[note: this is being uploaded to WP without its accompanying images on 3-6-10. i can’t find the jpgs but i will eventually and add them later]
Friday. Reid, Penny, Grace, and I went to Don’s house, where we met Don, Tracy, Sean, Sandra, Byron, Todd, and Darren for an informal discussion of the elections. It was Reid’s idea, and he worked pretty hard to pull it off. He also worked really hard to keep it informational and not persuasive, but that part didn’t go quite as well.
First, we ate. My contribution was an eighteen-dollar platter of sushi from Kozo Sushi in Windward City, and it was quite popular–there was nothing left by the time we went home. I love when that happens. Sean brought a case of oysters from Tamashiro Market (an HBA family!) and threw ’em on the grill. As everyone knows, I hate seafood, but I am making 2005 the year I revisit all the foods I think I don’t like, so I figured I’d get a head start. The disgusting bivalves were grilled in their shells until they popped (or until they seemed about ready). Sean then pried them open and poured some sauce in the shell (shoyu, lemon, tabasco), also separating the oyster from its shell. I watched Penny do it first because I’m a wuss, then I slurped the “juice”, picked up the oyster between pinched fingers, and plopped it into my mouth.
It wasn’t bad, but heavens, it wasn’t good. So I ate three more just to be sure.
Verdict: I’m unsure. The second and third oysters were almost enjoyable, but that last one was pretty bad–it just tasted really oystery and I knew after putting it down that I was done for the night. I have decided, though, that oysters are something that, if offered to me, I will accept. I think I’ll try them a different way, too. At fifteen bucks for thirty oysters, the price is pretty good for something popular to bring to parties, too, so that’s another consideration. A sushi platter is cool. A case of oysters is WAY cool.
Funny re-told story of the night (when you are friends with the same guys for this many years, you have a million stories you tell repeatedly): When the guys were on Kauai for a basketball trip during high school, Darren ate some raw oysters and later that night was in really bad shape. Between trips to the bathroom, he shook Marc awake, saying, “Marc, I really don’t feel good. I think I’m really sick.” Marc said, “You’ll be fine in the morning. Just go back to bed.”
When Marc awoke the next morning, Darren was in the hospital.
It’s only funny now, of course, that Darren’s okay. Darren says he was sure that night that he was going to die–he says he actually prayed that God would just take him away and end the suffering. Pretty funny stuff. I asked if the experience took him off raw oysters and he said no way.
Two people that night weren’t even registered to vote. Did our attempts to make the election less confusing make anyone more likely to vote intelligently? I don’t believe so. I think we need to work even harder next time to be as objective as possible and to keep our opinions to a bare minimum. Reid and Penny and Grace and I are overloaded with opinions and reasons for our opinions, but people don’t need to hear them all; they just need to get a gist of why we think the way we think. Reid came on a bit strong, and I say this only because I know that if he hadn’t been there, I’d have been the one coming on strong, and people who are averse to political discussions don’t like being blown away like that.
The thing is, after a few minutes of talking about the Presidential election, I asked the room if everyone there had already made up his or her mind about how he or she was voting (everyone had), and then I asked if it was likely anyone was going to hear anything that was going to change anyone’s mind, and everyone felt pretty sure that there wasn’t. So I think we should have moved on from there. I knew nothing I said was going to convince anyone to vote for the Libertarian candidates, so I said a very short thing about really considering the possibility that third-party candidates are not necessarily nuts, and that was about it. Reid launched into a twelve-page thesis, really, about how messed up the Bush administration was and how they blew it in Iraq. He really came on strong.
It was an unfortunate way to end what had been a pretty positive evening. I think what we did was good; I think next time we do it, it will be better.
With a little more organization, we can really put together something objective, informative, and non-threatening, and perhaps do a few of these for our different groups of friends–I think my HBA-teacher friends would enjoy it, too–and perhaps make it easier for people to step confidently into the voting booths on election day.
The highlight of the evening was still the oysters, though.
Saturday I woke up early, took a bus to Honolulu Hale, and voted.
But first, the bus ride.
These newer buses are really narrow, so it’s kinda difficult to move past people. This means that when someone is reluctant to move to the rear of the bus when there are passengers standing in the aisle, it’s easier just to stay where you are. A huge guy got on shortly after me, looking over my head (and the heads of the passengers ahead of me) at the back-section of the bus. “Look at all that room back there,” he said. We all politely ignored him. “Hey, move back, you idiots. Look at all that room!” he then said. Obediently, the little ladies shuffled to the rear of the bus, some of them taking seats, leaving enough room for me and the big guy to get past the back exit.
I said, as politely as I could, “Why do you find it necessary to call people idiots?”
“‘Cause that’s what they are,” he said, defiantly.
I said, “How do you know that? You don’t know these people. Maybe someone has a sore foot, or maybe someone was getting off at the next stop. Calling people idiots doesn’t seem like the nicest way to get along on the bus.”
“Well, it worked, didn’t it? I got what I wanted and that’s all that matters. If I don’t call them idiots, they don’t move.”
