Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Guam: Where America's President Refuels

by Pa Rock

Today was  not nearly as active as yesterday.  We drove to Andersen Air Force Base on the north end of the island for lunch and some souvenir shopping at the Base Exchange.  Then, heading south, we stopped at the Micronesian Mall where Valerie got her fingernails and toenails painted,  and I bought a book and went to the movies.  The movie that I saw was "J. Edgar" which featured crappy writing, editing, and direction (sorry, Clint), but may still take home several Oscars for remarkable acting.  Look for lots of great things to come from Armie Hammer.

When we returned from our island drive-about yesterday, I noticed that the flags in front of our hotel were all at half-staff.   After inquiring, I learned that a National Guardsman from Guam was killed in Afghanistan a week or so ago.  Army Specialist Calvin "Cal" Evangelista Pereda stepped on an IED and lot his life in America's longest war.  He was just twenty-one-years-old.

Memo to Barack:  I voted for you because you were going to end these futile wars and close Guantanamo.  What happened?

Speaking of our President, I mentioned two days ago that Air Force One had landed on Guam this weekend late at night.  The presidential plane actually sat down at Andersen Air Force Base to refuel as the President was going from Hawaii to Washington, DC.  That sounds like the long way home to me.  While he was on Guam, the President reportedly did not leave his luxury airliner.  In fact no one would even confirm that he was here.  However, the President, being the good guy that he is, picked up the Guamanian (non-voting) delegate to Congress, Madeleine Z. Bordallo, and gave her a lift back to DC - and Ms. Bordallo couldn't resist letting her friends know that she hitchhiked aboard Air Force One.

The President's aloofness did not sit well with the people of Guam, or at least with the Guam press.   He was roundly criticized in both the Marianas Variety and the Pacific Daily News for failing to get off the plane and shake a few hands.  The headline in the Marianas Variety was a classic.  It read "Obama Passes in the Night."  That same issue had a front page photo of some disappointed locals with a very large banner that read:  "Guam:  Where America's President Refuels."

Mr. President, it is true that most of the people living on the United States Territory of Guam cannot vote in US elections, but they are still subject to the laws and vagaries of our country, and they deserve to be shown the same respect as any wheat farmer in Kansas or steel mill worker in Pennsylvania.  Cal Pereda from Guam died for our country just days ago in Afghanistan.  Would it have been too much to have at least stood in front of the cameras for a couple of minutes and acknowledged his sacrifice?

(Note:  Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC should all be granted statehood, but that is unlikely to happen as long as Republicans get elected to Congress in large enough numbers to block their admissions.   All three of those unrepresented entities have majority populations that are non-white,  and Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas aside, Republicans know that most racial minorities are not going to be their friends at the polls - and for good reason.  At least that's how I see it.)

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

I once made the statehood argument to our former used car salesman Representive to Congress, the late Gene Taylor. I am pretty sure he wrote back, rather than assigning the task to an intern. He was livid.

Made me laugh for six months.