Today my muse is my fellow Irish-Chamorro American, Stanely McGinnis Torres. Thank you, Stanley.
Stanley wrote a letter to the editor published in July 9's Marianas Variety that lists four cures for what ails the Northern Mariana Islands. Stanley believes that the salvation of our islands are to be found in (1) nuclear energy, (2) gambling, (3) drugs (4) and pawning off the remainder of our most cherished natural resources.
Let me address nuclear energy first. Nuclear energy is a controversial topic, even among environmentalists. On the one hand, nuclear energy has no emissions and could slow global climate change, on the other, nuclear energy is responsible for Godzilla, Planet of the Apes, the bad guy from Superman IV and Lindsay Lohan.
According to a United States government website, the smallest nuclear plant in the United States generates 476 MW of electricity. A recent story in the Saipan Tribune quoted Commonwealth Utility Corporation assistant executive director Abe Utu Malae saying that peak load on Saipan was 44 MW. That means that the smallest nuclear plant currently in use would provide enough energy for 11 Saipans. Building a nuclear power plant would be like lighting a forest fire, when all you need to do is light your cigarette. And, no, we can't export the excess electricity to the rest of Micronesia with a really long power cord. The feasibility of that idea has already been shot down.
I will address gambling, drugs and pawning off the remainder of your belongings in one fell swoop. Let's imagine that the Northern Mariana Islands were not an archipelago and government, but instead a person. What kind of person resorts to gambling, drugs and pawning? What stage of life does a person usually resort to gambling, drugs and pawning? I'd venture that such a person is a crackhead one hit away from overdosing.
Can you think of any 10-year old kid that goes around saying that when they grow up, they want to be a crackhead? Of course not! You've hit rock bottom if all you can offer yourself is to sell drugs, gamble your last $20 in hopes of hitting the jackpot or pawning your mom's (stolen) jewelery.
I'm not saying that Stanley Torres is a crackhead, in fact, I'm not even going to finish this sentence.