“How do you know that?” I asked. “I mean, you didn’t even try being nice first.”
“All these local people, they’re all timid and shy and polite, and that makes things impossible for the rest of us. Rather than move back, they just stand there.”
“What makes you think I’m local?”
“You look local, and you didn’t move back. Haoles, we move back, we take what we want.”
“I’m haole,” I said. “My last name’s Dwyer and my family’s from New York.”
“I don’t really care where you’re from. All you locals insist that I’m a haole no matter how long I’ve been here, so I can insist you’re local.”
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“Anywhere but here! Anywhere but here! I been here twenty-five years!”
“Then you’re more local than most of these people you called idiots,” I said. “A lot of them have probably moved here much more recently than that.” It’s true. “So, my point is that wherever these people are from or however long they’ve been here, they all seem like nice people, and maybe you should try to be a little nicer.”
“Look. I got what I wanted, so why should I?”
“What if, even after calling us idiots, we still hadn’t moved? Would you have then shoved these old ladies to the rear?”
“No, I would shove you,” he said.
I started to ask him what the difference was between calling people idiots and shoving them, if the only consideration he had was whether or not his actions would get him what he wanted, but a bunch of people got off the bus and a seat opened up and he took it, moving right past a very little, very old lady to get it. I seriously considered moving over there and continuing my interrogation, especially in light of his being a seat-grabber, but decided that that would be confrontational, and all I really wanted was this guy’s story.
So then I voted. And here’s how:
As you can see, Ralph Nader was not on the ballot in Hawaii. Doesn’t matter, because I was voting Libertarian all the way on this one. People have asked me if I’m not concerned that the race is dead-even in Hawaii, and that my vote my contribute to President Bush being re-elected.
To them, I say this: My vote is not a throw-away. It is not wasted. I don’t like the President, and that’s why I’m not voting for him. I don’t like John Kerry, and that’s why I am not voting for him. My vote is too precious and too hard-earned for me to waste it on the lesser of two evils. That’s not what all those brave people died for, you know? They voted so that I could exercise my choice the way I wanted, not the way I disliked the least. If the Democrats want my vote, they’re going to have to put someone on the ballot I can vote for in good conscience. Put Dennis Kucinich on the ballot. Put Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ballot.
Neither is my vote a “message” vote. A lot of people think I vote Libertarian to express my disgust with both of the major parties, but the truth is that I and lots of people who vote Republican or Democratic are also libertarians (small L). How many Americans are for the legal, medical use of marijuana? That was a libertarian ideal a decade before either of the major parties would consider it. No, my vote is not a “message,” because I would honestly rather have that screwball Michael Badnarik in the White House than any of the other candidates. Honestly.
One other thing. It is entirely likely that a Libertarian candidate will never win election to the Presidency in this country, and I’m fine with that. But without regular representation on the ballots from the far right and the far left, the only messages that will be kept alive will be positions in the middle. You can’t have a middle without extremes on both ends. Hell, someone has to keep these ideals alive and in the public consciences. Women weren’t given the right to vote the first time someone thought of it–it was only won after years of so-called nut-cases keeping the issue alive. If all I do with my Libertarian vote is keep the Libertarians on the general ballot, that’s quite a contribution.
I actually like Neil Abercrombie, for the most part. I like Ed Case (Hawaii’s other Congressman), too, and I approve of the way they’ve used their votes and of the way they’ve represented Hawaii. I’ll be honest here and say that if these races were closer, I’d vote Democratic in both elections. However, both candidates are a lock, so in representing my ideals, I voted Libertarian here, too. The Libertarian candidate for the House is a porn-star, which is a little odd, but she’s quite articulate and she seems intelligent, and the main plank in her platform is the conviction that the government needs to stay out of our lives, and that we should be free to live them the way we please. That’s my candidate.
My representative in the state House is Dennis Arakaki, a man I admire and support wholeheartedly. Of course a candidate who successfully represents Kalihi his going to have to be strong on human services, and this guy is. I don’t think the people of Kalihi understand how much they benefit from having a guy like him in office, but they keep re-electing him, so maybe they do. I taught his daughter, too, which is also a plus in his favor.
I said two years ago that I was going to launch a project that would keep an eye on the Board of Education and I swore that when the elections came around again, I’d be a more informed voter and I’d make it easy for others to be informed voters, too. I still plan to do that, but what I have in mind is slightly beyond my web-authoring abilities right now, so I’m postponing it for another two years. It will happen, though.
None of the candidates I voted for in the primary made it to the General ballot, meaning that the people who won are administrators and businessmen, not educators. I consider this a huge mistake. Lei Ahu Isa claims to be an educator, but she’s also a psycho, so there is just no way she’s going to win my vote. She was a state senator for several years, though, so she’s certain to win election here. Cec Heftel is another who’s guaranteed to make it. Thus, I voted against them both.
I am against the OHA elections being open to non-Hawaiians, so I abstained yet again. Next time, I’m going to ask Haunani Apoliona whom she’s voting for, then I’m going to vote the same way.
