And that's a good thing. A very good thing.
What isn't such a good thing is how we got here. By which I mean the fricking fear and heavy dose of drama that has permeated this spectacle from the get-go.
I'm not sure what finally motivated the Council, which toyed with deferral through the long night, to finally pass the bill. Perhaps it was sheer exhaustion. Or maybe it was the prospect of having to hear all the same people deliver the same testimony for a fourth or fifth time if the bill got kicked down the road.
Perhaps it was the fear Nomi “BabesAgainst Biotech” Carmona might strip and launch into a lap dance, ala Monica Alves. Or maybe they'd just had enough of being bullied, verbally abused and threatened with everything from escalating civil disobedience to election defeat and I'll hold my breath until I turn blue.
Because T&A and tantrums are such effective ways of building an enduring movement and credibility in the larger community — the place where the average man/woman on the street tells me they're disgusted with both sides. And last night's televised theater was unlikely to win any converts.
The drama, though annoying, could at least be amusing: “We're exhausted,” the red shirts kept saying last night, though I'm not sure who told them that camping in front of the county building is a necessary part of the legislative process. “I'm tired of flying over here,” said Molokai's Walter Ritte, though I'm not sure who in GMO-Free Kauai decided it would be more beneficial to pay for his plane fare than, say, a water sample.
But there was nothing at all amusing about the fear-mongering that has driven this issue.
Both sides drummed it hot and heavy, from the chemical companies with their threatened job losses to the red-shirts with their spiel about how the entire island is a toxic waste dump and everyone is sick and dying.
Felicia Cowden addressed that underlying theme with her testimony about how “these very carnal fears of having your own child ruined could ruin any of us.” Though somehow she seemed oblivious to the complicity of her weekly KKCR radio show, which churns out a steady ill-informed dose of fear about chem trails, GMOs, smart meters, chemicals, conspiracies, etc.
So now that all these fears have been stimulated, how are they going to be eased?
Because despite the underlying urgency that drove last night's call for action, it will be many months before any health or environmental studies are completed. And it's anybody's guess as to whether the bill will ever be properly implemented or enforced.
But who needs enforcement? All that matters is getting the bill passed, right?
Now the sponsors can bask in the glory, the accolades, the hero worship, the comparisons to Kennedy (I kid you not) without having to worry about whether anything meaningful actually is, or even can be, implemented. Let the poor schmucks in Administration deal with those dull details.
Don't get me wrong. I'm happy the bill passed, gutted though it is. And I'm glad to see young people getting involved. I'm just sad they got such a perverted introduction to the political process, such a poor edumacation in how to make a movement.
But, hey, woo-hoo! We made history. The whole world is watching. We showed the big bad chemical companies. And all that.