Mourning the Past Sacrifices the Future
by Joni Kamiya, Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter, October 2, 2019
The trend right now is to fight for the old ways. There are some who want to restore the Hawaiian Kingdom and others claiming “desecration” of a mountain in the name of preserving culture. Whatever the case may be, these groups are still on the mountain blockading the road.
Many are mourning the past and have been for some time. With the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and the social media, people have decided to “rise up” against this. They all have their flags and attire to show their stance across our state.
I see many others also jumping on the bandwagon of standing up for the mountain. It is pretty fun to belong to a cause and feel as if you’re making a difference. The sad thing is if you ask the majority of folks against the telescope, few have any idea on how it came to fruition. None have a clue as to why the community and majority of the state were for it to begin with.
The very human tendency to operate on shortcuts is once again evident in this issue as it was for the GMO one. I remember the anti-GMO folks using a poll to claim 90% of people wanted it labeled but when the questions of the poll was changed, the result was much different. It is easy to quickly answer a question given the rhetoric on the media but when one is asked to think, the opinion is likely to change.
It is easy to get caught up into the emotional tsunami happening now where people feel compelled to join and say no, no, no. How sustainable is this wave going to last? When the hype over this issue is over, there will be another one and another. Is there a genuine goal of this movement who blocked taro research, GMOs, crop protection, water rights, and now the telescope? Did the Hawaiians become closer to becoming their own sovereign nation once the protest was over? Sadly, that goal was never met or will be met when one is constantly used for protesting.
Public opinion is easily swayed as we are seeing by the latest polling done on the telescope. Should we be surprised once we understand human nature? Nope. The protesters continue to mourn the past with no realization that their attempts to go back to the ancient days are robbing the future. The very keiki given opportunities to rise above their circumstances will be affected by the loss of opportunities. We as a society should be encouraging others to pursue an education and not stand static holding flags blocking a mountain. We humans are born to continually strive to do better in life for it is is the natural order of things. It is not natural to want to stay in one place for most.
What if my grandfather had told my dad that he could not join the Air Force and go to college? What if he forced my dad to only work on the farm the old ways and not trying technology? Our farm would have failed if we had been coerced into one path. Luckily, my grandfather supported my dad in his journey to become educated in what he loved which was farming. That little bit of support changed our family’s path forever and will impact my children’s future.
The protesters are thinking that forcing others to reject astronomy and follow the emotional path is better for the future. Sometimes we have to let go of the past but not forget it. We have to take leaps into the unknown to make discoveries that will have an impact on future generations. Humans are not stagnant beings but in constant motion to achieve and challenge ourselves.
We must move forward instead of backwards. The anti-crowd is determined to pull everyone down with them and they don’t care if it includes the future. That is why we must not let these loud voices guide the canoe in this direction where we as a state head against progress.
The early voyagers would have all perished if they were not determined to get out of the ocean’s doldrums. They paddled their way out and found a path towards a better life. The leaders of our state must lead and move us all forward so everyone can find their own life’s journey, albeit better ones.