06 April 2011 Colonialism and Decolonization in Guam; Governor Initiates Community forums on Self-Determination ***** Guam is a Colony Michael Lujan Bevacqua
"Guam is a colony. Anyone who says otherwise simply doesn't want to confront the truth."
(The impetus for this post came from the letter to the editor of the Marianas Variety below written by Ed Benavente, former Maga'lahi of the group Nasion Chamoru and also former director of the Decolonization Commission for the Government of Guam.
The letter was written in response to several columns by UOG professor Ron McNinch who has a piece every Thursday in the paper). One of the mistakes that people often conveniently make when discussing the veracity of Guam's contemporary colonial status is making the assumption that in order to call something colonial, it must be the worst and most horrible thing in the world.
Make no mistake, Guam is a colony and it is an unjust and immoral fact, but it is not the worst place in the world because of it. But interestingly enough so many people attempt to argue that Guam isn't a colony, just because it it's political status today isn't that bad.
They argue that because it's better than before or because it's not as bad as forms of colonialism from time's past, you can't call it a colony.
Part of the problem with this is the simplicity through which people are arguing for something. Simplicity and plain-spokenness is one of the easiest ways to appear to be speaking the truth or speaking of something in both a profoundly important and real sense, while also making your argument appear to be obviously, commonsensically true.
So many who argue Guam isn't a colony will say to look at other places which have decolonized and how horrible and disgusting they are, and you shouldn't call Guam a colony because it's better to be a pathetic footnote to the United States, then your own sad sovereign basket case of a story.
Others will argue that because Guam has so many privileges and is such a great place that it can't be called a colony.
While these sorts of things could be evidence for making an argument about what sort of colony Guam is, or what its experience of colonialism is, they have no effect on saying that Guam is not a colony.
For many years, editor and columnist for the Pacific Daily News Joe Murphypioneered this way of speaking about Guam's political status.
It was a way of not really addressing the issue, while asserting that you were summing up the entire issue in such a commonsensical and clearly obvious way because of how plainly you were speaking about it.
Alot of times this happens through references to what "the people" or "most people" think or want. Whenever you use this sort of phrase, it is a way of trying to root what you are saying in something real or true.
The folks, the populace, the real people, or the majority of the people, or the people that actually matter and not some troublesome minority feel this and therefore it must be true.
I find this rhetorical tactic interesting. You are shrouding your lack of analysis through the aura of people believing or feeling something.
It is similar to the way in which people argue very wrongly that the buildup will be good for Guam because for a long time so many people seemed to support it. The idea that alot of people think something is good is still very far away from something actually being good.
It could be an indicator that something is good or it could just be an indicator of what people think or feel and nothing more. It could be more an indication of how stupid and detached from reality people are just as much as how in tune with it they are.