Friday, February 03, 2012

A Good One From Diego

There is a dearth of Chamorro writers.  We've got a few, especially in the blogosphere (here, here, here, and here).  Most of those wordsmiths tend to be elites -- meaning they have bachelors degrees and watch the Daily Show.  And like most elites, they lean towards one side of the political spectrum.  My side.  The side of hope and change.

By the way, it's working out for me.

But I digress.  Batshit Crazy Bruce Bateman is about as close to a conservative Chamorro blogger we ever saw, but he only gets the Chamorro moniker because he plays the political game with the best of them.

I don't know why the other side never started blogging.  They leave anonymous comments, but rarely does someone put their name behind something -- at least something that someone could be proud to call their own (I'm talking about basic grammar here, irregardless of content).

And to be fair, some (most?) of the elite bloggers and letter to the editor writers are horrible.  It's only common sense.

And then someone writes something that surprises you.  Diego Blanco wrote a good one in today's papers.  It's hints to his insular thinking and smacks slightly racist, but it is still a compelling read.  He captures a lot of the emotion that Chamorros feel about the incredible changes over the last 30 years, and like many Chamorros, lays blame not on himself, but the dreaded outsider.  I disagree with his assessment of people who just want to see their home reach its full potential, but it is still a great piece.
The 1 percent 

If you read newspaper comments, blogs, or letters to the editor, you might get the wrong idea about public opinion in the CNMI. The same small and vocal group of critics is over-represented in those forums, over and over. We hear about their opposition to Article 12, we hear about their rejection of traditional island culture, and we definitely hear about their disgust at anything “native.” Hearing only from them, you might think that this is what the people of the CNMI people believe. But it just isn't so.

If you venture outside the blogs, the letters to the editor, and the online posts-and yes, outside Coffee Care, Godfather's, and Anaks swimming pool-you'll find a different world. You'll find the 99 percent of the CNMI's residents that are seldom heard in public forums. We are that 99 percent.

We measure our time on these islands not by years but by centuries, and for us the CNMI is our identity, not just a stopping-off point or job contract. We spend our weekends in church and at family fiestas, not at golf courses and hotel buffets. We are often those dreaded “government employees” or “political hires” that you love to look down upon, and many of us don't meet your high standards for world travel experiences or elite education (on the other hand, some of us do have degrees from the world's finest universities, and even more of us have served in the world's finest military).

We're the ones who support Article 12 because we like the Marianas' family landownership system the way it is. We're also the ones who fear our island being taken over, culturally, socially, and politically, by outsiders. And it's us who support the atmosphere of respect and the pride in families that many of you don't like. We're the ones who want to have a family barbecue maybe too close to your golf course, or let our boonie dogs run maybe too close to your purebred. And a lot of us here in the 99 percent chew pugua and drink Budweiser and tuba. Deal with it!

Don't worry. We won't be occupying anything, other than maybe the back of a pickup truck. But it's time for you, the 1 percent who are so vocal, to be reminded that we here in the 99 percent are still around. And most likely we'll still be around long after you've left these islands. Biba Marianas!

Diego C. Blanco 
As Lito, Saipan

1 comment:

The Saipan Blogger said...

It is probably worth pointing out that Chamorros only make up 1/3 of the CNMI population. So he's really just part of the 32%....