One of the memorable parts of my growing up years was the intense political tradition of Guam. Politics runs thick on the island and as a youth I was involved and active in it. The democratic process was a living part of my life and I was taught by my family that it was a real privilege to participate in it.
I ran as a candidate and won Student Body elected offices. I also ran and won a seat for a few terms in the Guam Youth Congress. This is an elected body of young people on Guam that actually pass legislation that is forwarded to and considered by Guam’s Legislature, that if approved, can be made into laws. This was a real education for me and developed my leadership skills. It also showed me how democracy can effect change.
I am appreciative of the value of a citizenry that actively participates in their local government process. Whatever your political leanings, I hope you all will register to vote. There is no moment in our history where your voice and your vote is needed more than ever than in this election year.
My mother recently wrote an article on her perspective on politics on Guam that I included below.
Ask Joyce: I notice politics is a favorite pastime on Guam?
This established three branches of the government in Guam: executive, legislative and judicial. Known as the godfathers of the organic act were Honorable Baltazar Jerome Bordallo (aka BJ or “Tun Kiko Zoilo”), Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero, Carlos P. Taitano, and none other than Antonio B. Won Pat, who rendered the most passionate plea to the American Senate.
The Organic Act brought about competitive election to political positions.
The whole island became over zealous in campaigning for their “gayu (rooster).” The thought just occurred to me that this is much like cockfights.
Back then it was the Territorial Party against Democratic Party and later the parties became the Republicans and the Democrats. The campaign trail was demanding and ugly at times. There were silent duels among families—many not speaking to each other for years. Then there were all the gatherings and barbecues where followers planned strategies to ensure their “gayu” wins. In the present time, families are a lot more considerate, less confrontational and go above and beyond for those they support. The bottom line is that many people work hard for their parties and possibly garner the rewards of a job if their candidate wins.
Many foresee Guam as a state. Is this far-fetched? On the other hand, is it premature to dream the impossible – to be full-fledged US citizens and be allowed to vote for the President of the United States?
si Joyce I. Martratt
( Ask Joyce, The Pacific Edge)
Just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your posts. Keep it up!
I appreciate your support at my poor, amateur attempts at writing. Just sharing some ideas and thoughts.