Free Association – Where do we Stand?

Politics is not exactly my cup of tea but I feel compelled to share my two cents on the subject. For many years I’ve watched the country swing from one extreme to the other and back and forth we go with this tug of war. This vicious cycle repeats itself every four to eight years depending on who is in office. There have been many changes made in the past fourty plus years that I’ve been around, both socially and politically and of course, the economy swings along with the directions of those changes. The funny thing is when you look back now, there is very little in the way of progress to show for. Every time we made a step in the right direction, we took two steps backward. The economy worsens every year and the homeless population continues a steady rise year after year with no solution in sight because the system has been broken down for too long and no one knows how to fix it.  Now with our current president, things are worsening at rapid speed. The nation is divided and the scariest part is hate crimes are rampant and are on an alarmingly steady rise. The homeless numbers are growing at an alarming rate never been seen before and as some of us (families) have fallen victim to the opioid crisis that has been sweeping across the land. Some of us have lost all hopes to endure hard times because now, most moms and pops are getting up there in years and suddenly they are faced with new and costly healthcare challenges.  With odd jobs, you don’t have the benefit of premium health care which is the only way to tackle the high rise in health care cost today, hence nothing that you can later fall back on. Most folks don’t have adequate health insurance coverage to even care about carrying on with life. The will to survive becomes extremely difficult if not impossible. At this point in the lives of many, survival means working two or even three jobs (for those who are healthy) just to get by. For others, it’s pure determination to keep their homes above water and put food on the table, not to mention the kids, school, and other things in life. Nothing left for medical emergencies, health care coverage, and forget about a nest egg for the future. With this unstable economy, it is not surprising to see the increasing number of people of all statures on almost every street corners throughout America — holding up signs that read, “Hungry”, “Need Job”, “Anything Helps”, etc. Are they all really that needy? I doubted it but that’s for the news media, and social workers to find out. This scene has become a normal part of life today; and a way of life for some.

Our infrastructure is old and crumbling right before our eyes but our top leaders in the political arena (Democrats and Republicans) are to busy trying every known trick in the book to bring down the other side.  They put their hard-earned lawmaking skills aside while resorting to archaic tactics (shouting matches) to see which side can out-do the other. Who knows in a year or two this might find its way to Hollywood and prime-time TV with a catchy title, “Slugfest on the Hill”. The two parties fight like they’re possessed communists representing two opposing counties. And then you have a President who is totally incapable of running a county because he lacks it all, so much so, even with the most basic of skills. What he’s good at is creating propaganda and hiding behind his twitter account or golfing at his Mar-a-Lago resort while insulting anyone that either does not agree with him or they don’t have a great deal of money. He is a high stake risk to the country, and he brings shame to America, a country that once was well respected for its leadership, high standard of morals and values, fairness, human rights, and most of all, the role of the commander in chief, now played by a character similar to an old Las Vegas wrestler with the stage name, Buddy Rose. For those who are too young to know, he was a pro wrestler. He was famous for being a big (foul) mouth that liked to incite fights but couldn’t back it up when challenged. The difference between him and Mr. Trump is that Buddy was putting on an “act”, to be a showmanship, which was just a gimmick he manufactured for financial gain and I assume it worked out well for him. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is not acting. What you see is what you get. Calling non-white countries sh**-holes is the new low for this President. All of his idiosyncrasies clearly defines him as racist. Moreover, his gestures seem to suggest that any policy that floats across his desk that has to do with the disabled or people of color is automatic injustice and must be rejected.  This is unAmerican! Does it worry me? The short answer is “No” because America is better than that and healing always brings out the best of America. My long answer would be “yes” but that’s for a different time and different story.

Now the big question is how do we, patriotic Free Association optimists fit into the scheme of things? How are we coping or adjusting to life in America? Are we better off? How can we, expats be a resource to our families and government back on islands? With the uncertainty of the compact of Free Association looming, is there an alternative plan B? Put up Land For Sale signs and get out of dodge? What do you want and how do you get the message across to our leaders? There are just too many questions and we need answers. Given all that’s been said, “nervousness” comes to mind in terms of the political scene and how we fit in. My feeling is that the political climate today is at a volatile hight which presents quite a challenge for our leaders to take on. They have the unenvious position to “walk on glass” and make sure they don’t get too bloody on their way out. On the other side of the spectrum is us, the people. We have a say in all this political theatrics and we need to find the proper channel to voice them. Firstly, we need to come together, join hands with other island nations and show our leaders that we are behind them in this fight to overcome the unknown and continue on the path to strengthening the bond between our two countries. It’s good business — and, sustainability is important for the sake of our grandchildren’s kids and the life-line down the line. If you think I’m partial to Free Association, I will tell you straight out that I’m not a fan. I’d rather go back to pre-western influence and live a clean, natural, carefree and stress-free life. But now that we are deep into the thick of it, I’m simply doing my part to help show support for our leaders so they could make their best efforts to saving what we have (it’s trying to make the best out of a bad deal).  What about you, how can you help? I hope this writing will inspire some of the young people out there to get involved in the “fixing of our broken system” mentality. And for you local youths in my area, CANN and MIC are two places you can start. I’m positive they’d welcome you with open arms as most non-profits love volunteers.

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