Perhaps the one thought everyone can agree on is that people are human beings. With that, there is a consensus that human beings need oxygen, food, drink, care, direction and time to thrive.
After that nod, diverse thought takes over. Pros and cons to guidelines, particularly controversial issues, swing the decision-making pendulum from right to left and back again.
Social norms, research, technology, faith, global issues, local concerns drive arguments and decisions.
There are arguments about the best diet for healthy people. Guam’s high diabetes, heart disease and cancer rates provide a little argument that our island community needs to improve its diet.
The climbing suicide rate and the mental health crisis prioritize our emotional health needs. There may be arguments about who is responsible for health standards.
Some may insist families determine their own health standards, others believe government policy should guide our curves and workouts. At the end of the day, the government decides program budgets that affect our health services.
There are people who align with pro-choice beliefs and there are people who align with pro-life beliefs. There are people who do not think much about it.
There are people who believe transgender students should participate in school sports according to their birth gender designation. There are people who think otherwise. And there are people who do not think much about transgender issues – until it becomes their child. Some argue that schools should not be forming identity beliefs. It is foolish to think they do not. Of course, they do.
There are people who think those with disabilities should be supported, guided, included and allowed to live, work, play and pray. There are people who think they should be locked up and kept from the public. Integration is too much of an inconvenience for them.
There are parents who want the best for their children and do everything they think they should to provide for them, hoping each child realizes their potential. There are parents who abuse and neglect their children. They should never have become parents.
There are people who simply go out to dinner when the power goes out. There are families who do not have that option because they cannot afford going out or because their family dynamics do not allow it. Unexpected events with those on the spectrum are both trying and tiring.
There are public servants who genuinely enjoy helping all people. They smile, listen and help you until the task is achieved. There are public servants who wish we were not asking them for help. They should realize that without the public, they would have no jobs.
There are teachers who enjoy working hard to teach children. There are teachers who only teach the students who smell good and who nod all the time. They are not really teachers, but imposters.
There are small businesses that look forward to your business, even if you have a lot of questions. There are small businesses that need training in customer service. They have forgotten that without customers, there is no business.
There is birth and there is death. Life has many blanks in between. How the blanks are filled is determined by everyone in the community. While sexual abuse, child abuse and man’amko abuse cases are high, there are exponentially more families who live happily and healthily. These are the families that are determined to work hard, follow the law, teach their children, thank their parents, appreciate the sunrises and enjoy the sunsets.
God wants us to use the brains and hearts he gave us to treat our neighbors the way we want to be treated. Guam is ours to blossom and enjoy.
Yes, it is clear that Guam is not for everyone. But they can always leave.
Aline Yamashita is a mom, a teacher and former senator. She served in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures. You may write to her at email@example.com.