Coconut palms silhouetted against a brightening, pink-streaked sky had me looking up as I walked this morning.
I was thinking about a book I’ve been reading, Robert Gerzon’s “Fiinding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety,” and one sentence in particular: “The main characteristic of authentic leaders is their willingness to tell the truth.”
Fortunately, we’ve got some authentic leaders in our state Legislature, but it remains to be seen whether their numbers are sufficient to prevent a highly questionable special session to bailout Hawaii Superferry.
I think it’s worth remembering, as politicians ponder a special session, that those demonstrating against the Superferry on Kauai repeatedly chanted: “Hawaii Supreme Court said no.”
Despite being portrayed as rabidly anti-ferry, the Kauai movement was born solely from the desire to have an EIS done on the project. Superferry attorney Lisa Munger’s persecution complex aside, activists were not seeking to “punish” or destroy the ferry, but simply have it comply with the law.
A special session to exempt the ferry from a court-mandated environmental review is not going to sit well with many Kauai residents, especially those who lined the seawall and jumped in Nawiliwili Harbor to stop the ferry.
A special session also is likely to be viewed as bullying by the Oahu-dominated Legislature. As Kauai radio host Scott Mijares noted, if the Superferry issue has made anything clear, it’s that it doesn’t matter what Kauai wants. “They could come over here and build a dump for their trash and we couldn’t do a thing to stop them.”
Is bailing out the Superferry worth fostering that sense of disenfranchisement? House Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell seems to be akamai about that issue, and has expressed concern about ignoring the minority voices of the Neighbor Islands.
When an issue becomes this emotional, Rep. Mina Morita said, “all you can do is look to the rule of law.”
But what if you have a governor, administration and corporation that behaves as if it is above the rule of the law, and is trying to get the Legislature to go along with the lie that it did nothing wrong?
Well, then you’re likely to see law-abiding citizens resisting that sort of totalitarian regime, and a crack down by Lingle and her “unified command” in response.
It’s already happened on Kauai. And unless you learn from history, it has a way of repeating itself.
By the way, check out Ian Lind’s blog about DOT’s emergency appropriation — approved by Lingle the day she came to Kauai — to purchase helmets, body shields, gas masks and other gear to protect harbor police from “civil unrest.”
While the “civil unrest” on Kauai was totally spontaneous, the government’s response, it appears, is very carefully thought out.