September 2020 Vol. 4 No. 9 - Page 4

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK 4 The social contract Man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains.” The famous opening line to Rousseau’s “Social Contract” sums up our inescapable reality. We are governed by laws, choking on rules and bound by duties. We can’t drink and drive. We buckle up. We pay our taxes. The Covid-19 crisis has triggered additions to the list of things we are pressed to do. Wear face coverings. Stand six feet apart from other people. Sanitize. Lock up behind your doors. Shutter up your business. Steer clear of public parks and beaches. Written in 1762, the “Social Contract” has reemerged in political and academic discussions, pushed to the fore by the Covid-19 pandemic. The restrictions imposed by governments around the world to curb further spread of the coronavirus remind us of the delicate equilibrium between democracy and obedience to the government in exchange for protection. By definition, “social contract” is an “implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection.” In these desperate times, this is nonnegotiable. Guam residents who are protesting Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s new lockdown directive randomly toss the words “tyranny” and “dictatorship,” trivializing the real plight of people who actually live under such regime (e.g., the Philippines, where citizens are warned of getting shot for violating presidential directives.) With the unprecedented surge of Covid-19 cases on Guam and a lack of a cure or vaccines, charting new pathways in order to limit the catastrophic impact of the virus is imperative. Staying home, social distancing and putting up with the inconvenience of wearing face masks are small prices to pay to save the island’s fragile health care system, to show regard for the frontliners who make bigger sacrifices, and to accelerate our return to normalcy. A collective cooperation is indispensable to make up for the government’s policy failures and the community’s cavalier attitude that caused the second wave to roll in. The heightened public health crisis has revealed that we are not really all in this together. We don’t like it. We don’t like the collective “punishment” for the faults of the stubborn lot. But we have come to a point where civil disobedience won’t help either. Tyranny is not one of the governor’s attributes. In this time of crisis, her softness manifested a tentative leadership that became her liability. Here’s the sequel— another chance for the administration to show strength and effective governance. Beyond defeating the coronavirus, emerging from the economic carnage — mass bankruptcies and widespread unemployment— is the greater challenge besetting us. The economic lockdowns are imposing the greatest cost on those already the worst. The current health emergency will eventually pass, but the community must be assured that the government knows what it is doing, that it has an exit strategy and a clear recovery plan to rescue the businesses that followed orders and to salvage the thousands from the sea of unemployment. Sacrifices are inevitable, but the community expects true protection in return, as sealed in the social contract. Beyond defeating the coronavirus, emerging from the economic carnage — mass bankruptcies and widespread unemployment— is the greater challenge besetting Guam. Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Mar-Vic Cagurangan publisher@pacificislandtimes.com Contributing Writers Vincent Akimoto Raquel Bagnol Bea Cabrera Phillip Cruz, Jr. Zaldy Dandan Jayne Flores Jeni Ann Flores Geoff Goodman Joseph Guthrie Theodore Lewis Diana Mendoza Johanna Salinas Joy Santamarina Alex Rhowuniong Jay Shedd Visual Editor Mar-Vic Cagurangan Sales and Marketing Executive Jan SN Furukawa jan@pacificislandtimes.com Account Executive Anna Marie Alegre sales@pacificislandtimes.com Administrative Assistant Ricky Panelo *** Pacific Independent News Service LLC Tumon Sands Plaza 1082 Pale San Vitores Rd. Tumon Guam 96931 Mailing address: P.O. Box 11647 Tamuning, Gu 96931 Telephone: (671) 929-4210 Email: PacificIslandTimes@gmail.com Website: www.pacificislandtimes.com The Pacific Island Times is published monthly and circulated in Guam and Palau by the Pacific Independent News Service LLC. Editorial and advertising submissions become property of the Pacific Island Times and cannot be lifted without consent of the publisher. Views and opinions from contributors do not necessarily represent the editorial position of the Pacific Island Times.