Something is wrong and it's the GOP's fault
SOMETHING is wrong in this state when we have a "growing, robust economy" and the "lowest unemployment rate," but full-time working people can't buy a house, and worry about paying the rent, health insurance and prescription drugs each month.
Something is wrong when the state wants to sell beachfront property to rich tourists and developers, while local people can't afford to buy or rent a place to live, and private security guards and rich tourists make local people feel out of place.
Something is wrong when state officials say there is plenty of water for golf courses, but not enough for people and farms.
Something is wrong when there is enough money for tax credits and exemptions to build hotels and big business, and not enough to fix our schools and educate our children.
Something is wrong when we have two oil refineries in Hawaii and buy our oil from Southeast Asia and Alaska, and still pay the highest gas prices in the nation.
Something is wrong when we have more sunshine for solar power and more ocean for wave power than any other state, and we still pay among the highest electricity bills in the nation.
Something is wrong when we build over our best food-growing land, destroy our forest watersheds and coral reefs, in the name of "progress."
Something is wrong when people are too busy working to survive and have too little time to raise their children, know their neighbors and help their communities.
Something is wrong when the state is more concerned with maintaining economic momentum than the people left out and left behind.
Something is wrong when people are fooled by the right-wing Republican vision -- that only the profit-driven free market and smaller and weaker government will magically solve all our communities' problems and better protect and care for our people and environment.
Something is wrong when people don't understand that the right-wing Republican profit-driven free market must be balanced by good, effective and open democratic government and involved citizens, tempered with common sense and concern for the common good.
Something is wrong when Governor Lingle and her administration supports President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress's Iraq war budget, tax breaks for the rich, deep budget cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, housing assistance, child care and nutrition programs, veteran's benefits, education, and other policies that hurt seniors, children, veterans, lower- and middle-income people, and workers.
Something is wrong when "A New Beginning" is still headed in the wrong direction.
We live in a unique island state with an indigenous and cultural heritage of caring for all people, the land and water, and all living things. Our state motto -- "Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono," "The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness" -- must remain our guide.
It guided Democrats to transform Hawaii from an unjust, exploited, segregated, plantation-based economy and society into a period of shared growth, prosperity and equality of opportunity. It inspired bold, progressive, unselfish and courageous action for a generation of Democrats. Sadly, it has been forgotten in the luxury of the very prosperity and progress it brought.
Hawaii is again threatened by outside profit-driven economic interests and misguided, arrogant, political, social and foreign policies.
This Democrat believes Hawaii Democrats are fundamentally bound together and guided by a strong, deep sense of "we-ness," and not self-centered "me-ness," And this Democrat envisions a Hawaii defined by a "moral 'pono' economy and 'true aloha' communities."
Mike Abe is chairman of the Democratic Party of Oahu's Region I (East Honolulu). This column reflects his personal opinion, not that of the Democratic Party.