The sky was a brilliant blanket of stars last night and that clarity persisted until morning, when Koko and I went walking beneath a sky that was blue in the center and soft pink along the edges. I ran into farmer Jerry almost immediately, and he pointed out the thinnest thumbnail of moon in the eastern sky, waning to a place of newness tomorrow.
Every crevice and jagged peak of every mountain was visible, and as I gazed upon Waialeale, which usually seems to be flat-faced, I realized a bowl has formed on its eastern side, which makes sense, considering how much water has poured down from that summit.
But none was flowing today, only mist lakes floating in distant pastures. The nippy air had prompted Jerry to bundle up in a flannel shirt, and my neighbor Andy had gotten a late start, saying it was just cold enough to make him want to linger in bed.
With both, the conservation turned to politics, which seems to be the favored topic of discussion with nearly everyone I encounter, even more than the economy. Andy was surprised that Rep. Mina Morita had appeared in an ad endorsing Derek Kawakami, who I happened to see at shopping at the Kapaa Big Save yesterday.
He and his wife were decked out in their red and gold Kawakami shirts, and he greeted everyone, including me, as he pushed his cart through the aisles. He’s better looking in person, more alert. He tends to look sort of sluggish in his photos.
Later, I mentioned seeing him to a friend, who said that another friend had told him that the Kawakami campaign was passing out tongs during its door-to-door canvassing, and nice ones, too. But he didn’t have any on him at Big Save.
I said I was favorably inclined toward Kipukai Kualii, whose dad was hanaied by the Corr family in Hanapepe, whom I like, and my friend said, yeah, but isn’t his campaign all about gay rights? I said no, I’d never heard a word of that. And why would that even be an issue for someone running for Counci, and who was spreading these homophobic rumors, anyway?
The conversation then turned to Lani Kawahara, and he said he’d liked her initially, but read that she favored the Superferry if they talked to the community, so that had turned him against her, and I said, I’ve got news for you, even JoAnn Yukimura is now supporting the Superferry.
Nah, he said, no way, and I said, yes, it’s true, so long as all the environmental concerns are addressed, but you know they never they can be, even if the EIS claims they can, so what does her position really mean, anyway?
He was even more surprised by the ad that showed Jimmy Nishida, a mutual friend and former JoAnn supporter, endorsing Bernard Carvalho with the words: “Bernard is a person you can trust to keep his word and follow through.”
“Maybe he trusts him but he’s not going to vote for him,” my friend ventured, and then it was my turn to say nah, no way.
Jimmy’s endorsement had also caught the eye of another mutual friend, and longtime JoAnn supporter, who I ran into on the mountain trail on Friday. He wasn’t surprised, noting only that “for a non-aggressive person, JoAnn sure has made a lot of enemies.”
Tis true. A lot of her supporters aren’t as wholehearted as they used to be, and some, like Jimmy, have jumped ship completely. I find that I’m uneasy with Bernard’s lack of experience, yet also uneasy with JoAnn’s experience. I’ve seen her in action, and it wasn’t always pretty.
Having someone I like and respect, like Jimmy, come out in favor of Bernard has given me pause, made me wonder what I've missed in my assessment, just like Mina’s endorsement of Derek, who I was prepared to write off. And several friends have asked for my opinion on candidates and ballot measures, which I know they’ll take seriously.
It struck me that these types of personal connections influence elections far more than campaign signs and debates and bumper stickers, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even if you try to be informed, what do you know about most of these people, anyway?
I read all the candidate statements submitted to Kauai People, and most of them sounded good, and surprisingly similar. Candidates can, and do, say anything, and the rumor mill further clouds the waters. So when it comes time to choose, if we’re uncertain, we turn to those we know and trust: our family and friends.