Full disclosure – I served for 8 years (2002 – 2010) in the Hawaii State Senate with then State Senator and now Governor David Ige. We were members of the same Senate “faction” – “The Chess Club”. While not close friends, I have always liked Governor Ige as a person and respected him as a true public servant. I believe him to be an honest man who wakes up every morning wanting to do what’s right for the people and the state of Hawaii.
While I have disagreed with many of the multitudes of decisions he has made as governor, I also was a strong supporter of his reelection. Such is the nature of political choices.
With regards to the Maunakea TMT issue, Governor Ige has at times misstepped and misspoke, largely I believe because he was misinformed. Such is the case for all topics and issues – the Governor counts on others to provide him with the information upon which he uses to make “informed decisions”. Clearly, the information provided to him in the early opening days of the protector occupation was inadequate at best.
At the end of the day, I believe we should be thankful that Governor David Ige is our Governor at this particular moment in time.
Governor Ige deserves our thanks and our respect for keeping a level head and a steady hand in dealing with the issues on Maunakea.
While the favorite game of advocates on both sides of the issue seems to require calling him names, making fun, and denigrating him personally – I believe he deserves our thanks.
Governor Ige was presented with circumstances not of his own making, that put him in a truly untenable position – he would be damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t.
Any choice or decision he makes is quickly pounced upon by keyboard warriors of all persuasions. Armchair quarterbacks with baseball bats – quick to bash and criticize but their offering of positive solutions or a path forward, is of course non-existent.
The proposed TMT development was introduced to Hawaii years before Governor Ige took office.
He is obligated by his oath of office to enforce the law. You can be sure the loudest voices shouting in his ear are those business interests and law enforcement agencies, appalled that he has exercised restraint and not literally sent in the troops to open up the road.
Governor Ige has instead taken a deep breath and decided not to take the enormous risk that would come through the exercise of force.
For that, we should applaud his wisdom and be thankful that he is the one sitting behind that desk on the 5th floor of the state Capitol.
While other politicians make pronouncements safely from the comfort of their positions of non-responsibility, Governor Ige is forced to make the hard decisions. And to his credit, so far he has safely navigated waters more treacherous than any in modern Hawai’i history.
The situation could have easily spiraled out of control, but it did not. People could have been physically hurt, or worse- but that has not happened either.
With another Governor the results may have been different. Another Governor instead of putting the protection of the people and the social and cultural fabric of our island home first, may have listened instead to the hawks of big business and law enforcement, who even now are clamoring to put money and an unjust system of laws above all else.
There are no road maps to be followed nor textbooks available to help navigate through this situation.
Mistakes have been made along the way, and mistakes, missteps, and course-corrections will continue to be made as this incredibly complex situation continues to unfold and evolve in the days and weeks, possibly months ahead.
But I for one am thankful that our governor continues to put the principles of restraint, respect, and dialogue above that of force and intimidation.
I encourage all to think for a moment before hurling that next cheap shot. Instead, perhaps consider reaching out to say thank you. Thank Governor Ige for being willing to take the relentless drubbing and below the belt hits, as the price paid to move with thoughtful deliberation focused only on an end result that is safe and just – a conundrum though that may be.