I've been mildly supportive of the proposed Marine Monument surrounding the northern Northern Mariana Islands; thinking it was more appropriate for people like David Sablan, Ike Cabrera, Agnes McPhetres and Karl Reyes to comment. I don't want opponents like Gourley and Joyner to muddy the waters by twisting it into 'outsiders telling us what to do'. After all, I've only been here for 25 years.
Still, I was surprised when I was polled about my opinion. It was obviously a survey of attitudes toward the monument-- and toward the military's presence in the Marianas-- but in no way was it a "sales job thinly disguised as a “phone survey” with Saipan residents as the target." I don't know whether Stanley Torres actually participated in the telephone survey, but I totally disagree with his assertion that "By using leading questions, ambiguous questions, and questions skillfully designed to hype their proposal they want to infiltrate every home on Saipan and try to sell their fairytale version of what this Bush Monument will mean to the children of the Marianas."
His letter sounds like a pre-emptive strike to discount the results if they don't favor his side. Not satisfied, he quickly slips into active paranoia: "There are favors being traded at very high levels and huge sums are at stake in this takeover bid." Whew, take a deep breath. Who is going to gain huge sums from a marine monument?
For myself, the questions clarified how important the issue is to me: not a deal-breaker, but certainly something I'll consider when I vote. Then again, I guess he was talking about me when he earlier wrote that "It’s not their ‘public land’ that would be given away should this [marine monument] be enforced by [President] Bush." Oh, wait, the 'public land' is the islands that are already protected by the CNMI Constitution. I guess the monument would be in the surrounding waters so that nasty federal government will be grabbing control... from themselves.
"How dumb do they think we are?" he asks. Let me rephrase that: how dumb do you think we are?
No worry, Representative Torres, I supported you for years because you were opposed, albeit ineffectively, to a lot of the CNMI government's mis-steps. That stopped a couple of years ago because of your increasingly vitriolic personal attacks on people you disagree with. I take it very personally that you are continually setting up 'statesiders' and 'mainlanders' as bogeymen.