No reason to fear the Superferry
Has there ever been a single innovation in transportation that has captured the attention of our state's population and the media like the Hawaii Superferry?
I have read of the fear created by the first automobiles brought to Hawaii in a community that had previously depended on horses for transportation.
And I can imagine there must have been those who opposed the large numbers of visitors and migrants who in the last century began disembarking from Matson ships like the Lurline, Mariposa or Monterey.
I would also think that not everyone approved of Honolulu's first freeway that was built in the 1950s, nor embraced the millions of visitors that jumbo jet aircraft began bringing into the islands in the 1960s.
However, I can't help thinking that all of these issues pale by comparison with the current brouhaha over the introduction of an interisland ferry service.
The Superferry will apparently be transporting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rather than a few hundred commuters and their cars if you listen to one woman on the Maui County Council.
"We don't want Oahu's urban problems brought to Maui, not to mention drug dealers and criminals of all sorts," Michelle Anderson told the media.
Wow. Shouldn't someone tell her the airlines have been selling folks in Honolulu (and even worse places) tickets to Maui for years without checking their pedigree?
It seems apparent that although many of those opposed to the ferry talk of its threat to the environment, their real concern is that it is a harbinger of the changes they fear, and yet surely know are coming.
One needn't be a social scientist to observe that people in the U.S. have always tended to gravitate toward some part of the country they considered their personal salvation. And when they have, for better or worse, things have changed.
Thousands of farmers left the "Dust Bowl" of Arkansas and Oklahoma for California in the 1930s. But you can bet those who already lived there and who derided them as "Arkies" and "Okies" didn't greet them warmly.
And then, some 50 years later, when their children began moving into other less populated western states, those second-generation Arkies and Okies were identified by their Golden State license plates and rudely accused of "Californicating" their new home states.
Today, as the post-war baby-boomers enter retirement age, many are looking for a vacation-like lifestyle and a move to Hawaii, of course, is one logical choice.
But unlike those earlier migrating Americans, they don't have interstate highways to facilitate their move here. Still, they and other folks from around the world will inevitably find their way.
That, of course, guarantees that population growth and lifestyle changes will continue for Oahu as well as our neighbor islands -- with or without the Superferry.
The only thing the ferry will do for sure is offer us all enhanced interisland mobility.