Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Musings: Take Charge/Stop Waiting

Venus was glowing, looking twice her usual size in the moist air of a dew-drenched dawn, when Koko and I went walking this morning. Both Waialeale and Makaleha were totally clear, allowing me to gaze upon all the many bumps and knobs and notches that characterize their summits, as a meadowlark, hidden in a pasture, joyfully repeated its bright metallic song.

The sun rose through a bed of pink swirls and then was suddenly freed, its light bright, yet diffused into a rosy haze by all the moisture in the air.

It was decidedly cool, offering yet more proof of our descent into fall. I pointed out other signs to my former neighbor Andy when we went walking on the mountain trail last Sunday: a fallen red leaf, Christmas berries turning from pink to dark red. And I noticed today that the plumeria trees are losing their flowers.

I also noticed how the very old man that I see each day, frail, yet walking miles, always with a warm smile and a bright “good morning” for me, had rigged up a little set of steps, replete with a pole for balance, to allow him to get over the high guardrail so he can access the Kawaihau Road walking path from his back yard. It was so ingenious, and an example of how he had taken charge of a situation, determined not to let any obstacle stand in his way.

It made me think of the story about the Maui woman, as reported in The Maui News, who survived the tsunami on Samoa because she’d had the sense to escape to high ground after she was knocked down by a severe earthquake. The first wave came just eight minutes later:

As she fled in a van, Cristiane "Kiki" Martins said she and others screamed at villagers to escape to higher ground. But the Paia resident said she saw some families stay behind in their homes, waiting for a warning or evacuation order that wouldn't come in time.

Two days later, I was talking with our own Civil Defense administrator, Mark Marshall. He mentioned that people tend to think government will save them, and that it has warehouses filled with blankets and cots. “We don’t,” he said. Even at the shelters, all that’s guaranteed is 10 square feet of space. And maybe a working toilet and drinking water — or maybe not.

So if we’re essentially on our own in a situation as dramatic as an earthquake or hurricane or tsunami, why do we keep looking to government to save us or guide us or even do right by us in all the other situations that affect our lives, like climate change and health care and Afghanistan and the economy?

As one person noted in a comment left yesterday on Saturday’s post:

The joke is.......people running our government don;t have a clue


Anonymous said...

So, just how does one "Take Charge/Stop Waiting" to solve problems "like climate change and health care and Afghanistan and the economy?"

Write your congressman? Stop eating fast food? Buy a hybrid car? Go solar? Join a peace protest?

Yah...that'll work.

Like the woman and her kids smart enough to seek the high ground after the quake and before the wave, let everyone who can seek his/her own "high ground"...whatever that may be.

The highest ground I can think of is zero debt and serious money in the bank coupled with good health.

Beyond that, it's all a crap shoot and the odds are definately not in the player's favor.

Anonymous said...

"As one person noted in a comment left yesterday on Saturday’s post:

The joke is.......people running our government don;t have a clue"

Not quite. The people that elect these representatives people don't have clue. "Write your congressman? Stop eating fast food? Buy a hybrid car? Go solar? Join a peace protest?" Yes do all that for starters. "Get involved in the island it will make you more Hawaiian" - Sudden Rush

Ed Coll said...

Rx for a better future:
1 get informed
2 get involved
3 model changes you want to see
4 organize
5 vote/run
6 protest
7 resist
8 take direct action

Repeat as often as needed and adjust order and dosage of Rx as necessary.

Anonymous said...

Repeat as often as needed to convince yourself that it really matters in the grand scheme of things, while watching the whole enchalata circle the drain.

Bush out...Obama in...now we're cookin'....or are we?

Maybe the next guy/gal will do it.

Wealth distribution...food/water for all...end of wars...another season for Lost...

If we just do those 8 things over and over, it'll happen...

Let's all straighten up those deck chairs on our Titanic.

Anonymous said...

As I wandered the aisles in Costco, I wondered if this too, would come to no good. Then I went home and showed my kids the cool two beam flashlights that I bought. If we can make a quantum leap in flashlight design, surely we can solve the problems of the world.

Anonymous said...

"If we can make a quantum leap in flashlight design, surely we can solve the problems of the world."

yes its good to have hope and share optimism. of course a little cash reserve doesn't hurt either. both are just part of the solution. good luck to us all.

ps..ed's RX is spot on. those deck chairs never looked better :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they put another coat of varnish on those Titanic chairs, because the water is already coming up over my ankles.

But I'm going to "take direct action" (#8) by making damn sure I'm one of the first in a lifeboat!

Remember, there's not enough lifeboat room for all...

Anonymous said...

Over your ankles? Stop wading and dive in.

Anonymous said...

Hell, no!

I'm staying as high and dry out of this present and coming shitstorm as I can get.

Everyone's going to get some on 'em, but not everyone's going to drown.

And, no, you can't get in my lifeboat!

Anonymous said...

Omg. Did I see the liberal Joan saying we cannot rely on the government to take care of us? OMG !!!

Anonymous said...

Or as Friedman puts it,
"As the environmentalist Rob Watson likes to say, “Mother Nature is just chemistry, biology and physics.” That’s all she is. You can’t spin her; you can’t sweet-talk her. You can’t say, “Hey, Mother Nature, we’re having a bad recession, could you take a year off?” No, she’s going to do whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate, based on the amount of carbon we put in the atmosphere, and as Watson likes to add: “Mother Nature always bats last, and she always bats a thousand.”

Anonymous said...

"based on the amount of carbon we put in the atmosphere,"

Sounds like something partially under human control that affects what nature will do based upon our actions.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand america's use of sports metaphors to explain every serious issue. This country is so immature.

wakeup said...

Have we become so dumbed down that the very important fact Joan just put in black & white: we have BILLIONS & BILLIONS, TRILLIONS to spend on wars, maiming and killing people but thereʻs no $$$ to keep American kids in school?

Lingle like Bush, lacking severely in education; no surprise that the 1st thing to get cut is education.

Lingle should be charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors. How many kids in Hawaii schools? Thatʻs how many counts on her criminal charges.

In case nobodyʻs realized it yet, she is committing some serious crimes.

I say, you as a parent try to keep your kid out of school for too many days = what happens?

Anonymous said...

at one time, around '06 i think, it was about $1B every 2,3-4 days (in iraq)

some guy said that if we had just loaded up large enough bundles of 100 dollar bills, we could have instead just taken the money and dropped in on the heads of the insurgents and killed that that way / would have been cheaper

young_atheist_male or dwps aminland mentality