There are so many things about living on Guam that are simply idyllic. We really do live in a Pacific paradise in the center of this rising “Great Blue Nation.”
The year-round warm, pleasant climate we have, coupled with the gentle rains that fall almost every day, keep the island in a near perpetually lush green color, making Guam a beautiful place.
Then there are the warm, clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Philippine Sea that gently lap our shores and offer water sports enthusiasts great year-round water sports opportunities.
We have extremely clean, fresh air and an ample supply of clean water. While in need of repair and in many cases upgrading, our infrastructure is generally in good shape when compared to the other islands in our region.
Our economy, based on a significant presence of federal dollars as well as tourism, supplies ample revenue for the government and work for anyone who sincerely seeks it.
After some 51 years of living on Guam and traveling the region, it never ceases to amaze me how resilient the people of Guam (not just the Chamorro residents but all of us who truly call Guam home) really are.
We go through natural and man-made disasters and always seem to quickly bounce back.
When you compare this to our fellow citizens in the U.S. mainland in what seems to be a more modern place in the world, they tend to suffer longer and harder during natural disasters than do we.
Maybe we are in a more rational and less modern location without many of the man-made and politically correct opportunities that seem to weigh down our mainland counterparts.
We keep riding a dead horse
Actually, something I received from an old friend of mine reminded me of some realities that we may tend to gloss over and at times allow to creep into our otherwise nice and what I believe to be a more natural style of life.
He shared some wisdom from the Plains Indians that at one time was passed on from generation to generation, much like island wisdom has been passed down through generations.
It went something like this: "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."
“However, in modern government more advanced strategies are often employed, such as 1. Buying a stronger whip. 2. Changing riders. 3. Appointing a committee to study the horse. 4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses. 5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included. 6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired. 7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse. 8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed. 9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance. 10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance. 11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than does a living horse. 12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses. And, last but not least: 13. Promoting the dead horse to a management position.”
Keep electing the same type of people
Now, while much of this can be viewed as tongue-in-cheek, and should get at minimum a smile or even better some laughter from my readers, the reality is that just as much of it is true.
If we sit back and honestly look at government entities, we can easily find excess bodies, committees, organizational groups and yes, even a few dead horses scattered around in our government.
Admittedly, Guam’s government institutions aren’t the only ones suffering from this malady but it is something that we allow by continuing to elect or appoint the same type of people to do the same jobs again and again.
With election year just around the corner, maybe it is time we all take a closer, harder look at how those in positions of authority that we elect in our government and the people, they in turn appointed to our government departments.
The best time to evaluate this now before they start actively seeking reelection. This is the best time to ask them some really hard questions.
We must always remember that, when living in paradise, we can easily allow our quality of life to mask the quality of elected officials we put in office.
Lee P. Webber is a former president and publisher of media organizations on Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia and is a longtime business and civic leader on Guam.