Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Hypothetical Conversation Between the Traditional and the New

LB: I'm really confused -- who is the Republican base in Hawaii? The environmentalists (conveyance tax)? The minute percentage of Hawaiian's with a drop of "Hawaiian blood" (Akaka Bill)? Contractors for the rail boondoggle (increased GET)? Gas cap advocates Frank Young, Ron Menor and Marcus Oshiro (maintaining gas cap)? Mark Bennett, Joan Husted and Pat Hamamoto (AG attack on special needs children and MOU on substitute teachers) ? Teachers (teacher's contract that lowers entry-level pay, maintains enrollment ratio formula vs. a weighted student formula)?

Republicans (lower taxes, less government)?

I believe those in the first paragraph above have been appeased by the current administration and those in the second paragraph above have not only not been appeased, they have been ignored and even called "fringe elements" of the party. At the start of the Lingle administration there was hope of developing a Republican party (brand) here in Hawaii, I believe that tentative base has now been destroyed.

The public is confused. Democrat-Republican is now like Visa-Mastercard. There is no distinction here in Hawaii. Both parties are putting politics over policy and special interests over the welfare of all individuals of the state. Until the Hawaii Republican Party leaders figure out what "brands" them, they might as well throw in the towel -- which appears to have already happened. Schwarzenegger's words below should be the party's mantra.

"If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government ... then you are a Republican. If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group ... then you are a Republican. If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does ... then you are a Republican. If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican. If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican. And, ladies and gentlemen ... if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican. There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy…." --Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 2004 convention

MH: The Republican Base Is...
Those in Hawaii who think that a better society is not a divided Hawaii along ideological special interest advocacy. I think the Republican base of support are the vast majority of people who are constitutionally nonpartisan. The citizens of Hawaii don't like partisanship, and recognize that it is wrong -- and that is why most do not participate in the political process. They recognize that the only choices offered and allowed to them is to be a Democrat or a Republican -- and they don't feel comfortable with either bias. They actually want to be as fair and unbiased as possible -- but up to now, that was not possible, and the solution offered was bipartisanship -- which is not a solution either but merely reinforces the inevitability and legitimacy of being partisan.

There is a choice beyond -- that appeals to the universal strivings of all, which is this society beyond the partisanship, conflicts, arguments, lobbying, etc. But the media, doesn't offer them these choices -- funneling everybody into the old categories, labels, biases. People overwhelmingly don't want that. But if you engage them as human beings with the simple desire for happiness and fairness, they will talk to you about the many things of life. But trying to shove them in the old boxes, will not work, and that is the emerging thinking among the perceptive.

All that contentiousness between the left and right -- is not that important -- to the greater desire to get along. The political appeal has been to affirm these rifts -- and thinking people aren't interested. To them, living is important and not their ideas about life.

That kind of writing has already lost its appeal. Nobody's engaged in these longwinded rants and political screeds. They'll give you 500 words or 5 paragraphs to say what you have to say and then they will move on; the 500 words is not guaranteed, if you fail to talk to them in the first 100. The talking "to," is what compels them to listen -- in fact, they are not even aware of listening, or even the separation between the speaker and the listener. The old style political dialogue is a monologue, soliloquy, and the speakers don't realize that the audience have snuck out or refused to show up -- because he was so preoccupied in what he had to say, and not that anybody was listening.

I don't know how people can drone on -- totally unaware that their listener is not listening, and has already begun to walk out the door, which I see more and more at these political forums.

I personally don't engage in these fractious arguments -- don't give them any more energy and fuel. And that's what it takes to keep those ways of thinking alive. One needs to give energies to new life, new ideas -- that subsume all the others. And that is what I think is the all-consuming base of the Republican Party or any sociopolitical group at this time; it is the entity that does not just dominate the other and every other -- but subsumes the many into the greatest. The will to live in harmony and enlightenment is much greater than the drive to compete and win over everybody else -- and as people mature, they realize that it is not even a game that favors them.

At that point, many withdraw permanently from the community life in becoming increasingly isolated and alienated -- as they age -- which is ultimately fatal. That is the problem of aging anywhere, but particularly in Hawaii, when people have no allegiance to a greater entity than their family or tribe, whatever it is called. It's small and shrinks the world until their is just their own coffin away from the fullness of life.

And that is what people want -- while the old political divisions, assuredly cut them off, and they instinctively recognize that. They won't engage these battles in the terms you define for them -- in the traditional arguments between the Democrats and the Republicans, the left and the right; those have no appeal, and the arguments are not compelling. But the better society for all, can be imagined by everyone -- and that's where we should begin the discussion. In that discussion, that entrenched status quo, has no inherent advantage, and from the beginning, are running for their lives just to catch up.

LB: In other words, policy vs. politics. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...ahh, that is something to strive for and protect!


At October 12, 2005 8:39 AM, Blogger Kris said...

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At October 12, 2005 4:40 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

That’s why the blogs are supplanting the mass media -- at an astonishing rate; once people see what real freedom of speech is like, they can’t go back to the control media of the establishment, forcing the public to abide by their agenda, biases and denials. In another year, the whole landscape will be changed -- and the last place one will read about it is in the traditional mass media. Undoubtedly, the best is yet to come -- but the trend is unmistakable.

Looks like you’re in the right business.

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