The Power of a Small Band of Folks

This past Friday was our annual Kaneohe Elementary Fun Fair. I decided to help out as the food booth chair. I had no idea what I needed to do but did so to help out my friend who needed someone to organize it. It is a big responsibility because it makes a significant amount of money for the school also.

I was in charge of securing the food which meant getting it to the school. I had to order 240 pieces of pizza, tens of pounds of noodles, nearly 50 lbs of poke, as well as coordinating the set up, serving, and clean up after. Luckily, this rookie had the help of so many veteran food booth volunteers to get the ball rolling.

At the end of the fair, with lots of coordinating, every single bit of food was sold off. Based on my calculations, we should have made money from it. That money will go towards funding programs not covered by taxpayer funds.

As I ran around the booth getting food down and training volunteers as well as working the front to keep lines short, it was an amazing feat to realize our impact upon the 600 students of the school. Here were dozens of parents, teachers, staff at one given moment working together to better the lives of many. We all did this for every kid who attended this school.

Some of us spent hours preparing for the event and others gave an hour or two but the goal was the same. We were all there for all of the keiki in our community. What we raised impacted so many that day for years to come by enriching the curriculum. Kids get a better educational experience because of our efforts that will help guide their future by learning to love education.

Our small band of folks could reach out for so many. Our hours of meetings and behind the scenes work are investments for the future. By working together for a greater cause, we were doing something big. That is what we need in this day and age is to ask ourselves what do we want at the end of the day and we will find that the goal is the same. There are some who will never give of their time or step up but still reap the benefits of the work of few. That small band of folks still trudges on despite that.

If each and everyone of us gives to the greater community with a goal to invest and improve it, we can do amazing things. I hope others can look beyond what is in front of their noses and look to the future to shape it. Do we want a better future for all us? If that indeed is the case, then that is what we invest our energies into. Giving back will reap rewards for everyone in some form or fashion.

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Vicious Rumors

A recent story in the news has had some protesters double checking their social media accounts. A prominent Honolulu attorney may be suing them for spreading “vicious rumors” against certain people. I find this an interesting turn of events if this indeed does happen.

Years ago, I spent many hours sitting in front of legislators asking for them to stand with facts and the farmers. The same people who are spreading rumors against the Governor were the same ones accusing us of “poisoning” them. Legislators would nod in support of us then, but during the session, they actually sided with those spreading rumors about us. The excuse I heard was that they needed protection from the activists and had to listen to them.

When the whole anti-GMO debacle unfolded, many county council members and legislators sided with these activists to protect their seat to support us. Essentially, farmers were used as the shields to keep the politicians safe. If you want to talk about vicious rumors, we faced it all from killing and disabling babies, gassing people, killing the earth, and so on. We faced the hate of the public because the political leadership could not stand with the facts.

I find it utterly ironic that Governor Ige has been posting lots of facts about astronomy and the Thirty Meter Telescope. I am in disbelief that he is out at the front lines fighting for facts to be heard! I can’t help but feel sad that he and so many of the other politicians did not do the same for us. Politicians had hoped that bowing to activists demands would keep them away from attacking them but as we can all see, the antis have zero loyalty.

So to the politician who quietly supported us in word but did the opposite in action, you’ve created this mess. You cannot make these activists happy. By playing along with their charade to use Hawaii in their sensationalized news stories, you’ve empowered them to use any means to get what they want. You thought you had your back covered when you voted for the pesticide buffer zones and then the banning of chlorpyrifos. You didn’t stand with facts and fell for their narratives in hope of being safe.

As we can all see, the mess we have now is of your own making and was due to happen given the disregard for facts. The activists care nothing about facts as you can see and blatantly make up claims that are far fetched but spreads like wildfire to stir the flames of emotion. The political leadership is surrounded by the the emotional social media mob holding their torches and definitely feeling the heat. I sure hope that he either douses the flame now by standing with facts and taking the right course of action.

You’ve played with the fire too many times and now the activists don’t care who they take down with them.

When you let activists define the work of farmers, it affects the next generation’s ability to continue farming.

Tattered Flags

Thanks to the social media, lots of folks have fastened big old upside down Hawaiian flags on their vehicles. It has been about 6 weeks since this debacle started and I’m noticing many flags are showing fading and wear. Many flags are starting to unravel at the edges, showing its threads.

Not only are flags fixed onto cars but so many users across Facebook have changed profile frames to show their stance against the Thirty Meter Telescope. I recognize many names because they were the same folks testifying at hearings and posting false information against GMOs. It’s same emotion-laden claims being repeated but it’s directed towards astronomy. Many use the language that this is “colonization” and “imperialistic oppression.” Some will even add a new term called “ethical science” and that Western science is the issue because of an alleged lapse of it.

Any anti movement starts to show a pattern, whether it be anti-vaccination, anti-GMO, anti-anything. One of the most effective tactic is to stir emotions up because that shuts down a logical brain that would ask questions. By planting false claims, many of them emotion-based, one can be sure that someone will repeat it, get mad, and it will be spread with one click. None if any will question the information because they operate from emotion. The tactic is simple and effective at shutting down minds.

I know I have heard several of those claims before but could not recall where it was from. I know I’ve heard them somewhere in my readings. Then it dawned on me that it was from a an article I read about Trofim Lysenko. His views and claims led to millions of deaths due to rejection of “Western science” views across the world in the Soviet Union and in China. People suffered because of this man’s beliefs but few in this day know this history.

The claims of desecration reminds me of the religious fervor of the anti-gay marriage folks who said the law had to protect the sanctity of marriage. I saw so many church folks turn mean and angry at protests against gay marriage. Here were supposedly good Christians turning hateful against a fellow human being. I see the same thing in the anti-TMT folks telling foreigners to go home. Forget the fact that there are few Native Hawaiians who have no foreign ethnicities in their ancestry. I bet these same folks get angry about Trump’s tirades but have no idea they are doing the same.

The media is so focused on the protesters show right now and the Governor is sitting there letting them obstruct progress. It is fun to have so many selfies with Hollywood stars on the mountain. One picture represents a brief second in time. Did it change one’s life to take a photo with The Rock or Jason Momoa? Nope. Will The Rock and Aquaman start up a long term Native Hawaiian education plan and work with Big Island community leaders to help diversify the economy and strengthen the community? Nope. Nope. Nope. They got their selfies and they are gone. They have nothing invested in seeing the community thrive there.

Meanwhile, Governor Ige is going strong posting facts and stemming the disinformation campaigns against the telescope. I have to ask where were these same actions when fishermen and farmers were thrown under the bus for years. How come he never set the facts straight about pesticides and longline fishing? What gives? Fishermen and farmers are still farming but their reputations have been smeared thanks to politics and the weak leadership in our state. People are still buying from us farmers and eating up poke.

Months from now, more flags will be tattered and need replacing while many hold their hands up shaped like the mauna. It is symbolic of the short life and narrow views of these movements that come and go in Hawaii. The mauna is enormous unlike the view from one’s hands. If the protesters put their hands down and looked beyond “their” mountain, they can see a brighter future that so many are hoping for. Mauna Kea is not “their” mountain but it is a place for all to gather and learn from the discoveries to be made.