Albertini is not going down with this ship
Hey, all you idealistic young surfers and environmentalists on Kauai who could face 10-year federal prison terms if you try to block the return of the Superferry to your island: Your spiritual leader will not be with you on this one.
Before you wreck your life over what mode of transportation people should be able to use between the islands, you might want to consider the fact that Hawaii's legendary political activist Jim Albertini apparently doesn't think the Superferry issue is worth going to prison over. Or dying for. Which he and his lawyer buddy, Lanny Sinkin, think is a distinct possibility for those who try to stop the boat.
In a chilling essay in the online magazine Surfer's Path, Albertini and Sinkin counsel potential protesters to prepare their wills, transfer all their assets to friends or family and adopt the philosophy that it is "a good day to die."
After reading the alarming tract, I wanted to know whether Albertini -- who went to prison for a year (many years ago) for trying to block a Navy vessel in Hilo Harbor -- will be putting his life and/or freedom on the line along with the novice activists he is counseling.
The answer? No. Not only is Albertini NOT going to protest the Superferry, he claims he didn't even know his "non-violent" call to arms was even published.
In an e-mail Albertini sent me, he said:
» "I'm not sure what's in the Surfer's Path magazine. I haven't read it. ... I suspect it is a piece mainly drafted by attorney Lanny Sinkin with a few suggestions from me basically cautioning people who may be considering blocking the Superferry in the water."
» "I do not plan on going to Kauai or Maui for protests."
So there you go, kids. You're on your own. Even though Albertini's name is on the screed, which calls efforts by the state Legislature and Gov. Linda Lingle to put the ferry in service "a lawless conspiracy ... primarily for military purposes," the issue isn't important enough for Albertini to get arrested or killed over. It's interesting that some social activists are all for the rule of law as long as the rulings go their way. When they don't, the system is suddenly corrupt.
Albertini's always struck me as a morally upright person, although I don't always agree with his position. In this case, I think he has a moral obligation to convince the young, unsophisticated Kauai protesters in particular that this issue of public interisland transportation really isn't worth them ruining their lives over.
If it was, wouldn't the Great Albertini be first in the water? He has a moral duty to convince them that times have changed since his swim in Hilo Harbor. He wasn't facing a mandatory minimum 10-year federal sentence with no chance of parole. Granted, if a lot of the protesters go to prison, the overall IQ on Kauai will go up dramatically, but do they really need to die on this hill? As they see Albertini try to weasel out of responsibility for the Surfer's Path essay and attorney Lanny's paranoiac conspiracy drivel, they should be getting a Sinkin feeling.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
at any book retailer. E-mail him at email@example.com