networks and table conversations for those outsiders who do not care about our livelihood. We rally behind people who are out to divide us, destroy our economy, frustrate every opportunity we have to be self-sustaining. Only to leave us behind broken while they sit back laughing and watch with pleasure as we struggle to start all over again. Is this the story that we want and to be proud about?

Vince, Jack and Vic: I have known you, Auntie Bibang and your family since our childhood. For those of us who know where you came from, of your upbringing, and the kind of people that you are, we remain. Auntie Bibang has always been very giving of herself to those she crosses path with especially to her students even after many years beyond leaving her classroom. She does not let go. The constant advice to always do good for others and sharing her wisdom from life’s lessons are a wealth of her graciousness, generosity and care. Auntie Bibang and your family has always had our full support. We remain. I hope that she is isolated from the ugliness being thrown out there because she doesn't deserve it.

Governor Torres, in all the years that I have known you, to include the years as a staffer in the Legislative Branch while you were serving in the House and the Senate, and now under your governorship for three years, there was never a time that I questioned your integrity. The interest of the people’s welfare is always at the forefront of your agenda. The work that you do and the sacrifice that you make to achieve your vision for the Commonwealth and our people is not unnoticed. We are proud of the leader that you are and the progress that you have brought forth for the Commonwealth. Thank you for all that you do for our island community.

We are eager for the madness to settle dust. The looming economic crisis that we are facing as a Commonwealth requires sensible and bold leaders to navigate through such complexities. We are confident that we will overcome these challenges with you continuing despite all the distractions. We believe in you. Keep Governing.

To our Leaders who are leading the divide among our community, please get off the train and work in unison with the rest of our leaders to bring harmony in our community, and to find a way to lessen the hardship that we anticipate from the impact of the health crisis to our economy. This crisis, as in any other crisis, is bigger than any of us. We need all of you to collectively work together with our business community and citizens to help alleviate the sufferings that will come. Please get off the train and be counted.

The writer is a resident of Dandan, Saipan.

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