There are about 4.8 million Syrian refugees in the Middle East (only one of the world’s many refugee populations). Although only about one in 10 live in camps, the largest camp is a city of 80,000. It is estimated that more than half are children. The Syrian war has claimed about 400,000 lives, and displaced, in total, several times the entire population of Hawaii.
Three Trump banners were vandalized on Kauai, as reported in The Garden Island’s lead article on Oct. 15. It is not clear if this includes the sign on Kuamoo Road which was changed to read: “Love Trumps Hate.”
On Oct. 14, three members of a militia in Kansas were arrested by the FBI for planning to bomb a building housing 120 Muslim Somali immigrant refugees.
The U.S. bombed Yemeni rebels’ radar facilities in retaliation for an unsuccessful missile launch against U.S. naval vessels, soon after a Saudi airstrike on the rebels killed over 100 civilians. Russia is increasingly aggressive to the U.S. in Syria, targets civilians there indiscriminately, interferes with our election and one Russian lawmaker, a Putin ally, suggests nuclear war may be imminent.
At a time when a record number of Americans are disaffected with the political process and disbelieve virtually all that politicians say (except, amazingly, the clear fabrications and distortions which are repeated endlessly as established fact), most media attention is focused on the sexual proclivities of the candidates and their families.
Without referring to any expert analysis to try and figure out what might be in the long-term interest of the U.S., or (for those who care) other nations, free trade is attacked by virtually all the candidates (a complete turn-around for Republicans and most Democrats, including both Clintons), but absolutely no recognizable suggestion is made for an alternative, and there is no discussion of how our trading partners (for those who care) might react. Similar magical cures are routinely offered for other complex global issues.
A number of studies agree that civilian-police interactions — whatever the initiating cause — are more dangerous for minorities than for whites in the U.S., strongly suggesting that tactics such as “stop and frisk” will result in racially disparate impacts. Our prisons are overcrowded; we lead the world both in percentage and absolute numbers of incarcerated people; recidivism rates are high — all suggesting our penological approach doesn’t work. Crime, although much reduced, remains a major concern.
The economic opportunity which post-WWII baby boomers took for granted remains now only for the highly educated and technically skilled, who leave college for jobs with starting pay exceeding $150,000. The overwhelming majority of our young are relegated to jobs for which the actual pay and benefits have increased little since the Vietnam War, so now even a comfortable living is virtually impossible for a two-earner family. While we dithered and built little affordable housing, easily predictable demographic pressures forced purchase prices out of reach for most Americans, and pushed renters far from their jobs. Our infrastructure has been largely neglected and bridges, roads, railroads, civic buildings, parks, etc., all show the results.
Our health care costs are multiples of that in other countries, but the quality of care and results are no greater than in other First World nations. Our approach to medicine has changed what used to be a desired and noble profession into a succession of 10 and 15 minute meetings with little continuity, and less satisfaction for patient and physician. Many other formerly interesting jobs have become primarily sitting before a computer. Our young spend much of their time communing with their phones. Suicide rates, especially for middle aged men, have accelerated.
Three Trump banners were vandalized on Kauai. “Enough is enough,” said the chairman of the Kauai Republican Party; it was, the article reported, “the last straw.”
Come to grips with reality, brother.
Jed Somit is a resident of Kapaa.