The stars were shining, the air was crisp, the mountains were clear and my mind, focused on the Presidential election results, was singing “Ding dong the witch is dead, the wicked witch, the witch is dead,” when the neighbor’s pit bull took advantage of an open gate and charged Koko this morning.
Now when you have a small dog, you get used to it being mugged by large dogs — a kumu hula once told me he turned into a tiger to rescue his Pomeranian from two hunting dogs — so even though my mind had stopped singing and instead was imagining the worst case scenario of Koko’s pin head in the pit’s large jaws — it was too dark to see exactly what was going down — I quickly became, in best “Dog Whisperer” fashion, leader of the pack.
In a loud firm voice, I said, "no!" and then, "easy," and the pit bull chilled and let me pet him. I think he was more curious than vicious, having seen Koko walk past his house hundreds of times.
My neighbor was concerned and sincerely apologetic, which I appreciated, and told him so. Tragedy averted, we continued on down the street, where I ran into farmer Jerry. Although he felt lousy, his cornfield was calling, so he was headed into work to check on his crop.
We both agreed that it was wonderful to have the elections behind us. I could almost feel the nation breathe a palpable sigh of relief. Or maybe it’s just me. For the first time in eight years, I didn’t wake up depressed after Election Day. Jerry wasn’t as enthusiastic as I about Obama’s win, saying: “I just hope he doesn’t tax me to death.”
“Well, if he does,” I said, “it’ll be to pay off all the debt that’s been racked up, like the $700 billion bailout and the $10 billion A MONTH we’re spending in Iraq.”
“Yup, we’ve got to pay that off,” agreed Jerry, predicting that Obama will leave office aged, with white hair. I think he meant because he has such an impossible task before him, and not that he’ll be in there for two terms, which would make him 54, and thus entitled to some white hairs, by the time he gets out.
I told him I’d heard about Obama’s win via an email from my young niece, born and raised in New Zealand, who’d been keeping an eye on the CNN website all day. She sent her congratulations, saying she and her friends thought this would help get America back on track.
Yes, the rest of the world has been freed, like us, from the grasp of greedy, petty tyrants leading us down the slippery slope to fascism. I know Obama’s not perfect, but I'm pretty sure he won’t be torturing people in secret prisons, refusing to meet with leaders of nations deemed the “Axis of Evil” and staffing the Justice Department with neo-Nazis, I mean, neo-cons.
As a friend noted, “Obama is so much more inclusive,” and Jerry and I agreed that perhaps his early years in Hawaii had something to do with that.
On the way back home, I ran into my neighbor Andy, and said, “At least today we’ve got reason to smile,” to which he replied: “Well, half a smile, anyway,” since he’s a JoAnn Yukimura supporter.
I voted for JoAnn, too, but don’t feel we’re headed to hell in a hand basket just because Bernard Carvalho was elected mayor. Well, not any more than we were under Bryan Baptiste, because Bernard will likely just be a continuation of that regime. Still, he could score some giant points by immediately firing planning director Ian Costa.
Andy wasn’t thrilled that Darryl Kaneshiro and Dickie Chang made it on the Council, saying the former was a proven disaster and he had absolutely no hope for the latter, but at least we have three new faces on that panel, and one of them is Lani Kawahara, who seems promising. I would have liked to see Kipukai Kualii in the mix, but hopefully he’ll run again.
Derek Kawakami did amazingly well, coming in second, so it looks like he’s started on a political track that could very well include mayor or the state Legislature.
And Kauai voters did manage to see through the badly worded, to be charitable, and downright deceptive, to be accurate, charter amendments and make the right choices. That is, aside from the sunshine law measure, where they were tricked into thinking that the Council would actually have to be more open, when the current charter is already stricter than the state law.
Oh well. At least the voters spoke loud and clear in saying they’re tired of folks with conflicts of interest and special interest and vested interest running the government and pretending like they’re serving the public interest.
Their overwhelming approval of the last and lengthy measure also shows that people want to put the brakes on growth, at least the kind that caters to tourists. I mean, what’s the point of having a General Plan if it’s not followed? I think anti-growth sentiment also played a role in Ron Kouchi losing his long-held seat on the Council.
I was very pleased to see that Big Island voters passed the so-called “Peaceful Skies” initiative, which makes marijuana the lowest priority for law enforcement and prevents the county from accepting federal funds for marijuana eradication. In other words, no more “Green Harvest,” with those damn helicopters flying everywhere. I’d love to see Kauai adopt a similar ordinance, and am willing to put some energy into it if others would like to help me.
Obama already has pledged that the feds won’t interfere any more with the states that have adopted medical marijuana laws, so that’s a step in the right direction.
“I feel hopeful, even though I know Obama’s not a miracle worker,” I told Andy.
“You know, maybe he will be a miracle worker,” Andy said, noting that the country was in such a malaise after Jimmy Carter that Ronald Reagan was able to come in and make some dramatic changes. Unfortunately, they weren’t the right ones, but Obama, who is also very charismatic, has a Democratic majority in Congress to support him and a public hungry for change.
And with the birds singing and the rising sun casting a golden-pink glow on Waialeale, it did feel like morning again in America.
Until a friend stopped by and said, "Yeah, yeah, just wait a few months and it'll be right back to business as usual......"