Superferry has all of the answers
The Hawaii Superferry captured my imagination from the moment I first read about it in the Star-Bulletin nearly four years ago.
The idea that sometime in the near future folks living on Hawaii's four major islands would be able to visit each other just by jumping into their family cars -- like folks do almost everywhere else in the world -- led me to write several columns predicting its future popularity.
I began by noting the need for concern for our winter whale population, but I was reassured when I found that Superferry officials had thoroughly addressed this issue with assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Then I offered readers several scenarios depicting boaters, paddlers, fishermen, or even emergency vehicles being quickly transported from island to island. Nothing in my imagination, however, prepared me for the debacle we witnessed in Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai last week.
It may have been the biggest display of apparent mass hysteria shown in these islands since Captain Cook was mistaken for the ancient Hawaiian god Lono.
But this time, rather than venerating the approaching vessel's skipper, certain people with their acts of civil disobedience and hate-filled demonstrations managed instead to chase the frightful apparition from their shores.
Today, like most people I'm sure, I'm still coming up with more questions than answers in trying to find some logical explanations for such a public display of anger.
To begin with, I wonder if the name "Superferry" may have been too grandiose or threatening? Perhaps something more humble like "Ohana Interisland Voyaging Canoe" would have been more acceptable.
After all, the ferry is considerably smaller than the cruise ships that regularly visit our islands' ports without incident.
Or, perhaps it was the vehicles on board that so maddened the crowd. But if so, why haven't the interisland barges carrying similar loads been greeted with the same overt animosity?
I suppose it could have been the passengers on board who caused so many people to become so hostile. However wouldn't you think the airport would be a more likely venue for protesting the incursion of too many visitors?
In the final analysis it would seem that the root cause for the crowd's Superferry hysteria was probably based on a general fear of change and the unknown. As the 19th century essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Fear always springs from ignorance."
Still none of this explains the 11th-hour decision by Hawaii's Supreme Court that ruled the state was wrong in exempting Kahului Harbor's improvements from environmental review that may have precipitated the demonstrations.
As it has taken nearly four years for the project to go from the drawing board to reality, wasn't there some earlier point in time when such a ruling could have been made?
And one last question comes to mind: Why is it always some small percentage of the population that seems to screw things up for the majority?