BY J. ARTHUR RATH III

You’re working two jobs to make ends meet
Can seldom afford a major treat,
That’s how it is in “Aloha Land,”
Change can be coming—it’s in your hands.
Past generations had historical descriptors:

1920s. Lost
1930s, Poor
1940s, Greatest
1950s, Silent
1960s, Anti-Establishment
1970s, Me
1980s  and still: Yuppies, Self-Gratification

Locally, the Silent Generation began when West Coast union organizers, accused of being “Communists,” arrived to represent workers on Hawaii’s docks, hotels, plantations, and others.  In 1949, I was a “wharf scab” with fellow Kamehameha School classmates and other athletes needing college money.  Mothers protested that strikers kept milk brought by ship from reaching their kids.

The union revolution had started and it changed Hawaii irrevocably, leading to a one-party political system and unions created sinecure in high places.  Union membership meant some of the most secure and best paying jobs in the Islands—and so things continue–seemingly irrevocably.

Hawaii-grown products stopped being competitive, plantations shut down.  The word “Industry” means “the process of raw materials and manufacture of goods.”  Sugar and Pineapple were local industries.

Without any flim-flam, that was industry’s real meaning:  Retailing means the sale of goods to the public.  Filled with hyperbole, Hawaii’s leaders concocted “The Tourist Industry,” which is “retailing” no matter what they call it. When returning to Hawaii I laughed when I saw what Hawaii calls “Industrial
Parks.”

There are a few exemplars, but most tenants are retail and service operations. Those, along with rooms and meals and land-flipping, have represented business action in the Islands. The rich get richer, many of the rest hold two jobs.

Politically and economically Hawaii is stuck in the Fifties, but without its agricultural economic base.  Using the “Silent” descriptor, I posit that a high percentage of potential voters are apathetic and “Silent.”  Many find it easier to do their job(s) and focus on as much self-gratification as a credit card limit
allows.

Youthful Realization

Apathy means “not caring”—and then you become older and disillusioned before you know it. …In Hawaii, it was considered “cool” to be laid back and lazy: “I’m affected by Polynesian Paralysis.”  …”Running on Hawaiian Time” meant showing up half-an-hour after something started.  ‘Tude—attitude–meant whatever else was being done was “No Big Thing” to casual, un-uptight you.  “Waha,” talking your way out of it was an acceptable approach to avoiding responsibilities.  Just shut your mind down!  …But isn’t all that So Very Fifties and So Very Old?

Why do so few people Hawaii vote and continue the same old?  They use alibis:…Too many other things to do  …Gotta work on my car…Have a hair appointment…I make no difference, why go to all that bother?  …Democrats will win anyway. No make waves—go with the flow.

Something insidious lurks within the absentee ballot gamut:
Ballots sent to households having several potential voters can be “managed” by one person in the household. A woefully slim number of potential voters dare to exercise the right that women and minorities once coveted.

So many doors leading to personal development are open here, if once can just Get A Round Tuit (Getaround to it).  Community organizations are eager for participation, they realize  continuance depends on the young. Youthful presence can be a present to them. The fastest way I know to improve skills, gain recognitions, and help foster changes is through community involvement. (Been there, done that.)

At the Native Hawaiian Men’s Conference, an older man, accompanied by a coterie of teenagers, told us about all the planning meetings they attend on Maui.  “They’ve become accustomed to seeing our Hawaiian faces. They realize we are informed and interested observers—and that these young people will remember them and their actions.”

Here are some ideas, something you may have been meaning to do “when you could get a around tuit.” Draw a circle, make pie-shaped slices within it,  and label each slice with one of the following or related words. Post it for reference: This is Your Round Tuit!

.Register
.Read about candidates
.Vote
.Volunteer to work for a candidate
.Watch at least one legislative session
.Work out—walking is the best
.Join a “cause”
.Read books
.Church—attend a group meeting
.Join a service club
.Find a networking group
.Learn about Hawaiian culture
.Talk with a Tutu, regularly
.Go to organized reunions
.Develop and share a new interest or hobby
.Reflect

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