July 9, 2008

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press

On the 4th of July, the day that Americans celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence a group of invited guests gathered at the home of the US Ambassador Miriam Hughes. FSM's President Manny Mori was one of the distinguished guests present at the small celebration.

Ambassador Hughes in her speech utilized the historical context of the United States beginning with the revolutionary war that began in Massachussets a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. She spoke of the civil war between the Northern and Southern States that occurred nearly a hundred years later that resulted in Constitutional Amendment 13 which freed slaves and abolished slavery in the US. Fifty five years later women in the United States were given the right to vote with the passage of Amendment 19.

"So it took time," she said. "The institutionalization and defense of our values has required grassroots mobilization, strategic compromise, freedom of expression and sometimes, gut-wrenching human sacrifice. America has paid the price, including on the beaches and high in the cliffs of the Pacific.

"We did not advance through back room politics or quick infusions of cash. Progress and unity as a nation came rather from the hard, daily struggle to make good laws, build democratic institutions, resolve differences peacefully, and share power justly. Economic development depended upon an enabling legal architecture, as well as educational preparation, and the active participation of our citizens. We worked toward a stable regulatory environment, sound systems of taxation and cooperation among states for the common good, which helped unleash creativity in every field of human endeavor.

"It is vital to American interests today that sovereign nations, in accordance with their particular circumstances and traditions, meet the basic needs of their people. The United States is committed across the board to generous and transparent partnership with the FSM..."

"...Just in the past month, for example, our small U.S. Embassy has: engaged the FBI to deliver workshops on white collar crime; welcomed doctors from the Centers for Disease Control to share their expertise on multi-drug resistant tuberculosis; transmitted a framework airport security agreement from the Transportation Security Administration; with the Department of the Interior, initiated a $3 million grant to repair health and education facilities in all four FSM states; demonstrated a new Internet link for private sector networking; worked intensely to prepare for the arrival later this summer of the biggest U.S. Naval hospital ship in the world; and urged the FSM Government to engage in frank and creative dialogue with us on ways to make the Amended Compact work better, for which we share joint responsibility.

"We are aware that none of these and our many other programs and initiatives come easily. It is not the way of Uncle Sam or our Founding Fathers to hand out gifts on sterling platters. America was not made that way. During that hot summer in Philadelphia more than 230 years ago, from our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a civil war, to the hard fought battles of the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way. But Americans held firm to their founding values. With the approach of U.S. Presidential elections, we are now engaged in vigorous and open public debate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

As the FSM also struggles at this pivotal time to overcome internal and global challenges, please know that your American partners understand because we have and will continue to face similar problems. Our engagement is multifaceted, relevant, and historically profound. Some of the Americans who are here today have chosen to make their homes with you and to dedicate their talents to your country. I wish we could have invited every American in Pohnpei and Micronesia to this reception, but unfortunately our resources don't stretch that far this year."