Wednesday January 20, 2021 was a big day in policy and politics. Actually, they don’t get much bigger than this. The President of the United States was sworn into office, and it was opening day of the Hawaii Legislature.
Rocked by a global pandemic and political discord not seen since the civil war, the expectations and the needs are high. My hope is that our leaders and our community will in the days ahead, rise to the occasion.
In Honolulu, the Capitol building was essentially shut down with none of the normal pomp and circumstance. There was no music, no food, and no speeches. It’s a shame really. I am a bit surprised there was not at least a virtual opening day ceremony.
At the national level, the most hopeful moment was when the youngest poet in inaugural history, Amanda Gorman took the stage. Please take the time with friends and family to watch and listen to her inspirational words of hope and unity. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ055ilIiN4
President Biden spoke well and delivered the message that needed to be delivered at this particular time in history. He is of course facing a very high bar. He must lead the country through the anger, the angst, the pandemic, and the conspiracy ridden societal discontent. An impossible task I think unless the majority of us who voted for him start talking to our neighbors.
Really, that’s the only way we are going to win. We have to align ourselves in support, and as kindly and as gently as possible inform our friends, neighbors, and relatives – that there is no micro-chip hidden within the vaccine, the mob that stormed the capitol was not organized by BLM and/or ANTIFA, and that President Biden won the election fair and square. Not a single court nor any State elections office or legislature has concluded there was any significant incidence of fraud that might even come close to impacting the results.
This is job #1. We must do our best to convince our once rational friends that they have been lied to. I am serious here. We cannot keep looking the other way when it comes QAnon or whatever conspiracy du-jour is floating around. The misinformation and disinformation is intentional, the rabbit holes are deep, and the whole thing is dangerous.
Next, we need to explain to all who will listen that supporting the equal and fair treatment of all people regardless of their station in life is not some outrageous communist plot. Affordable health care, quality public education, good jobs that pay a living wage, and protecting public resources from private exploitation, are not radical ideas.
Another eminently un-outrageous thought is that we must have a tax structure that is fair and equitable. Those who extract more from the public commons, those who waste more, consume more, and pollute more, should pay more. And yes, those who have more should also pay more.
It’s really all pretty tame, main-stream stuff. Certainly, there’s no reason to be afraid and to go charging up the Capitol steps, wearing horns and a fur cape, looking for a hidden socialist. Most of us are right here in plain view.
Talking to our friends, neighbors, and co-workers and letting them know there is nothing to be afraid of is critically important. They must understand we’re not going to tax them to death, take away their religion or their 2nd amendment, and their 401k will be just fine.
All we really want is a more just and fair society – for all of us.
Published January 20th, 2021 in The Garden Island Newspaper (the above version has been slightly edited from the TGI version to put the date of publication in context)