To those of you too busy to make a difference.

It’s time to get off the couch. Summer vacation is over. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get back to the task at hand – helping to make our community, our world, and our planet a better place.

Ballots will begin arriving in our mailboxes in about two weeks. On November 8th the results will be announced and there will of course be winners and losers. As is always the case, some of these races will be determined by literally only a handful of votes.

To those who think that none of this matters, that the fix is already in, that voting and being involved in the “system” is a waste of time – You are wrong. I understand how and why you may feel this way, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’ve spent the past 28 years living and working in the “system” and know without any doubt whatsoever that individual voices and actions matter. I’ve seen it up close and personal. When individuals join together, united in collective action – they can move mountains.

By failing to take the time to just open the darn envelope and check a box or two – you my friend are part of the problem.

I’ve seen good, solid, community-based candidates of high integrity – win and lose by just a handful of votes. And I’ve seen major policy issues likewise succeed or fail by only a single vote.

Ditto to when you are too busy to send off a simple email to your state legislator or councilmember – supporting or opposing issues that are before them. By saying nothing you are in fact empowering the status quo.

I get it that you are busy, that life is hard, the kids gotta get to school, you gotta get to work, and bills are due on the 1st. I get it. Been there, done that.

But cry me a river. Filling out a ballot that is mailed directly to your house and returning it in a postage-paid envelope, is really not that hard. Cranking out a sentence or two in an email, signing a petition, or leaving a short voice-mail message with your elected official – all take literally less than 2 minutes to do.

“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Let this adage sink in and never forget the truth exposed by these 12 words.

Please, take the time to be involved and take ownership of your civic responsibility.

One side of me wants to apologize for beating up on you for being too busy to be involved, the other side of me wants to shake you even harder because of your neglect.

But there’s a whole lot at stake. We have people living under bridges and in cars because they cannot afford the astronomical rents. Climate change is real, the oceans are rising, and the storms are only getting stronger and stronger. We are losing our mountain streams, our beaches and special places have been monetized and no longer ours to enjoy in peace with friends and family.

We can do so much better. The challenges faced by our community and our planet are not intractable. We are surrounded by enormous wealth, and abundance. It is only the lack of political will that holds us back, not the lack of resources needed to fix things.

Political will comes via community demands, expectations and accountability. Elected government officials will provide the leadership and action demanded of them by those that elect them to their positions of power and influence.

If you’re not sure who to vote for, seek guidance from friends and organizations who are involved and perhaps more informed. If you are not sure about a particular race, leave it blank.

There is no shortage of advocacy organizations, that post their voting recommendations on social media and who promote “calls to action” that give clear, sometimes “one-click” options for you to let your voice be heard on important issues of the day. If your core values can be described as putting people and the planet above profits, you’re welcome to sign up to receive my weekly email missives, voting recommendations, and action alerts at

Regardless of your ideological bent – get involved, please. We will all benefit from the increased dialogue and inevitable civic synergy that results.

To those of you already involved and engaged in policy and politics, thank you and do more.

Give more to candidates who you support. Give them financial support, show up and help them hold signs at the side of the road. Go with them to knock on doors in the neighborhood. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors, and networks – encourage all to take action, get involved, and make a difference.

There, my rant for today is done. Now let’s go out and change the world.

Gary Hooser

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)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to To those of you too busy to make a difference.

  1. Steven S Vinzant says:

    I’m so tired of the same ole rhetoric, I’ve attempted to contact my elected officials on several occasions to voice my opinions and it appears that if I don’t share the same view points I just get ignored and don’t deserve a reply in anyway shape or form; Carreer Politicians, pffft !

    • garyhooser says:

      Thanks for the note Steven…am guessing we need to find someone to run against the elected official in your district. Would you be willing to help and support someone else if they run? What district do you live in and what office/official were you trying to contact…who was not responsive?

      • Steven S Vinzant says:

        Kaialii Kahele
        was the no response Politician
        that I was referring to, I attempted on several occasions to communicate with this elected representative, but the system appears to be broken. It appears that these days Carreer Polititians feel they are not obligated to communicate with their constituents if they’re from “Across the isle”. I bet if I was an electric car driving Democrat I would have received replies (ill never know). Why bother trying to back someone to oppose Kaialii Kahele, Hawaii has been a Democratic Strong hold since the beginning of time. My beef is that I don’t feel that I’m being represented in a fair and equal manner due to being labeled a Deplorable Mega-MAGA in the eyes of my elected representatives; whether they like me or not I still feel they are required to respond to my correspondences! My situation proves that this country is definetly ripped in half.

      • garyhooser says:

        Steven…you say “whether they like me or not I still feel they are required to respond…” I am not sure what the requirement is, if there is any…but I know it definitely helps when the member of the public reaching out for help and service is professional and courteous and not overly demanding, rude, or impatient…” I am not saying you are acting this way since I don’t have any idea as to your style and manner, but I do know that when seeking good service in any business or government agency it does help when the person on the other side of the counter, or other end of the telephone or email threads does in fact like (or at least does not dislike) the person who is asking the questions and needing the assistance. Absolutely you are entitled to equal treatment under the law but in terms of the quality of the service – that can and will vary according to personality and mood because we are dealing with people. Normally at the Congressional level, staff is doing the interaction with constituent questions and not the elected official. These staffers will have a long list of constituents to call back and follow-up on, no doubt those that get called back the soonest and helped the most…are those constituents who they “like” and who are easiest to work with – it’s just the way the world works in the service business. IMO

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s