At some point in the future, I believe that former President Donald Trump will finally be recognized for his efforts to develop “Operation Warp Speed” which was the crash program to develop COVID-19 vaccines. While the story of this program has not been fully told yet, we ended up with not just one vaccine, but three. It is likely that the vaccine innovations developed for this program will be viewed in the future in the same way we view the Apollo moonshots today.
Using a number of basic political management techniques, Trump was able to overcome political inertia and bureaucratic bamboozling to make a genuine vaccination response happen. I don’t think any other politician in the United States could have pulled this off. Whether you hated or loved Trump, he does deserve this strong vaccine credit and appreciation.
In the last week, the media reported an official Guam Commission on Decolonization statement in response to comments made by former Sen. Robert Klitzkie. While some media paraphrased or quoted this statement, I hope all future "press releases" and "official statements" by any government commission will be posted on their websites and social media. And if it is an official board or commission statement, show the meeting date that approved it. Otherwise it is just informal commentary.
In January 1997, the lame-duck Democrat Guam Legislature overrode a veto and added a restricted self-determination activity. If the legislative history is examined closely, it will be clear that promises made to Guam voters during this period were not kept.
According to the record, there was no intention to make political status an exclusive activity. The senators claimed that this was just one element of the status improvement process and that the Commonwealth Commission would continue. This obviously didn’t happen. The Guam Commonwealth Commission (1 GCA 17) is still good law and I would like to encourage Gov. Leon Guerrero and other appropriate officials to stand up this activity. This would allow all voters to have meaningful discussions on this topic. It would also diversify the process and include all voters on this commission. This intermediate balancing step might effectively resolve many of the concerns raised about the demographically restricted self-determination commission. It is also more democratic.
In retrospect, it is likely that if the Commonwealth Commission process had continued, the Davis lawsuit would not have even happened. The government could have just stated, correctly, that all citizens were being accommodated. Instead we got a bait-and-switch and a 25-year yellow brick road to nowhere.
Since 1997, I have often wondered why Guam doesn't follow progressive political status steps. If Guam wants to bake a political status cake, our leaders should follow the basic tried-and-true recipe. Instead, they have wasted time throwing flour, milk, sugar and flavorings into the air. Then leaders want to blame the federal government because they can't cook. Like him or not, Trump followed a recipe for success.
Ron McNinch teaches at the University of Guam School of Business and Public Administration.