The Washington Post recently published a piece that claimed millennial voters — or at least, the 70 it interviewed — view the presidential race as a bad joke:
No matter who wins, they don’t think the next president will address their concerns or even have an impact on their lives. They have grim expectations for their government and have stopped looking to Washington for solutions. Why? Because they see it as too gridlocked — and its leaders too corrupted.
Uh, I got news for ya. That sentiment is not restricted to the under-30 set. Plenty of baby boomers feel the same way. Shoots, that same sense of alienation helped launched the “tune-in, turn-on, drop-out” mantra of the '60s.
But where boomers were into “do your own thing,” millennnials seem bent on ostracizing and shaming anyone with a different point of view:
This generation’s support for Sanders grew so intense that Allison McCartney recalled having to hide her Clinton favoritism.
“People who liked Clinton or thought she had anything worthy to say kind of had to hide in a digital hole for a while to let it blow over. Any time you posted anything vaguely pro-Clinton, it was like immediate swamping — ‘You’re a horrible person,’ ‘She’s a criminal.’ ”
And they wonder at the political extremism, the demise of tolerance, as if they themselves, with their self-absorption, superficiality, super-sized sense of entitlement and lack of critical thinking, played no part in the Sanders' charade, or where the world now stands.
Turning our attention to the local elections, what do the returns tell us about Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser and the food/farm “revolution” rhapsodized by his nonprofit HAPA?
Well, turns out they didn't catch the wave of change so much as a snapping shorebreak that hammered their candidates head first into the sand — with no lifeguard in sight.
Yes, every candidate trained by or affiliated with HAPA went down in defeat:
In the Senate 13th, Karl Rhoads beat HAPA’s Kim Coco Iwamoto 42-30. In the House 3rd, Ag Committee chair Clift Tsuji beat Kuleana’s Jonathan Wong 73-18. In the House 12th, Kyle Yamashita beat Kuleana’s Tiare Lawrence 51-44. In the House 13th, Lynn DeCoite beat Kuleana’s Alex Haller 56-36. In the House 14th, Nadine Nakamura defeated Kuleana’s Fern Rosenstiel 59-33. In the House 28th, John Mizuno beat HAPA’s Ikaika Hussey 68-27. In the House 48th, Ken Ito beat Kuleana’s Patrick Shea 68-25.
As for Hooser himself, he's clearly toxic. Perhaps even the most despised sitting politician in recent memory on Kauai.
Heck, he garnered less than half the votes of the top-runner for Council, and his support is pretty much concentrated in the predominantly white newcomer communities of Hanalei and Kilauea. When it comes to Hooser, the issue of race simply can't be ignored.
Hooser is obviously abhorred in central Kauai, where he ran 11th — behind political newcomers Norma Doctor Sparks and Juno Apalla — in Lihue, Puhi and Hanamaulu. Folks don't like him much in Hanapepe and Kekaha either, where he scored in the bottom three, or Waimea, where he was ninth.
Which leads to the question: Why in the world should Hooser be meddling in westside agriculture when the folks who live there clearly do not like or share his views?
Hooser was in the top seven, but barely, in his home precinct of Kapaa Middle School. They used to like him okay there. But not so much any more.
And apparently, people throughout the state hold a similar disdain for the revolution that Che Hooser is peddling.
So where does that leave us, now that voters are expressing their disgust for Hooser, and the three-year debacle he ushered in with Bill 2491? I liked the words of one anonymous commenter:
Let us not forget that while the strategy of dividing and pitting the community against itself to push an agenda seems to be foundering, it has nonetheless succeeded in dividing us. As good as it may feel to triumph, keep in mind that our success in wresting the focus of debate away from outside interest group agendas only leaves us at back at the starting line as far as addressing the real problems we face--drugs, affordable housing, waste management, infrastructure maintenance, economic opportunity and prosperity for the most vulnerable despite the crushing burden of our cost of living to name a few.
While I understand the sentiment, we cannot rightly ask a part of our community to "leave local politics" and "shut up". In returning to addressing our real issues, let us not now adopt the divisive, bullying tactics used to push 2491. Let us instead learn from that experience to strengthen our community against future divisive campaigns of that sort and find healthier ways to address our differences. There is no other way to succeed, and we owe it to both those who came before us and the future generations who will follow us.
Farmer Les Drent articulated a similar perspective on my Facebook post:
I'm hoping that they can now start to focus on matters of real importance to Kauai. Over development and abuse of Ag land, trashing of neighborhoods and communities by TVR's, education, traffic, drugs... I wish they would actually consider a serious capital gains tax to deter real estate speculation so that some of our extraordinary and well educated youth can return to Kauai and make a living. There is a horrible void of intellect with that generation on Kauai. Nobody can afford to live here but the wealthy and those limping by and on the edge of welfare.
Yes, there's much hard work to be done, and far more serious issues than the already highly regulated practices of the most successful agricultural enterprise in the Islands.
With Hooser, and his self-serving distraction on the way out, and a few new faces on the Council, Kauai is well-positioned to catch a wave, and tube it all the way to shore.