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LETTERS for December 6 issue

By Staff | Dec 6, 2012

Proud to live in Lahaina

While on a recent trip to Seoul, on the wall of a building filled with sayings, I was impressed by one that said, “Be proud of where you are from, but be glad where you are now.” As a resident of Lahaina for the past seven years, I am very glad and proud to be where I am now. But never more proud than over this past weekend!

As a proud parent of a Lahainaluna High School varsity football player, I want to give a huge “mahalo” to this community for all that you have given to our young people. As our football team left the school on Thanksgiving evening to head to the airport for the flight to Honolulu to play in the state championship game, they were sent off by our community with an impromptu celebration down Lahainaluna Road.

Although I was already in Honolulu, I saw the reports of the road lined with cheering fans, escorts of the Maui Fire and Police departments and of local residents in their cars. A similar celebration greeted our players as they returned from the hard-fought game on Saturday afternoon.

I also wanted to thank the fans and supporters of our football team. Many of you attended every game, even if you had no relatives on the team or were not alumni. You were just proud to encourage your team! Some were able to travel to Aloha Stadium to show their support for the team along with the many that watched on OC16. Mahalo to you all for your dedication to be proud of Lahainaluna High School.

Finally, I want to thank our coaches, trainers and administrative staff at Lahainaluna. You give so much of your own time and resources to shape our players and students into men and women that Lahaina can be proud of. You go well beyond the Xs and Os of the sport to show these young people how to be leaders in the future, whether it is on or off the playing field. Many will return to coach others later in their lives because of the values that you have taught them today. Our players exemplified integrity, honor and class on the playing field. Mahalo for your love and concern for our kids.

I told my son after the game that even though you may give everything that you can on the field, sometimes you do not win. But winning on the scoreboard is not where success is measured – it is measured in being a winner in life.

Congratulations, Lahainaluna! You are winners! And we are extremely proud that you represented us!

CHRIS MARTIN, Pastor, Lahaina Baptist Church


Northern neighbors responded to storm

I would like to respond to Mr. Robert P. Potter’s letter in your Nov. 15 issue, where he decries the lack of response from other nations to assist the U.S. during the Hurricane Sandy disaster.

I would like to advise your readers that there was a response from your northern neighbors, with convoys of trucks from Ontario Hydro and Hydro Quebec to help with the repairs to the blackouts and power outages caused by this devastating storm.

KATHY SCOTT, North Saanich, B.C., Canada


The classy election of 2012

An Occupy Wall Street sign said it best: “They only call it class warfare when we fight back!”

Over four long decades, American working families and poor people have seen wages stagnate, social services slashed and our unions attacked. Since the Great Recession hollowed out housing prices, millions of Main Street Americans have watched their life savings wither. U.S. inequality is festering.

Meanwhile, life over on Wall Street just keeps getting rosier, and those one-percenters seem oblivious to the pain they’ve caused.

“People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right,” Massachusetts Senator-Elect Elizabeth Warren said last summer at the Democratic National Convention. “The system is rigged. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs – the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs – still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors and acting like we should thank them.”

Most working families have known about this rigging for years. The one percent leverages its money power to keep politicians in line. As the bank bailout showed, the banks are “too big to fail,” and Wall Street has too much control over Congress for our lawmakers to change that.

The tide may have turned. In 2011, working people and students in Wisconsin held massive protests against a top-down attack on their rights. They narrowly lost a battle to remove Republican Gov. Scott Walker from office, but Romney lost Wisconsin on Election Day. Not only that, he lost Janesville, his running mate Paul Ryan’s hometown. At the same time, progressive Rep. Tammy Baldwin won a Senate seat.

In Ohio, union-driven mass-mobilization in 2011 garnered less nationwide attention than in Wisconsin. But the Buckeye State passed a statewide ballot referendum – with over 60 percent of the vote – that protected collective bargaining. And Sen. Sherrod Brown, a stalwart progressive, won a tough reelection race in Ohio.

Normally, the need to amass campaign war chests naturally makes presidential and Senate candidates tone down rhetoric that might offend their deep-pocketed supporters. But this year, the visceral anger that so many voters felt toward the one percent escaped the normal, “acceptable” bounds.

Even conservative Republicans broke the unwritten rules of electoral politics with overtly class-conscious attacks. When Rick Perry balked at Mitt Romney’s bizarre $10,000 bet during a GOP primary debate and attacked the candidate for “vulture capitalism,” he helped lay the groundwork for making class a campaign issue in 2012. So did Newt Gingrich, when he ripped into Romney for being one of those “rich people figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company.”

The Super PAC allied with Obama, Priorities USA Action, followed these attacks with a series of ads hammering the Republican nominee based on the record of Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded.

Those class-conscious attacks worked. By late September, Romney’s negative rating was up to 48.7 percent. Even a reluctant class warrior like Barack Obama was effectively using class anger at the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington to electoral advantage – especially in the Rustbelt’s swing states.

Class played an even bigger role in Senate races. Populist candidates Warren in Massachusetts, Brown in Ohio and Baldwin in Wisconsin all overcame hundreds of millions of dollars in attack ads by openly standing up for working families. They promised to grow the economy from “the middle class out and the bottom up,” as Warren put it.

Like Brown and Baldwin, she promised to protect Medicare and Social Security, rein in Wall Street and reduce the influence of big money in politics.

I’d say they all beat their Republican opponents by outclassing them.

The Occupy Wall Street movement made the gulf between the rich and poor in America a matter of public, rather than academic, concern. The 2012 elections proved that big ideas can change voting patterns.

Wall Street, take note: Main Street has spoken.

STEVE COBBLE, Institute for Policy Studies