Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dr. Dull

I tend to avoid the boring daily diatribes of Delano, California's premier blowhard, Dr. Jesus Camacho, but I, like a lot of readers judging by the responses of late in the letters section, have about had it with the enormous wasted space the Tribune offers this clown, who has never even been on island and lives thousands of miles away. I hope the Tribune will develop enough of an environmental conscience to give a more honorable death to the full on forest of trees that have already died in vain for Dr. Dull's daily rants. This is not to question his free speech rights. I’m a first amendment absolutist and he certainly has the right to say what he wants, or even to meet with all his interested readers in any telephone booth he chooses.

I've read enough of Dr. Dull to get the impression that he knows everything, or at least thinks he knows everything. As someone with a journalism degree, I also know that some unscrupulous types use letters to the editor for propaganda or to advance a political agenda under a phony name. One must then wonder why someone thousands of miles away would opine daily on a place they have never visited, let alone lived. The reason I recall reading from Dr. Dull is because of his "Chamorro blood," which he previously suggested gives him more stake and credibility on this island than people, meaning foreigners such as mainland Americans and others, working in the schools, or patrolling the streets for DPS or doing other things. I have an Irish background, but I've never been to Ireland and would certainly not have the audacity to pick a random Irish city and start telling them how to run things because I'm part Irish. I also wouldn’t tell some immigrant or expat living in Ireland I was more true to Ireland because I happen to be part Irish and eat an occasional potato while listening to U2!

From the little else I've read of Dr. Dull, I recall his bitterness at not being chosen president of NMC since he is a PHD for God’s sake, and it isn’t like there aren’t thousands of professors with PHDs out there writing papers more boring than even Camacho could pull off. Apparently NMC had the "crazy" idea of choosing a president who wouldn't have to find NMC with a compass and a tourist map pilfered from a Japanese tourist hanging out at DFS like Dr. Dull would have. NMC chose someone who has actually been to NMC and knows a thing or two about students here. Enough said there.

The second issue Dr. Dull is prone to rant about is the man leading this island, Governor Juan Babauta. I'm not going to sit here and say that government is Saipan's strongest point, that would be the sunsets, diving the Grotto and the bikini girls on Microbeach, but I would hardly blame all the island’s problems on the governor. There are two other branches of government the governor must contend with in a place where politics is a practical blood sport. There is also a long tradition in Saipan of less than sound decision making that has left this government with a debt and infrastructure problem that would make Jefferson, Lincoln or Roosevelt look bad. In short, not all of Saipan’s “long-in-the-making” problems are the governor's fault. But to hear Camacho tell it, Babauta is more evil than an island wide spam-and-betelnut naval embargo.

Looking at some of the governor's financial priorities, notably cutting down on the poker rooms and increasing educational funding, I feel they certainly agree with logic, long range planning, and my own priorities as a teacher and resident here. Those two things should also be a priority to anyone who cares about the future of the island. The common criticism I've read is that those goals are somehow unrealistic, that the governor lacks the political muscle to get those priorities enacted. Ultimately, the people here can remove those legislators providing the obstacles, and if they want the schools operating with outdated funding and with gambling addiction on every corner, they can vote for anti school/pro gambling legislators and deal with the consequences. That’s the nature of democracy, the masses of people aren’t always wise, “the people” sometimes do incredibly dumb things like endorsing the idea that a black man was 3/5 a person or vote for someone like George W. Bush -- just to give two examples of why Plato preferred the philosopher king to democracy.

When we had two typhoons and when Anatahan erupted, the governor was out there helping people, leading and contributing to this island. Seeing him on television and in person during that time, I felt confident that he was an intelligent, hard-working man making wise decisions I could trust. What has Dr. Dull ever done for this island other than insult and annoy actual residents of the CNMI and brag about his PHD?

No comments: