Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Musings: Beggars and Fools

Clouds were racing across the sky when Koko and I went walking this morning, all of us headed for the mountains, driven by a wind that caused the treetops to mimic the sound of breaking surf.

The moon, shaved to a sliver, appeared briefly and then was lost again to the clouds, which drifted away from the horizon and let the sun slide into the sky, a yellow orb that tinted the world first lavender-pink, then orange, then gold, as a light shower blew in.

Just then I ran into my neighbor Andy, and we took brief shelter under a tree and talked about the poor writing skills of so many students and instructors at KCC, local politicians we considered evil and, seeing as how it was trash day, trash cans.

As he talked, Koko and his dog Momi sat at rapt attention, worshiping at the altar of Andy, or at least the little bag of dog biscuits he carries in his pocket. Well, Momi sat anyway. Koko, standing up on her back legs, adopts more of an organ grinder's monkey kind of pose.

It’s not unlike the scene at the Capitol these days. The Lege has a baggie full of money and power, and those of us who want something, like a moratorium on GMO taro research — which will be voted on Thursday morning — or testing for depleted uranium at military training areas beg and wait for handouts.

Speaking of military training areas, I had to respond yesterday to a letter from a Navy captain who was unhappy about the piece I wrote for the Honolulu Weekly on military and other activities at the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument.

My favorite line in Capt. W.S. Gureck’s letter was: “The Navy has [been] and will remain a good steward of the environment.” Guess the good captain has never been to Kahoolawe, Makua Valley, Pearl Harbor or Midway, to name but a few of the places they've trashed.

Anyway, how do you respond when the Navy is telling you that your anti-military bias prevents you from accurately reporting the pro-military propaganda that it wants you to report?

Made me think of a comment made by farmer Jerry, whom I also ran into on my walk this morning. April Fool’s really ought to be a holiday, he said, since so many of us are. Couldn’t argue with that one…..

Heard through the wireless – the Hawaiian tel kind, not coconut — that the Western Pacific Fisheries Council must conduct a “re-do” of the meeting it held in Guam because it wasn’t properly noticed in the Federal Register. Now that’s the first time I’ve ever encountered such a thing. What an embarrassment for Wespac.

Dick Mayer, one of those who monitors Superferry stuff, sent two links to the most recent Superferry Task Force report to the Lege. I couldn’t open either of them, as the applications kept quitting. But Brad Parsons, who did read the reports, sent around an email that mentioned “the shocking number of 31 whale sightings per day by the ship for the 8 days of Feb.” that it was in service before going into drydock.

Katy Rose today sent a link to a very interesting article about how Martin Luther King Jr. got really radical toward the end and was moving beyond civil rights to a major economic and social restructuring of society. And of course we know what happened to him after that.

Katy observed: “Note how early in the article questions about MLK's ‘sanity’ are raised, casting a shadow over the rest of the article.”

Of course, anyone who has ever been involved in movements for social and/or political change knows it does make you a little crazy to go up against the system. It requires a certain obsession to devote your life to a cause. But if you feel it, it makes you crazier to look the other way, and ignore that fire inside.

On that note, I’ll close with this quote from Queen Liliuokalani:

I could not turn back the time for political change, but there is still time to save our heritage. You must remember never to cease to act because you fear you may fail. The way to lose any earthly kingdom is to be inflexible, intolerant and prejudicial. Another way is to be too flexible, tolerant of too many wrongs and without judgment at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"It is not upon you to finish the work. Neither are you free to desist from it" - Rabbi Tarfon