BY GEORGE BERISH – Please note it wasn’t former Gov. Ben Cayetano or U.S. Senator Inouye who recently painted Hawaii in the media as a place where childish name-calling substitutes for serious public debate.
It was John White, the young, unaccomplished head of Pacific Resource Partnership. He did that by presuming he had the right to wave Sen. Inouye’s “hurt feelings” around like he owned them, all so he could advance the interest his big-moneyed patrons to build the Honolulu rail at any cost.
The two principals – Cayetano and Inouye – have always spoken straightforwardly and taken, and thrown, hard political punches — sometimes as allies and sometimes as opponents.
So if either thought the other had crossed the line in heated debate, both are capable of dealing with it directly, man to man, without the help a politico‑fabricated “controversy”. [And with the $5.3 billion rail project about to take over $6,000 from every infant, child, adolescent, and adult in Hawaii, we deserve to have it heatedly debated.]
Besides, Gov. Cayetano’s concern is legitimate.
Sen. Inouye’s was called to D. C. almost a half century ago, and since, his influence and responsibilities have grown almost as much as Hawaii has changed. So of course, the many global and national issues he oversees, whose size dwarfs that of Hawaii’s issues, compete for his time and energy.
But that only means each voter has a right and duty to decide whether what’s lost to those distractions is offset by the experience, judgment and influence he’s gained, or not.
In the meantime, we don’t need a High School-like gossip slithering around telling us somebody else has been insulted by somebody else, and in the process, muddling serious debate.
George L. Berish is a Hawaii resident and member of the American Political Party