Sunday, June 19, 2011

This Explains So Much

There is a story in this morning's Saipan Tribune that subtly explains about half the problems being faced in the Northern Mariana Islands today. The story concerns the investigation into a campaign rally allegedly hosted by the Attorney General in his official capacity and held at the governor's residence:
The governor, in an interview on Friday night, said OPA's report on the investigation it conducted on Buckingham's presence at the gathering indicated that Buckingham violated the law.

But Fitial said Buckingham did not violate any law.

The governor said he need not release the OPA report, released in December.

“Buckingham did not violate any law. The report says that he violated. So I proved that he did not violate,” Fitial said.

When asked by Saipan Tribune how the governor arrived at the conclusion that the AG did not violate any law, the governor responded: “Because there's no law barring what Buckingham did.”

This, he said, was contained in his response to the OPA report.

He said OPA responded back.

“Very, very disrespectful,” Fitial said, when asked about OPA's response.
If I were older or perhaps more politically correct, I would say that this issue is one of island cultural values slamming up against Western ideals. But I'm not old and I have a hard time holding my tongue, so I'd never say that.

In Saipan, people in positions of power often think that their word should carry more weight than the word of law.  This likely comes from the strict father figure image of the traditional Chamorro family.  In Chamorro families, morality and values become defined by giving respect to the father figure.  A good child is one who follows father's strict rules, while a child who beats the drum to his own beat ends up voting Democrat and posting blogs every time someone kills a Napoleon wrasse.

This system of values has been extended to the church, where the priest or the bishop acts like a father to the flock, but also to politics, where political leaders are de facto father figures for the community.

I clearly think that system is horse shit.

And that is not disrespect. That is Freedom.

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