by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmers Daughter, July 22, 2016
Something that has been lost in politics is the ability to work together. In Hawaii where we were accustomed to working with people who don’t look the same or speak the same language, the locals somehow figured it out. That was the lessons learned on the plantations. Lots of people reminisce about those days as small kid times or hanabatta days.
Just take a look at what’s happening nationally with the presidential race. Everyday you hear Donald Trump insulting someone or Hillary Clinton on the defense on something he said. When Bernie Sanders was in the fray, you’d see his followers get all angry and vile towards Clinton. It really is an ugly mess that I truly am totally disgusted about. The national political arena doesn’t need to come to Hawaii. We have got to start looking for leaders who will work together with others, not just themselves and promote exclusionary policies.
What we forget many times is that leaders are supposed to be the example to the people. If that person can’t think before he or she talks and then acts badly, that sends a strong message to the public that the behavior is acceptable. For me as a mom, if I’m misbehaving around me kids and then see them acting the way I was, I can’t condemn their behavior if I was the example. It’s the same when it comes to politics.
I was so hopeful to see Representative Tulsi Gabbard asking for the House to vote on the Zika appropriations bill to bolster funding to address it. There was a beautiful press release that almost alluded to her supporting it. However, after that info went out, nothing was issued to inform the public what happened on it. It turns out that she voted against this bill despite her asking for a vote on it. The ‘say one thing and do another’ is easy called out with this woman and it scares me on how she is misleading the public. Is that the kind of leadership we deserve in Hawaii? Shouldn’t leaders be transparent to their constituents about where they stand on these issues and even follow up?
When politics start to affect public health and well being, there’s a major problem there. As a public servant, shouldn’t one be looking out for the well being of their constituents? Wouldn’t you want to have people knowing where you stand and what actions you’re taking? Don’t you want people to feel safe and that you’re doing your best to protect them? I do.
This year I’m voting against the grain, and against all odds. The “environmental movement” has become an industry in Hawaii with lots of political power and it’s not based on good evidence. With farms and fisheries facing closures by those who least understand it and using underhanded, undemocratic methods, Hawaii stands to lose tremendously. Those who are trying to bring more local food production are being attacked by outside, mainland groups with lots of litigation. There’s a trend of people who support excluding others in decisions that will affect livelihoods. These community dividers also seek to attack those who are feeding people and tending the land all in the name of “malama the aina.” There’s no ability for collaboration when those who operate on the ‘ends justifies the means’ mentality. Every issue becomes so polarized and divisive. That sends me the message that something is very wrong here.
At a time when our communities need to heal from these outside mediated attacks, a new breed of “aloha aina” or “malama the aina” folks want to continue this divide. How can the people of Hawaii ever rebuild relationships and communities of we’re constantly at battle with each other? These so called “progressives” are very keen on keeping us divided by the stance with which they take. How can societies progress when they are in a war? They simply can’t. While the battle rages on, more and more of what makes Hawaii special goes with it.
Hawaii is in need of some real, grounded leaders. That leader needs to be willing to come to the table and talks story with everyone so that an accord can be formed. People simply have to agree to work together. We all live in this beautiful island state that we all cherish. We love the unique local ways here. We can’t thrive if we keep putting leaders in office who create divides in our communities. Real progress comes from people all working together and collaborating on building their communities and helping people thrive. We all deserve that in Hawaii. Our leaders need to be willing to work with others to build and shape the future for everyone. Isn’t that what our keiki all deserve?
Related: Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted May 23, 2016