Woke at first light all happy, birds twittering, dogs sighing contentedly beneath my caresses, fragrance of a bedside gardenia wafting past my nose. Ahhhh. Then I picked up my smart phone, scanned The Garden Island and felt the growl rising. So I took a cue from my feathered friends, got up and started singing. And like magic, the grrrr disappeared.
Which is why I am now able to say calmly, and without venom, perhaps Chris D'Angelo's editor needs to impose a quota on the number of stories he may write each week about Surfrider and Gordon LaBedz. I mean, two front page articles in three days pushing Surfrider's political agenda? Isn't that just a bit much? Especially when one was about a non-event and the other a future non-event.
Heck, it's enough to make you wanna vote for fresh-faced farm boy Arryl Kaneshiro — even though he is a Grove Farm employee and son of six-term Kauai County Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro. And mark my words, Arryl is gonna get way more votes in the Council race than Felicia Cowden or any “red shirt” candidate.
Because a political backlash has been building here for months, and its candidates are beginning to emerge.
I noticed on Facebook that Sol Kahn and others were sharing a photo of an “Arthur Brun for Council” sign, with the message that Arthur works for Syngenta and thus “must be stopped.” Because for some, there is apparently only a single issue of import on this island: GMOs. The mainland-based, 1%-er funded Center for Food Safety has set up an Oahu office to exploit that sentiment, designating itself “a new voice in Hawaii's food politics" and preaching there's just one way to salvation: its way.
Gee, didn't we do that missionary schtick already?
When I think of Arthur Brun, it's about the testimony he delivered in opposition to the 2010 bill that approved vacation rentals on ag land — and allowed only the folks who had been operating illegally to seek permits. While a number of future “red shirts” were clamoring for the bill's passage, Arthur was one of the very few who spoke against this travesty of justice and misuse of farm land:
“This bill is wrong. What about the local families that had farm land for generations and followed the law? You’re making our families that followed the law suffer. I don’t think you should be punishing the people who followed the law.
Do what is right for the 60,000 people of Kauai, not the 26 people of Kauai.”
With all the many woes facing this island — ice abuse, poverty, homelessness, hunger, gentrification of ag lands, ecosystem degradation, cultural exploitation, a precariously unbalanced economy — we can't afford the luxury, the distraction, of single-issue politics.
As a wise Big Islander noted in an email the other day:
Tom Wolfe, novelist and New Journalism pioneer, staunchly believes that status is the great motivator in American life. I think he's on to something. Subcultures born of political kinship and fellow feeling nourish our yen for status and affirmation. Independent thought is much more gnarly; it veers away from easy and comfortable associations and takes a little courage.
My sense is that people grasp for these group-think communities for lack of a clear personal identity and purpose in a society — Hawaii, particularly — that does not easily afford firm footing. As for Andrew Kimbrell, Vandana Shiva, Nomi Carmona et al, the movement offers self-aggrandizement and, in many cases, a sustaining livelihood. It's tempting to posit some grand economic determinism behind all this, but I'm inclined to think it's exactly what it appears to be — opportunists leading people who find succor in being led.
Which seems a very fitting segue to this sad-beautiful performance by sand artist Kseniya Simonova on “Ukraine Got Talent.”
Have a great weekend, and a warm mahalo to all those who are donating to Kauai Eclectic. I deeply appreciate your financial contributions, and most especially, your words of encouragement and support for independent thought.