Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos deserve a little celebration: it's been a rough four years.
Monday's inauguration caps a first term that was all tunnel, with not much light at its end. But the problems can wait another day or two; it's bad form to squabble when there are guests in the house.
In a classy move, the Governor took the first drive towards rapprochement by going to the house of erstwhile opponent Rep. Heinz S. Hofschneider, meeting with him and House Speaker Arnold I. Palacios, according to the Saipan Tribune. Hofschneider and Palacios returned the gesture by going to Fitial's residence. The rest was nuance.
"We want the feds to know we are working together," Fitial is said to have said. "It's time to get over this," (the election) Hofschneider told the Tribune in a separate interview.
"The political season is over. This is a time for partnership for the people of the CNMI," Inos said. "We wish nothing but success for the Fitial administration as they face the challenges of the Commonwealth," Palacios said.
The Tribune was so impressed by Inos' 'partnership' idea that they attributed it to all four men in the main story's lead sentence.
On the other hand, the Marianas Variety chose not to publicize inauguration events, except for a nod to Palauan President Johnson Toribiong on page six. Maybe that's some form of of the saw 'if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all'.
Unless it's in the editorial, though even there the ongoing soap opera at Northern Marianas College took top billing. There's more than a touch of irony in editorials headlined 'A house divided' that sound like the election never took place.
Fitial's Administration is chided for fanfare the CNMI can't afford, but warned about relying on "contributions" (the quotation marks were not added) from the private sector. In Friday's Tribune, Inauguration Committee co-chair Teresa Kim was quoted saying "No government funds have been expended."
On a very basic level, what's the difference between campaign contributions and contributions to inauguration events?
In any case, here's the gubernatorial inaugural schedule. Questions about separation of church and state make Red Masses controversial in some jurisdictions, not so much in the Commonwealth.
The RSVP black-tie VIP Ball at the Saipan World Resort and suit-and-tie People's Ball at Fiesta Resort should help keep the fanfare-- and expenses -- down.