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OPINION | Epitaph 106: The day after Covid-19

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IF we can spend a lifetime preparing for the Day After our death then certainly, we can and should put some time and effort into the Day After Covid-19. My previous Epitaph 105 gave rise to the need to extend the topic on “what we do today will determine what our tomorrow will be” because tomorrow IS ours to soar or to continue floundering in this GOP Sea of _ ? Just laugh and give the Sea your own name just to keep from crying during these troubling times. But I’m not only talking about our Local GOP but the National GOP too as too much poli–tricking is taking place at the Federal and our Local level.

While I’m sure this virus has the focus of us all I thought it might be interesting to consider what the Day After will be like as I’m sure the entire world will forever be changed and even improved to some degree if we learn our lessons — it’s called human evolution. Just as animals learn the do & don’t and babies learn them too, our learning is actually life-long for humans. We are seeing and learning from this virus just how “fragile” life for human’s is on planet earth even though this lesson was taught 100 years ago, it was forgotten and just like in the classroom nature “re-teaches” us something that we should have mastered in the last century which was “to always be ready to STOP biological threats in their tracks.”

So far, we have done a pretty good job of evolving even though the Ancient Astronaut Theory says “we got help.” None the less being a retired educator, I know how important it is for society and especially our leaders and future leaders to really LEARN the lessons of today that will be our history tomorrow. But we can only make our future and history BETTER if we learn our lessons taught to us TODAY! Leaning the valuable lessons about this virus pandemic that many have given their lives fighting to defeat is actually the responsibility of all mankind because its like we say in an old Negro Spiritual “Don’t let their dying be in vain” so we have a REAL obligation and MUST come out of this BETTER than we entered for posterity (the future). With that said, there is reason to pause and consider using hindsight and foresight on what would or should the day after be like for life in the CNMI and even our nation.

The Day After Future Preparedness — a lesson to be learned! A new day with new beginnings is literally at the end of this Black Swan Event and how it will look can really depend upon what we do today. I already mentioned the need for us to evolve to the level of having a “Permanent Emergency Management Team” mainly because there is NO ROOM for politics or should I say poli-tricking when we are hit by a catastrophe as the leadership needs to be driven by the Experts & Scientist FOR the Executive to coordinate and carry out their recommendations. This is clearly a lesson ALL Americans should have learned by now to evolve because it is clear even at the Federal Level that politics is taking lead over scientists. WE the People need a Permanent National Emergency Management Team led by FEMA, CDC, Health & Human Services and other major stakeholders in our nation’s social and economic health. The scientists and #45 (Trump) are even at odds because scientists will tell our leaders “what they DON’T want to hear” and they are RIGHT!

Taskforces are “unplanned Political RESPONSES” to a catastrophe but a Permanent Emergency Management Team “will be Experts and Scientists who will ALREADY have a PLAN for implementation BEFORE the catastrophes” so readers, which of these will always have the BETTER outcomes because it’s really common sense. But the question is WHO and WHEN will we demonstrate that we have learned the lesson I learned as a Boy Scout as our motto is to ALWAYS “BE PREPARED” the next time we are hit with any major catastrophes be it virus, typhoons or whatever and stop making-up Political Taskforces. Get the experts and scientists in the forefront of our catastrophic leadership because if we don’t learn this lesson, we are literally DOOMED to keep making the same POLITICAL mistakes — for TRUE!

The Day After for PSS: For sure our Public School System will have or should have LEARNED their lesson about dealing with a Government that is not accountable to its fiduciary duties to “respect the autonomy and laws regarding funding.” The GOP has proven that PSS can only hold the Government accountable by asking the Judiciary Branch for help as PSS has ALWAYS had the Law on their side. But what will it look like for PSS, teachers and students the day after? I do know that BOE needs to nail-down once and for ALL about PSS/BOE being autonomous when it comes to the Governor manipulating their budget. It is my belief that PSS should ONLY make “VOLUNTARY CUTS” to their budget to help out in an emergency, not the Governor or there is really no rational for them being TOTALLY autonomous. Will it be back to the same old routines or will there be a level of change with improvements from the lessons taught by this pandemic? With that said, I would like to believe the school system will get BETTER because educators KNOW how important it is to LEARN the lessons taught to us by history to prevent us from being DOOMED to make the same mistakes.

I will leave it up to the many great educated minds at PSS/BOE to come up with the lessons learned and the improvements needed but I would like to offer and “old suggestion to a new challenge” for teachers and students: Back when the Public School System got ALL students computers, I was actively trying to set up some kind of program so all students would have internet at home that would be connected to a PSS Server. The biggest challenge was there was no “technical infrastructure & support” for “accountability” thus the idea fell by the way-side and I just gave up. But this pandemic has given new rise to the idea of Home Base Learning especially when technology has taken leaps and bounds over the decade or more when I was trying to implement a form of Home Base Learning” for students to use their computers.

Well, today things have changed and I’m sure if PSS is willing to tackle the challenges that a program of this nature can and should be implemented, as it will even be beneficial in dealing with future typhoons that cause school closings and don’t forget meteorologist are already predicting a continuation of super typhoons like we have seen recently. I will be talking with Dr. Ada about this in more detail but I just thought that it was important to remind educators to bring their “A-game” on the Day After to make SURE PSS/BOE are in a better place academically for these kinds of Black Swan Events and in controlling the finances of our Autonomous Public School System.

The Day After for our Economy — lessons learned: For sure this Black Swan event exposed our “economic weaknesses” especially our OVER dependency upon China. WE or should I say our leaders should have LEARNED the FIRST rule in creating an economy which is AVOID One Crop Economies at all cost which is something I previously explained. The economy of the CNMI should have as broad of a base as possible with industries and exporting in order to deal with shortcomings in other aspects of an economy. But the CNMI is actually around 60 to 80 percent dependent upon China now so most of our eggs are literally in China’s basket — the Sell-Out that I also previously wrote about. So, the question is: What will our economy begin to look like in the Days After this pandemic?

There was a lot of fuss about the number of tests when it seems no one was thinking about the Days After Covid-19. If the CNMI can establish full containment with test for everyone entering the CNMI and our community is totally FREE of the virus these tests will be a “game-changer” for restarting our economy. Having a virus free CNMI with the ability to test everyone entering will guarantee citizens’ safety and tourists a “safe vacation and even get-away” in the Days After. But we (our leaders) have to do the work to set the CNMI up for success in the Days After and we all know that “a failure to plan is a plan for failure.” I hope this reminder will help our leaders to start thinking about the Day After because it really feels like I’m “casting pearls to swine” so we will just have to wait and see what our economy will be like in the Days After. To be continued: One People One Direction for evolving to be BETTER after this Black Swan Event.

The writer is a resident of Kagman, Saipan.

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