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Editorials | What’s old is new again

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Questions for new candidates

A problem without a solution isn’t a problem, it’s simply a fact. This is the nature of politics generally…. — Jonah Goldberg

IN every election year, there will always be concerned and educated citizens who “want to make a difference” by seeking political office. Then and now they will be asked by the media and voters questions such as, “What is your platform?” or “How will you solve the islands’ problems?” As if governing and/or legislating are academic pursuits like written and oral tests for which you must provide the “right answers.”

Not a lot of voters will remember (or care) that in the previous election years, every single candidate promised every single good thing that he or she could possibly promise. And yet in this election year, many voters are either still unhappy or even unhappier. Many voters will, again, cast their votes for whoever is for change or progress. Many will vote, again, for “new faces,” the “highly educated,” those with “integrity.”

We hope, however, that some voters will also ask the new candidates for office the following questions:

  • Do you know what you’re getting into? Do you know what elected officials actually do every day? Are you familiar with the state of the government’s finances — the government’s obligations and liabilities current and future? These include the Settlement Fund and bond payments, utilities, public health, medical referrals, public education, the community college, scholarships, public safety, the courts, public works, homesteads, land compensation, etc. etc. Do you know how the government funds all of them? Do you know where the money comes from, how is it spent, who makes those decisions, and how are those decisions made?
  • Why do you think your ideas are new and have never been proposed and/or tried before? Are you familiar with what previous and current elected officials have done or are doing to address these issues? What makes your proposals different? Do you know that some laws have never been implemented or could not be implemented? And that many of those implemented produced consequences that are the opposite of the proponents’ intent?
  • Do you know what the “people” want? Are you aware that in politics, there is no such thing as “the people,” and that real people are individual government employees, retirees, businesspersons, private sector employees, people on welfare, etc. — and not all of them agree on many things, if at all?
  • Do you know that politics will make you say things you don’t believe in, and do things you wish you didn’t have to?

 

Presidential straw poll

GUAM has been conducting a presidential straw poll since 1980 so why can’t the CNMI do it too?  Local lawmakers should find out how to get it done, and then pass the necessary legislation. It should not result in any additional cost.  (Here’s a sample ballot for Tamuning, Guam voters: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KLzqz__XramtlvCxyo2XYInr4Ir6Bkyx/view)

Of course, many voters in the CNMI and other territories would rather have a “real voice” in their nation’s presidential elections; but for now, a non-binding straw poll should, at the very least, allow Commonwealth voters to express their presidential choice. This is also something that the U.S. media might consider newsworthy, thus raising national awareness about the existence of thousands of American citizens who live and reside in U.S. territories.

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