If politicians were really serious about changing political status, they would have done surveys decades ago to validate the process and the effort. Instead, they rushed to do something that could qualify as an educational effort to avoid losing federal funds on Sept. 30.

What the “talking heads” of the different “decolonization” options are calling an “educational event” that was held in Tumon last week was in all reality a very expensive “federally funded” party for the choir.

Until now, I have not paid much attention to the decolonization effort because I am not a member of the “clique” that saw an opportunity to utilize some “federal funds.” As a member of the public, I have never experienced a good-faith effort by any of the option teams to educate the public. So my knowledge on “decolonization” is based on what little I learned from very limited educational efforts by the three different groups, and the little research I did on my own.

Here are my reasons why I think the current decolonization effort is doomed to fail:

1. Failure by the talking heads to acknowledge the reality that any decision will, in the end, be decided by the U.S. Congress. So rather than waste a lot of time and money kneeling before the United Nations, the better effort would be to craft a process and submit a petition the U.S. Congress would accept. The Congress and U.S. law have laid out a process, but the so-called “decolonization” option talking heads refuse to acknowledge it. The effort they have put forward so far is just more wasted effort, mirroring efforts over the past 40 years where much was said, but little accomplished.

2. Whether the talking heads and politicians like it or not, status quo is a valid option. George Santayana made an observation that “those who do not learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them,” and it is particularly true in this case.

I have talked to hundreds of people about “decolonizing,” and less than 10 I’ve talked to favor it. So until the talking heads of the decolonization movement learn from history they’ll need to get used to the “squishy sound” beating their heads against the brick wall makes.

They won’t have to look far for history lessons. Puerto Rico has tried to decolonize several times and Guam can learn valuable lessons from their mistakes. Twice, Puerto Rico’s efforts were dismissed by Congress because the population was not offered a status quo option as part of the voting process.

3. As the Dave Davis decision has proven, any vote for political status change is going to have to accept the fact a “CHamoru only” vote will not fly. There are 160,000 people who call Guam home, and again we can learn from history a lesson from Puerto Rico’s third decolonization effort that was denied by Congress on the basis only a small minority of the population, and not a clear majority of the population, participated in the voting process.

4. There are only three real “political” options: status quo; statehood; and independence. Free association is a treaty between independent nations, so I don’t understand why the talking heads are pushing “free association” as a valid option now.

As far as I am concerned the talking heads haven’t established any credibility to pursue decolonization – other than availability of federal funds – since they have not done the first logical basic step: asking people if we “desire changing our relationship” with the United States. And since the talking politicians appear to be more interested in milking the “federal funds” cow than actually taking the first valid step of the process, I will.

Please click on the link below and take a minute to answer two basic questions so we can let the talking heads and politicians know how the rest of us feel about changing our political status with the United States: https://s.surveyplanet.com/_I68WUD


Ken Leon Guerrero is a resident of Santa Rita

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