How long have you lived here?

When Ronald Reagan was president he disagreed with “Tip” O’Neill, the Democratic speaker of the House numerous times. Reagan, being a Republican, and the speaker, being a Democrat, made for frequent disagreements. However, when the business day was over, they often shared a cocktail or even dinner together as friends. O’Neill and President Reagan managed to work together even with their numerous differences on policy and government.

President Obama, on the other hand, and the current Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, are in constant battle over everything and anything and it appears they do not enjoy each other in the off hours. It has become the norm for Republicans and Democrats to verbally fight each other with warlike partisan battles in lieu of doing what’s pono (right) for America. Even in real, everyday life, it has gotten to the point, if you do not think like me, I cannot talk to you or be your friend.

I enjoy blogging and having the opportunity to express myself in a bi-weekly column here in The Garden Island news.

However, it has gotten to be if I write something someone disagrees with, they will stop talking to me. They will give me the stink eye in public and even unfriend me on Facebook, just because they may have disagreed with something I said in a column or blog.  

Please don’t get me wrong. I truly enjoy writing a column, it’s a bucket list dream come true. I have learned that it takes a thick skin, of which I have developed over the years, to be an opinion columnist. However, I can only imagine how thick your skin must be to be a politician.

The current GMO debate is the most erroneous debate I have seen locally beside the superferry debate. If you are pro-GMO, you are evil and if you’re anti-GMO, you are stupid and ignore science. Both sides hate each other even before they try and get the facts.

This goes one step further.

“I have found that the aloha spirit here, for some, lasts only as long as you agree with them …”

There is a frequently asked question in Hawaii which equates somewhat to partisan politics. “How long have you lived here?”

I used to despise that question since it is usually asked in an arrogant way. It’s a seniority-type of thing. If one is in Hawaii 30 years, they are better than somebody who’s been here 20 years, someone who is in Hawaii 20 years is better than someone who has been here 10, and someone born and raised here is better than anybody, including all of you reading this.  

I was always under the impression that a person who actually moves on their own free will is actually where they want to be by choice, whereas a person born wherever and who never leaves is only there because their parents happened to live there the day they were born.

The newcomer has gone out of their way to be in Hawaii, which actually makes one a stronger Hawaiian. Like a convert to a religion, they are usually the strongest congregants because that religion is their choice, not just a religion into which they were born.

I recently saw a meme post on Facebook that exemplifies this subject. The meme shows a photo of an American Indian couple sitting outside a teepee, it said, “A redneck told us to go back to where we came from, so we pitched our teepee in his backyard.”

The world is changing. We need to start accepting differences of opinions in each other without major meltdowns and going off on one another.

I just have one question: How long have you loved living here?

• James “Kimo” Rosen is a retired professional photographer living in Kapaa with his best friend Obama Da Dog, Rosen also blogs as a hobby;


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