By Lee P. Webber
With the primary elections just around the corner and all of the public infrastructure, crime, drug, health, education and other problems facing our small island home it brings to mind a quote from C.S. Lewis.
“The choice of ways at any crossroad may be more important than we think; and shortcuts may lead to very nasty places.”
We the people of Guam have been dealing with some very nasty problems – but I am ahead of myself.
During the last handful of years, we have dealt with what I would categorize as destructive political behavior by our elected officials that has held this community captive.
But then maybe we’re just getting what we want or deserve – since we elected and continue to elect many of the same individuals who have brought us to this place in time.
Maybe it’s ok with us if we have lousy water pressure.
Maybe it’s ok to have inconsistent power.
Maybe no one really minds if when it rains badly their homes flood due to poor drainage or that many of our reefs are continually contaminated.
Maybe, just maybe no one really cares about the rampant and growing drug and crime problems facing our community.
Maybe, just maybe, we – as an entire community – don’t care enough to force changes that will fix these problems and keep them fixed so we can grow and realize our true potential as one of the world’s most beautiful and well positioned island communities.
Maybe, just maybe, we’re happy having this giant pity party so we can all keep complaining rather than polishing this diamond in the rough that we call Guam.
But as we grumble, gripe, argue and wallow in this self-created mire of indecision, others outside of Guam, see real promise in our island and some of them are not our friends.
The unfortunate side of all this is that people who do not pay attention to history allow it to repeat itself and politically motivated people are like water, they tend to seek the path of least resistance.
Anyone who has followed island politics for as long as I have, knows that for some unknown reason, voters continually fall for the same political promises that were made in prior to elections and end up settling for far too little in the years that follow.
That has resulted in no real or significant change or improvement in quality of life is made for residents of Guam.
Politicians have an uncanny way of explaining away why they didn’t accomplish what they had promised to do in an effort to gain your vote at the polls so they can stay employed in and nuzzled up to that fat hog called government.
Granted, there are no magic bullets.
It takes time for people and economies to respond to change. It takes time for the beneficial effects of one policy reform to spill over into other areas of the economy.
The people of Guam have a long tradition of patience and perseverance, which was epitomized by the epic sea voyages of the early islanders.
If this tradition can be harnessed to improve medical care and education, promote new economic growth and reduce poverty, crime and the crippling drug problems on our island the promise of the future is great indeed.
So, you see there is hope.
Unfortunately, and to paraphrase Milton Freedom, if you put GovGuam’s current leadership in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be shortage of sand!
As voters we can change that by voting for people who have records of proven change-making ability.
Remember – in the end, “sow a thought, reap an act; – sow an act, reap a habit; – sow a habit, reap a character; – sow a character, reap a destiny.”
Look hard and deep into each and every candidate’s history. If currently in office examine their record before allowing them to stay in place.
In the coming election vote wisely, vote for real and lasting change.
Lee P. Webber is a businessman and civic advocate, the former publisher of the Pacific Daily News, a former president and publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, and a former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia