The wrongs of the world will not be made right via the curse of apathy.

As 2021 draws to a close, I think not so much about the coming holidays but more about the work being done in Congress, by our County Council, and in the coming legislative session that opens on Jan. 19, followed oh-so-quickly by the primary election on Aug. 13.

But I think most about that man under the bridge and the challenges he and so many others face daily.

Such is the life of those of us immersed in policy and politics.

I’m hoping an increased interest in civic engagement makes it to your New Years’ resolution list as well.

It’s important. The wrongs of the world will not be made right via the curse of apathy.

Ignoring the man under the bridge does not make him go away. He will only grow more ill, more miserable, and more complicated and costly to deal with later.

The scourges of drug addiction, climate change, poverty, environmental degradation, mental illness, and homelessness will not be resolved by looking the other way.

And complaining, criticizing, and ranting about a dysfunctional and corrupt government serves no useful purpose either.

Please. Put increased civic engagement on the top of your list for the coming year. Be part of the solution, an active ally, not a passive-aggressive opponent.

Join a community organization or club that contributes to making our home a better place. Read about and follow local issues. Submit testimony to the council and state Legislature. Write letters to the editor or opinion pieces in support of or opposition to issues that matter.

Bring a hot meal, perhaps dental care, an affordable home, or a job that pays a living wage to that man under the bridge.

You can do this you know. You have that power.

Civic engagement: It’s what democracy is based on. It’s about all of us taking responsibility for OUR government and OUR community.

Yes, it’s about voting, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about supporting candidates. It’s about making that decision to be a candidate. It’s about holding elected officials accountable. It’s about talking to friends and neighbors, sharing informed and diverse viewpoints, and being respectful. Sometimes, it’s about agreeing to disagree and moving on.

It’s about each of us taking ownership and personal responsibility for our community.

This is what democracy looks like.

Yes, of course, we each contribute differently, and we each have a different capacity to do so. Some of our neighbors possess great personal wealth, while others live under that bridge, or in the bushes down by the river.

Each of us can and must do our part, and more. Whether it’s that small-but-regular act of kindness and generosity that helps the few, or the huge and monumental contributions that impact generations, all are needed.

Involvement in a community organization, club, place of worship, or nonprofit is a good place to start. But that is not enough.

Please consider including government, policy, politics, and active civic engagement as one of your top 2022 New Year resolutions.

Don’t tell me you’re too busy. We are all too busy. But we make time because we must.

If you are serious about activating your civic engagement responsibilities – Please consider opting-in at to receive my occasional “policy and politics” email/update/missives. I promise to not fill your inbox with pap.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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