The great debate
Saipan — Somewhere in the Pacific…
Moderator: Good evening. We are gathered here today to get through this thing called democracy in action — or at least democracy in words. Lots of words. The coming election is the most important in our history. We said the same thing in the previous election, and the one before that, which only shows how truly important elections are. Why? Because elections determine the future — of the candidates and their supporters’ livelihood opportunities: whose party-mates, political allies and their relatives will get government jobs, government contracts and special treatment in the next four years. These are weighty matters ladies and gentlemen. Tonight the two gentlemen aspiring to be our leader will spell out their platforms that are basically the same, and can only be fully implemented when pigs fly. They will also tell us why electing their opponent is the dumbest thing you can ever do — next to running for office.
Candidate A: Good evening.
Candidate B: Good evening.
Moderator: Let’s start with Candidate A. Opening statement please.
Candidate A: Thank you moderator. And thank you dear people, especially the registered voters, of this great democracy we call home. First of all, let me say that I care for the children. And the environment. I am also for public education and public health. And I support the troops, and our police officers and other first responders. I support the elderly, the youth, the community. In fact, whoever you are, as long as you intend to vote on Election Day, read my lips: I support you.
Moderator: Candidate B, opening statement please.
Candidate B: Yes, thank you moderator. I care for the children. I think about them all the time. I even ask them for policy advice. They are in favor of a really big mall — and free iPhones and WiFi and banning old people from Instagram. I told them I will certainly look into their proposals. Why? Because I care. And I also told them to tell their parents that I care. In fact, I care for all of them. I really do. Honest.
Moderator: Rebuttal Candidate A?
Candidate A: I am in favor of a bigger mall, free laptops and creating a version of Instagram for old people. Fair is fair. No one should be left behind, especially those who vote. Sadly, as we’ve all heard, my opponent is a shameless panderer.
Moderator: Rebuttal Candidate B.
Candidate B: I do not pander. I listen to the people. And I look into issues. And I say exactly what voters want me to say. Because I am a man of the people…who vote.
Moderator: Now about key public services…
Candidate A: I support them. I love them, each and every one of them.
Candidate B: That’s where I differ from my opponent. I support them more. And I love them more.
Moderator: Support how?
Candidate A: I will provide more funding.
Candidate B: And I will provide more than he can provide.
Candidate A: Anything you can do I can do better.
Candidate B: No, you can't.
Candidate A: Yes, I can.
Candidate B: No, you can't
Candidate A: Yes, I can.
Candidate B: No, you can't!
Candidate A: Yes, I can!
Moderator. Gentlemen, please. Anyway. How do you intend to fund your proposals?
Candidates A & B: I will look into it.
Moderator: Closing remarks please. Candidate A.
Candidate A: The last time I saw something like my opponent I flushed it.
Candidate B: My opponent is not as bad as people say; he is much, much worse.
Moderator: Thank you both. Members of the audience, remember: if you are not part of the solution, you're probably running for office.
Zaldy Dandan is editor of Marianas Variety, the CNMI’s oldest newspaper.