Nobody’s nuts have reserved parking on Kandit’s chin

By Mabel Doge Luhan

What a busy month it’s been! First Groundhog Day, then Korean and Taiwanese New Year (although I didn’t forget to wish our Chinese friends 习近平就是一个杀人流氓) , then Fat Tuesday, and finally, Valentine’s Day! I wasn’t invited on the Marianas Visitors Authority’s no-expenses-spared luxury vacation to Langkawi, so I decided to do them one better and go see TAILOR SWIFT’S EROTIC CONCERT.

My secretaries were still asleep, so I put up my hair and got on the horn myself! I demanded TWO FRONT-ROW TICKETS (one for me, one for Orville), to be charged to my DINERS’ CLUB CARD. And it seems that there were NO SEATS! I always suspected that we didn’t have enough SEATS!

I told the ticket-monger who I am and read out the URLs of several of my excellent, interesting, and innovative columns at Kandit (including the s to make it secure!). And he still said that it doesn’t matter who I am, but there are no SEATS. He still seemed to be not fully aware of who I am, so I offered to FAX him a certified copy of my family tree, and still no dice!

I had this sort of problem once before, trying to score George Formby tickets for his 1936 Manx tour. Well — that time back in ‘36, I used my feminine wiles, and tickets weren’t the only thing I scored! What a notch on my chifferobe!

But for the current conundrum, I have it on good authority that Taytay doesn’t swing that way, so I didn’t even try. And in fact, no matter how many times I told the ticket-monger that I am VERY WELL CONNECTED, he just told me that there are no more SEATS! Well, I checked the area code, and indeed, it was a LONG-DISTANCE CALL, and this ticket seller wasn’t here in the CNMI. It seems that wherever he is, they don’t care who you’re related or connected to!

That all reminds me of what everyone talks about in CNMI politics: who’s good and who’s bad, and who’s allied with whom. Well, it’s almost like high school, or it would be, if more of our leaders had attended!

You can see it in our election campaigns. There are no platforms. There are no policies, other than vague pipe dreams like “revive the economy.” There are certainly no claims to expertise, experience, or proven success in governing or in anything. The only information important to the campaign is the name and the family affiliation and sometimes the party affiliation.

But it’s not just in elections. It’s in the sphere of political discussion as well. I am no great fan of Zaldy Dandan, but many of his devastatingly tedious editorials are well-reasoned, and certainly make more policy sense than the stuff said every day at the Commonwealth Legislature — and yet nobody listens, and nobody really takes it seriously, least of all those who have the power to implement his recommendations. Not because his ideas are bad, but because of who they come from.

And then when Kandit, or any news source, is up for discussion, it’s always about who are they with? Whose team are they on? And those who claim to know Kandit inside-out and know what we’re about will say that we’re allied with this and that person. And then they will, instead of admitting they were wrong, call us traitors or backstabbers when we disagree with that person with whom they claimed we’re allied.

Maybe we at Kandit are not allied with any particular person? What if the only person we’re allied with is the CNMI’s (and Guam’s) Common Man (gender-neutral)? As for everyone else, we don’t assume anything, and we judge actions, proposals, policies, and thought — not names and families.

Nobody’s nuts have reserved parking on Kandit’s chin. Try that at any other CNMI news source.

Sure, we’ll generally agree with some people’s viewpoints or actions more often than with other people’s. But that’s because of the quality of those viewpoints or actions, not because of who those people are. Just as that wily ticket-seller told me that had I called him exactly one year earlier, I could’ve scored those tix, no matter who I was or wasn’t related to!

What if one day, the electorate, and even the politicians, started fresh, looking at proposals without caring who they came from?

Some psychologists studied people’s reactions to potential solutions to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Subjects self-identified as siding with Israel or Palestine. They were each given a series of “proposals” to evaluate. Each proposal was marked as coming from the government of Israel or the government of Palestine — while in reality, those labels were totally randomized. To nobody’s surprise, everyone rated the proposals only based on which side they thought they were coming from, and not on the substance of the proposals themselves. That is, people who sided with Israel discarded the positions of the Israeli government when they thought the proposal is coming from the Palestinian side, and the other way around.

Take that back to the CNMI. Do we have anything to learn from this? We cover up the names on exam papers (or I hope we do!) to prevent bias. How about just for one day or one legislative session covering up the names on policy proposals?

The technical term is isonomy: treating everyone the same, no matter who they are or what their name is. What a shocker, right?

Can you believe that the then-incumbent governor of the CNMI at one point proposed a debate of the candidates’ spouses? Or that the only reason that the clearly best-qualified candidates in the previous CNMI gubernatorial election came in last is that they don’t have BALLS?

But then, I’m a crotchety old woman who just wants to be taken seriously — working for a gay former drug addict who worships a barefoot Jew. Imagine that.


Mabel Doge Luhan is a woman of loose morals. She resides in Kagman V, where she pursues her passions of crocheting, beatboxing, and falconry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *