Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why I Am Running for the Legislature

My major involvement and reason for running to represent District 21, is to support Governor Linda Lingle’s transition to a 21st century government for the challenge of these times and beyond. In the old days, “leadership” was only about fighting off everybody else to get to the top, and once there, the only objective then was to take all the spoils and fight off everybody else to remain there as long as one could.

The modern view of leadership is that one is there for the people -- to serve the people until the people say, we want somebody else, we want another vision of the future. And so the people of Hawaii in 2002, voted for Governor Lingle and “A New Beginning,” to rethink ways we had been doing things -- just because we had always been doing them that way.

It already seems like a distant memory that four years ago, as well as most of the ‘90s, the economy and culture of Hawaii was depressed. People lost all hope that we could ever do anything right again. We were used to being last in the nation in every category -- and the previous governor’s job was to deny and undermine those findings -- so that nobody had any trust and faith in their government and leaders anymore.

Governor Lingle and the Republican Party provided the perspective of that vital second opinion -- that provides insight into the problems when just agreeing to ignore and deny them, always leads to predictable disaster. That happens when we have one party with overwhelming majorities that they can do whatever they like -- and flaunt that power, just because they can.

Many of us first encountered that attitude early on in school -- as the bullying and intimidation of those convinced that might makes right. Oftentimes, it was not the classroom bullies but the teachers themselves that perpetuated such injustices. And that is the meaning of the expression that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

One day it is hoped that we don’t simply vote along party lines but only vote what is best for the people regardless of party. But first, we have to counter that lock-step mentality by increasing the presence of members in the legislature who will not go along just because the dominant party tells them to -- opposing every initiative that threatens the status quo of all those who have built up power and seniority and hope to hold on to it as long as they live, which doesn’t allow anybody else a chance.

I think that government that serves the people is a trust that should be rotated among the willing -- and not just be one person’s entitlement for life. And that is what a real democratic republic is about -- and not just labels we hope is true about ourselves. In that spirit, we first have to offer a clear choice of a commitment to new ways -- or just more of the same, with the familiar problems getting worse each year and costing more.

The most familiar of these is the problems of our present education system -- and the absolute requirement for the votes in the legislature to support meaningful change.