Saturday, September 22, 2007

Musings: Perverting Reality

My neighbor, Andy Bushnell, broke the good news this morning when we met on the street while walking our dogs: the Superferry had the sense to cancel its trip to Kauai Wednesday, rather than face the inevitable ugly showdown with protestors. It’s too bad Gov. Lingle failed to exercise the same wise restraint, and instead decided to play hardball when she earlier chose to let the ferry return.

Yesterday, Lingle went crying to the Oahu reporters about her “rude” reception on Kauai. It’s a strange perversion of reality — aided and abetted by the media and PR teams — when Lingle and the Superferry are made to look like victims in a sordid scenario entirely of their own making.

The govenor’s reaction to the Kauai meeting only serves to show how totally out of touch she is with the situation here. I’m not a rude girl myself, and Andy Parx really didn’t need to yell, “F--- you,” (the only profanity I heard) but truly, what did Lingle expect? She was facing a crowd that has never, ever been consulted about the ferry, whose elected officials (well, some of them anyway, the ones with guts and brains) had begged her to let the legal process run its course, and whose members had already experienced two days of land and sea confrontation with law enforcement that resulted in numerous arrests.

And what about Lingle's own message? It was not one of peace, reconciliation, mediation, compromise or respect. Lingle came solely to lecture the crowd on her planned crackdown against dissent, and to threaten everyone with fines, federal prison sentences and even investigations by Child Protective Services if they dared step out of line.

Did she really think, at this point in the game, that 1,000 people (we won’t count the 150 Superferry employees and supporters brought over from Oahu) who took the time to drive into Lihue were going to politely listen to her propaganda, and then meekly obey?

Maybe Lingle needs to leave the deadness of the city and visit the real world more often.

But even if Lingle didn’t get the message, Superferry did. Kauai is a scrappy place, and now a number of its residents feel sufficiently empowered to actively resist.

So how will Kauai folks use their new-found energy, resolve and power?