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LETTERS for March 3 issue

By Staff | Mar 3, 2016

Change Hawaii’s voting day

With the national election fast approaching in November, my concern is the low voter turnout in our state. In the elections held in 2014, there were 705,890 registered voters, and 309,642 voted (46.4 percent) – a pretty dismal showing. Let’s examine why. On election day, Tuesday morning, you wake up, turn on the TV, and Mr. X has already won the election. We are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, several time zones away from the East and West Coast. In fact, the Hawaiian Island chain may even touch the International Date Line.

The solution would be to change the voting day in Hawaii to Monday. Can you imagine the significance of this election? Forty-nine states would be focused on the election outcome in Hawaii.

I have suggested changing the voting day to two different congressional representatives, but to no avail. It is my hope that others will see the value in making this change and take up the cause.



Respect the locals and their dogs

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

To all visitors to West Maui, especially Kapalua, be careful and think before you say anything derogatory to locals and about our canine companions. Your snide comments are hurtful, yet I held back from confronting you.

How do you know if one isn’t handicapped (PTSD, psychological issues, or any of many things), and our canine companions are our service/therapy animal? Or, perhaps, our canine companion has a medical condition.

You are visiting our island, so respect the locals and our canine companions. As I stated above, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Mahalo to those who are knowledgeable about certain dog breeds, and appreciate them and how loving and sensitive they are.



GOP must protect the Constitution

In November 2014, the American people elected a Republican Senate, clearly intending that it would act as a check on a president whose liberal policies had made him unpopular with all but his devoted partisans.

Now, we will see whether the Republicans will do the job for which they were elected. If they allow Obama to put another left-winger comparable to Sotomayor and Kagan on the Supreme Court, the 2014 election will have been in vain.

Obama sees this as an opportunity to stack the deck before the court considers his flagrantly unconstitutional policies on such issues as amnesty and energy.

Every senator took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” Allowing the confirmation of another justice who will consistently vote to ignore and overturn that Constitution would be a violation of that oath.

PETER J. THOMAS, Americans for Constitutional Liberty


It’s time to stop tinkering

Most of us have that person in our life – maybe we even are that person – who hates to throw anything away and thus, despite multiple problems over a length of time, will tinker with something in an attempt to patch it up enough that it remains functioning, at least in part. My dad would do this with cars, borrowing parts from other cars, painting over scratches, and attempting to jimmy-rig whatever he could to get a few more drives out of the old Caprice Classic. At some point, though, he realized that it’s just not a good plan to have to jumpstart the car every time before you drive it. Having such a broken vehicle is cumbersome, inefficient and prone to other bigger problems, like leaving the drivers stranded somewhere dangerous. A desperately broken car can even be deadly. The time comes, sometimes, to just get a new car.

This is how I feel about many vexing social issues in the U.S.

Take the death penalty. It has been decades since the Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia (1972) that the processes used by states to impose death sentences were far too arbitrary and issued a moratorium that lasted four years. Since that time, many states have elected to abolish the death penalty, but others carry on, despite continued requirements to make an array of adjustments, including ensuring only judges issue death sentences, prohibitions on executing the mentally ill and juvenile offenders, and more. Justice Harry A. Blackmun renounced such “tinkering with the machinery of death” in February 1994. Repeated cases before the court could have been “the one,” the time when they finally decided enough already. But no – the court has not yet had the courage to do more than monkey around with the desperately broken systems of capital punishment. The time has come to get a new car, people. Stop tweaking this fatally flawed system.

Then there is the issue of gun laws. Hotly debated and politically charged, the conversation is almost always focused on tinkering with our laws – adding here, removing there – a brutal catfight that has resulted in a total hodgepodge, all revolving around the interpretation of a one-sentence Amendment adopted 225 years ago. This despite the fact that a recent study found more Americans have died from gun violence since 1989 than from all combat since the Revolutionary War. Stop tinkering, people. Abolish the Second Amendment and make all guns illegal. There, I said it.

Another unrelated issue on which tinkering can no longer be our answer: football. Not only do numerous studies show the physical damage to players, with high rates of concussions and data showing that professional football players have life expectancies some 20 years less than both white and black males, but new research is also linking football games to increased rates of sexual assault on campuses. A report by Shankar Vedantam on NPR on Feb. 17, 2016 noted that on home game days, there was a 41 percent increase in rape reports among 96 Division I universities with football teams. Enough, already. No amount of tinkering can change the fact that football is inherently violent. Let’s end this violent sport and allow gifted athletes to pursue other less dangerous (individually and socially) athletics.

I doubt this perspective will be popular. That’s fine. I am not out to win a popularity contest. Rather, I wish only that the U.S. would be brave enough, strong enough, creative enough all those qualities on which we pride ourselves, which are viewed as quintessentially American to stop messing around with deeply broken systems and to pursue radical transformations that will make the U.S. a better country.