by L.N. Reklai
“Alii kede mad ra iusech”, is a famous saying from Ngchesar which translates to “beware or we will die from the calm” or as Ngirmang Moses Uludong explains,”Alsekum kede chelebangel ra tellemal e diak douedikl, e ngarngii a mo telemall malechub eng moudeubech el meringel tekoi el mer kid.”
Observing our government for past number of years I have come to notice a very alarming trend in our Olbiil era Kelulau. The trend calls for “unified” OEK, a Senate and House where all members are of one consensus on almost every issue.
While that sounds very nice and all, it actually goes against the norm and common sense to believe that 29 individuals elected by various States, groups and individuals could all agree on everything. More alarming though is the fact that those members of either Houses that disagree or dissent from the “group’s position” are penalized for dissenting.
A month ago, House of Delegates ousted two Delegates from committees for not conforming with the group consensus. Last week, Senate President Hokkons Baules, ousted Senator Reklai for not supporting the resolution to enter into trade agreement with People’s Republic of China.
In the political process, majority can dictate the policies of each House but what we are seeing is censorship through direct retribution to members of Congress for even stating different opinion to any issue not supported by the majority.
Watching televised sessions of both houses now, is basically watching a pre-arranged show, a skit. Decisions have already been made before the issues come to the floor. In the House for example, if the issue is non-controversial like banning plastics, everyone have input and studies to support the bill. If the issue is controversial, some would be silent and the rest would express their praise and support of each other’s support.
In the Senate, where few still dare to express opposing ideas, you get Senate President rebutting statements made in opposition. Threatening looks, raised voices, scolding and attempted sarcasm to belittle those making opposing statements are not uncommon.
This can be summed up in a statement made by Senate President Baules during “discussion” of recent proposed resolution. “Kom kmal somiu el di omtok a tekoi.”
Does agreeing unanimously on every issue in our Congress a sign of good governance? Is lack of opposition, a sign of healthy government? Or is opposing or expressing differing opinion a bad thing, sign of uncooperative individuals?
I think a healthy democracy, a healthy government requires that people openly discuss and express opposing ideas in order that the best outcome for the people is reached.
What is even more alarming is that this trend is creeping into the offices of the Executive Branch. You see ministries, Boards, agencies of the national government kow-towing to OEK leadership constantly, doing everything they can to ensure that they are praised, admired and acknowledged in order not to jeopardize funding for the critical services and programs they deliver to the people.
The effusive smiles, constant praises, and acknowledgments are heaped upon them and they condescending acknowledge such as their due.
Hard working individuals who are taking care of our sick, teaching our children, promoting our country, protecting our citizens, are all going beyond their pay scale to cater to those holding the purse strings to ensure that their work are not jeopardized.
While the Executive Branch seems to be wearing soft fur-lined super sensitive gloves in dealing with this new congress, it is insidiously taking control of its agencies.
Of course, everything is all smooth, quick and efficient if you are on the “right” side of this OEK. “A doba tal tekoi eng di mo ungil merael a rokui” in the words of House Speaker Anastacio.
The words of a U.S. President Harry Truman should warn us of what government censorship does to our democracy and our people.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” President Harry Truman”
Or in that wise saying from the people of Ngchesar, we should beware when things are too calm. [/restrict]