Tuesday, June 20, 2006


My 1993 letter to the editor

I wrote this in 1993, still feeling like the relative newcomer to Hawaii that I was. It may have been my first letter to the editor. I just found it while cleaning out the file cabinet and thought it is still pretty good, so here it is again.
In order for us to protect our land, water, air and way of life, we first have to take back control of these things from our government and public servants. No one will give us want we want unless we ask, insist, convince and convert.

Each day the newspaper reveals a new excess or a new deficiency. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit but continue to operate a defective sewage system that dumps raw human waste into our coastal waters. We allocate $450,000 to develop a software industry in Hawaii while our schools can't help our children learn to think with their heads. The "we" is each of us, you and me, my family and your family. Because until we demand change, we will not get it. The system is designed that way. But we are the ones letting it go on and on.

It should be clear that if we let government go unguided, it will go its own way. Sure, no government is free of corruption. Not everyone on a city council or in a state legislature can be a wise and representative leader, at least all of the time. Who can we blame but ourselves if we simply vote for those with the most power and influence and fail to tell them what to do with it? When I hear of cronyism or the "old boy network" I can only be angry with myself. I let it happen--I just read about it, complained to anyone within earshot, and then did nothing. So I am not angry with those old boys, because they are behaving as old boys will if I let them. Old boys will be old boys.

And I'm not angry with you, who may read this. Well, I am a little, to tell the truth. As a relative newcomer to Hawaii, I'm disappointed in how I find it is being kept. How can those who claim these beautiful Islands as their home let them be trampled, befouled and even raped? Let no one accuse me of "blaming the victim," because we who live here are not victims, we are the perpetrators.

It is not difficult to come up with a short list of things that we can accomplish, if we can join our voices together. My list may not look like your list, but between us we will come up with something we both want. For example, I would ask you if you want to fix the sewer system. The money can be found, because we will work on that, too. Would you like to have a bus or other transportation system that will take you from near where you live to near where you work? I would like that, too. We can have it, if you want it also, and if we go and get it,

There is a lot that you and I and our neighbors can talk about. Let's meet in your place or mine, or in the public libraries or on the streets. We can write things down, and ask our legislators to pass them into law. We can take the power and influence back for ourselves. I know we can, and you know we can. If we don't get together to do something, then we have only ourselves to blame for how they are.
Look at that--sewage system problems in 1993 that no one did anything about. It's not like I have a crystal ball or special powers. Anyone could have written the same thing back then. As we know, nothing was done.

I stand by my statement above that it is our fault.


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