LETTERS for May 4 issue
New Zealand would be a good fit for Hawaii
Kia ora. Aloha. The people of Hawaii should consider whether they are a better fit for the United States or New Zealand. As only one New Zealander, I cannot speak for our country. However, I do suspect that if Hawaii wanted to become part of New Zealand, New Zealand would seriously consider the possibility.
I think you would agree that in terms of culture and values, you are more like New Zealand than you are like the rest of the United States. And we would not have a problem with the concept of a Pacific island being part of our country.
I switched from being part of the United States to being part of New Zealand. I do suggest that Hawaii give some thought to doing the same.
Of course, this would be a big step and should not be taken lightly. It would probably be good for some of you to visit the U.S. Mainland and New Zealand. Comparison after visiting both might help you decide. Ma te wa.
PAUL H. DEMCHICK, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Injustices impact land use in Hawaii
Unless there’s change, we’ll never have truly affordable housing, and Hawaiian culture will be lost to “western ways.”
Land thefts, water issues, homelessness, impaired reefs and historical sites destroyed are the result of greed.
Plantation closures left thousands of acres fallow with questionable prospects. Quiet title/quit-claims legally plunder that land for development.
Charitable and community organizations endorse and partner with developers. They rationalize wrongdoing, believing the end justifies the means.
Other injustices include disrespect for Hawaiian history. A Lahaina example is the Kahoma Village Project, building on David Malo’s homestead, gifted to him by Kamehameha III, and a historic battleground.
The Front Street adjacent property’s “Jesus Coming Soon” sign promises hope and forewarning. “See, I am coming soon to repay everyone according to their deeds.” Jesus.
“Look, a righteous King (Jesus) is coming with honest rulers… In those days the ungodly will not be heroes! Wealthy cheaters will not be spoken of as generous, outstanding men! Everyone will recognize an evil man when he sees him, and hypocrites will fool no one at all. The smooth tricks of evil men will be exposed, as will all the lies they use to oppress the poor in the courts. But good men will be generous to others and will be blessed of God for all they do.” Isaiah.
Do what’s right! Be generous with what you have. Practice honesty, integrity and contentment. “Turn to God and away from sin. It’s your life that must change.” John the Baptist.
MICHELE LINCOLN, Lahaina
Would Hawaii ban filtered cigarettes?
A possible future headline: “Hawaii first to ban sales of filtered cigarettes.” State legislator(s) who introduced bill cited pollution and health concerns. “We need to preserve and protect present and future generations of ALL life in the Aloha State.”
The long overdue measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Big Tobacco continues to insist filters are necessary components of cigarettes, because unfiltered is unhealthy and filtered cigarettes are… flavorful.
STEVEN BERGEY, Mountville, PA
Mobilizing progressive resistance
The progressive vision for America – to make life better for all families, not just the privileged elite at the top – has suffered setbacks. After the 2016 election, Republicans control the White House, both chambers of Congress and more than half of state governments.
Liberal hopes for free college, universal healthcare, equal opportunity, female rights, higher minimum wage, less militarism, less imprisonment and other left-wing goals seem doomed, at least for now. All that reform-minded folks can do is try to prevent losses of past social progress.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is trying to rally progressives into stronger unified resistance against the conservative Trump era. Her new book, “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class,” is a blunt weapon.
From the New Deal to the 1980s, she points out, America “built the greatest middle class the world has ever known.” She continues: “We built it ourselves, using our own hard work and the tools of government to open up more opportunities for millions of people. We used it all – tax policy, investments in public education, new infrastructure, support for research, rules that protected consumers and investors, antitrust laws – to promote and expand our middle class Income growth was widespread, and the people who did most of the work – the 90 percent of America – also got most of the gains.”
However, trickle-down economics under President Reagan turned the tables, giving ever-bigger favors to the rich, who used snowballing technology and their amassed wealth to corral more power.
Warren, a former Harvard professor, writes that she spent years researching the “great and terrible story” of middle-class decline. Today, college debt hobbles many families. Job insecurity grows as electronic breakthroughs wipe out more jobs. Wealth keeps amassing in hands of the one percent who control corporations and investments – and who stash their money in overseas shelters.
“People are angry because trade deals seem to be building jobs and opportunities for workers in other parts of the world, while leaving abandoned factories here at home,” Warren continues. ” Today, this country works great for those at the top. It works great for every corporation rich enough to hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers. It works great for every billionaire who pays taxes at lower rates than the hired help. It works great for everyone with the money to buy favors in Washington.”
She calls President Trump a man “always on the hunt for his next big con.” She urges progressives to follow the pattern of the million-member Women’s March on Washington to mobilize resistance against conservative attempts to slash the public safety net and human rights.
Another form of resistance is citizen lawsuits to prevent new law changes from scuttling past public gains locked into statutes.
With Republicans controlling most government power, will it be possible for progressives to resist effectively? Maybe… maybe not. But at least conscientious Americans shouldn’t just surrender.
JAMES HAUGHT, PeaceVoice