THE Guam Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to each candidate for the 32nd Guam Legislature, asking them to consider the following proposition:
“The realization by the United States government that Guam must play a strategic role in the defense of U.S. interests presents the people of Guam with challenges and opportunities that will have a lasting impact on Guam’s place in U.S. and world history, a history that will be made with us or without us. I believe that it is in Guam’s best interest to seize the opportunity. I support any program by our military to enhance its presence in the Mariana Islands.
It is certainly a noble opportunity to serve our country’s interests as well as our own. But more importantly, it is an opportunity to strengthen our economic and social well being and widen our horizons for the benefit of all Guamanians and their future generations. Our hope is that this will open the doors, too long closed to us, to being recognized as a constructive and integral part of the United States, with full grant of all constitutional rights of citizenship and representation.”
The candidates are asked to respond by this Friday indicating whether they support this proposition, signing their name to whatever choice they make. At next week’s Chamber meeting, the responses – including any non-response – will be publicly announced to the membership and the island. The solicitation is signed by Mark J. Sablan in his capacity as current chairman of the Chamber's board of directors.
Here’s how one observer reacted upon seeing the letter: “Seriously? Any program? With no exclusion for chemical/biological/nuclear weapons testing? Or a Guantanamo-like prison? Or establishing a few toxic waste dump sites? I’m not trying to stir up more trouble, but it seems to me that their closing sentence says we should seek statehood. I’m not against a change in our status, but I do support the people, not the Chamber, making the choice.”
Indeed. This letter from the Chamber of Commerce ranks right down there with the yes-or-no questionnaire sent to all the candidates by the We Are Guåhan organization last week. Both are unacceptable.
These issues are not black or white, either-or questions; they are complex and shaded in gray.
This is just another attempt to brand the candidates with a scarlet letter – for or against the buildup. We’re glad we’re not running for office, given this level of polarization, but if we were, we would not sign this proposition any more than we would respond to the yes-or-no questions. These kinds of things are intended to stifle debate, not promote it, and should be ignored.