The toughest vote of them all. My candidate, Lillian Hong, didn’t make it to the General, despite a respectable fourth-place finish in the primary. The candidates did very little to distinguish themselves during the campaign; here are the things I considered:
- The one important issue the candidates disagree on is forced lease-hold conversion. This means that Mufi Hanneman is against the city’s having the power to force a land-owner to sell his or her land to the occupants of the condo on his or her property. Duke Bainum is for it. In most cases, this affects huge landowners such as Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate, but it sometimes affects people who’ve owned land their grandmothers worked very, very hard to purchase and manage and maintain. The rights of property are among the most sacred in a capitalistic country such as ours, and I believe they must remain so. Forcing a land-owner to sell to his or her tenants sucks the big one.
- Hanneman has a record of sleazy politicking.
- Hanneman is an Iolani grad. I can vote for an Iolani woman, but not an Iolani guy. Hey, I didn’t say my considerations were all meaningful. I just called them considerations.
- Both candidates have attractive, nice wives, but Bainum’s wife is cuter. She’s quite a babe, in fact.
- I have heard from several people something that I have always thought: Hanneman seems slimey. I was willing to dismiss this until I heard people at Don’s house Friday night say the same thing, with no prompting from anyone else.
So there you have it. Merry Christmas, Duke.
I don’t know as much about these initiatives as I should, and I always say that when it comes to messing with the constitution, if there’s any doubt, vote no.
There’s a lot more here than what’s on the ballot. Basically, if this thing passes (and it will), it becomes easier to convict a sex-offender for a class-A felony (maximum twenty years, no parole). An alleged victim won’t have to identify specific dates during which sexual assault took place; the jury will only have to agree that three or more assaults took place without being proven-to that three specific incidents took place. I am not insensitive to victims of sexual assault, but this makes it too easy to put someone away–someone who might be innocent–for a long time. I’d rather let a guilty man go free than put an innocent man in jail.
This is the Constitutional amendment I had the most conflict about. Stuff that’s public record should be easily accessed by anyone who wants the info, and putting the info on the Internet is a way to make it very, very easy. However, I need to get a better idea of how the legislature plans to do this before I say to go ahead and change the constitution. If the state supreme court ruled it unconstitutional, I don’t know if changing the constitution is the right solution to a problem like this.
I’m going with Penny and the lawyers on this one, mostly on faith. There are already a lot of safeguards in place that protect attorney-client and physician-client privilege. This amendment is a response to one specific case that the supreme court threw out and I don’t know, again, that this is the appropriate response.
This was the toughest one. On the one hand, you streamline the indictment process and you spare victims the stress of testifying repeatedly just to get to trial. Big pluses. On the other, if this thing doesn’t pass, you maintain the accused’s right to confront his or her accusor. As I’ve said, I believe that anything that makes it easier to throw an innocent man in jail is not good, and this seems to make it easier. Just being indicted of a major crime is harmful enough to an innocent person; thus, it should remain a burden on the state even to indict. Guess I gotta go with No.
This brings us to the City Charter issues, none of which I feel good about except the next one.
Civil Service positions are costly, and while I’m a huge fan of the Neighborhood Commission, maybe this should be a civil appointment position and not civil service. I don’t feel strongly enough either way, so I voted no.
This one makes good sense to me. I believe in the neighborhood boards in Honolulu, and a position such as this should be taken seriously by the city’s administration. Requiring some service on the neighborhood boards seems prudent.
Who’s going to do the appointing? How will the appointment process work? Too many questions.
I don’t know what the heck this means, so I voted no. What the heck is this all about, anyway?
After voting, I walked from Honolulu Hale to Kaiser Hospital, where I finally picked up my new glasses. They took about six hours to get used to, but now that I’ve worn ’em for a day, I really like them. I walked from the hospital down King Street to Pi`ikoi, and then down Pi`ikoi to that little tea-bar next to I Love Country Cafe. Free wi-fi and pretty good food. I did a little bit of work, set up my NaNoWriMo subdirectory in preparation for uploading my daily production, and played some Literati, then walked from there to Easy Music on Ke`eaumoku, near Beretania. I had to scope out some percussive instruments for a school project I’m working on.
Then, back down Ke`eaumoku to Kapiolani, where I was able to pick up a wi-fi signal and play a couple more games of Literati while waiting for the bus.
Grabbed a bus to Pearl City, where the NaNoWriMo kickoff was to take place. It was just me and Ryan, so we got caught up and chatted, which is always nice, and then Ryan took me to Pearl Kai, where I thought I’d look at percussive instruments at Music Mac. I had forgotten that Music Mac is in Pearl Ridge Center now, so I walked across the street and cruised the mall, both phases, for a few hours. Picked up some free wi-fi down the escalators near Longs and got some work done. I had a hamburger at Denny’s and then rode the bus back to Kalihi and got home at about 9:30.
It was a long, busy day. Felt good, though.
Skipped church Sunday. I might be sleeping all afternoon and evening and then getting up early to get my NaNo rolling.
quick, random opinion:
Candy Corn is disgusting.