Sunday, December 16, 2007

Name change

I've decided to change the name of this blog from Committee for the Public Interest to the one you see now. This is, first, because I want a place to post things related to the Unity Movement, which, in my opinion, is the single most important thing happening in the CNMI today.

Second, with the addition of soon-to-be Representative Tina Sablan's vision, leadership, and HEART to the efforts that were being made by Boni Sagana, Dekada, the Human Dignity Act Movement, Jerry Custodio, and so many, many others, including myself, in one critical area and broadening it to truly encompass the interests of, and bring in, so many diverse individuals and groups, there has been a realization of that aspiration, a sprouting of that seed so long lingering in the back of my consciousness in the form of my idea of a Committee for the Public Interest.

We have proven the potentiality is there; let us move ahead together from this beginning. This is more than a committee. This is a movement; accordingly, we should describe it as such.

The first core issues on which I believe the foundation of a unity consensus exists are extension of federal immigration laws to the CNMI, improved status for long-term alien residents, opposition to casinos (any form of commercial gaming), eradication of poker machines, and transparency and accountability in government.

Foundation of a unity consensus means there is a clear majority of the population that would support the position. It no more requires true absolute consensus than the local cultural preference for consensus is based on full, true consensus. This putative preference for consensus usually is realized as the minority submitting to the will of the majority or dominant parties, and has its principal public manifestation in the absence of negative votes in the Legislature.

Legislators who do not vote "no" on measures they oppose, do not truly support, or have serious reservations about do their constituents a serious disservice and undermine democratic processes. They rob the public of information on the true positions and views of their elected officials and shield the supporters of bad policy and bad laws from the harsh light of public scrutiny. They undermine accountability and transparency. They do this by creating a false impression of unanimity, a false consensus, a facade designed to lure the public into unquestioning acceptance of the actions and decisions of their "leaders."

Such unquestioning acceptance serves only special interests and personal aggrandizement of office-holders, and benefits only prevailing economic and political elites. It is not in the public interest.

Government belongs to the people. The Unity Movement is about the people, about government, policy, and law responsive to the needs of the people -- all of the people. It about a just, productive, healthy, culturally rich and prosperous future for all the people who live in the Northern Mariana Islands.

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