Our former mayor, Bernard Carvalho Jr., was big on aloha. He preached it. He lived it. He led the county government by it. His trademark, “Aloooooooooha” always opened his remarks. And if you had a chance to spend any time with Carvalho, the aloha was genuine.
Same for our Mayor Derek Kawakami. He, too, lives aloha. He and his predecessor share that same sense of community spirit and a heart for the people. The aloha is real.
When people speak of Hawaii, they speak of its aloha. But not everyone gets aloha, at least not if you’re going by their words. And some will likely never understand it. Which is too bad. They’re missing out on something special. Some try to fake aloha. They pretend. It doesn’t work.
But there is still hope.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii recently delivered a keynote “Message of Aloha” at the Honolulu City Council inauguration. Her words are wise and her speech bears repeating. We share them with you, now, and thank Gabbard for them. We hope they find a home in your heart.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Message of Aloha:
It’s a privilege to be back here at Honolulu Hale, where I had the honor of serving as one of your colleagues, representing District 6.
The opportunity to serve our community is a great one. As public servants, we have been charged with the responsibility of making decisions and taking action to positively impact the lives of others. To truly live aloha. This commitment to serve comes from aloha.
Living aloha is not something we can take for granted. It is a conscious choice that must be made. Every day. To stay focused and centered on our purpose.
Aloha is most often used as “hello” and “goodbye,” but it’s real meaning is so much more than that. It is about being in the presence of and recognizing the breath of life — ha — in others.
Aloha is what binds us together — connected, united by our love for each other, our people and Hawaii.
Our Queen Liliuokalani taught us that we must recognize this life, its mana, goodness, wisdom in others and in the world before saying “aloha.”
She said, “Life was everywhere — in the trees, the flowers, the ocean, the fish, the birds, the pili grass, the rainbow, the rock — in all the world was life — was God — was Aloha. Aloha in its gaiety, joy, happiness, abundance.
“Because of Aloha, one gave without thought of return; because of Aloha, one had mana. Aloha had its own mana. It never left the giver but flowed freely and continuously between giver and receiver.”
“Aloha could not be thoughtlessly or indiscriminately spoken, for it carried its own power. No Hawaiian could greet another with aloha unless he felt it in his own heart. If he felt anger or hate in his heart he had to cleanse himself before he said ‘Aloha.’”
Aloha, love, is not just a feeling. It is a powerful force that motivates us to take action for the wellbeing of others and our country.
Divisiveness, hatred, bigotry and greed have cast a dark shadow over our country and so much of our politics. Aloha is what what our country and the world needs most, now more than ever.
It is aloha that enables us to overcome the forces of darkness and greed seeking to tear us apart. To overcome the differences we have. To heal this nation, bring us together, and remind us that it is aloha that calls on us to fulfill our kuleana: aloha aina for our land, aloha kai for our ocean and the waterways that lead to it, and aloha kanaka for our families, friends and neighbors.
As you weigh the difficult decisions that will come before you on the City Council, make those decisions within the context of aloha. Think through these challenges, work together, find ways to overcome differences to bring about solutions that best serve the interests of the people who entrusted us to work for them.
Lead with aloha, compassion and kindness. Lead with the understanding that all of us — here on this island, across our state, and ultimately all of us on Island Earth are in the presence of and share the same ha – the same breath of life.
Aunty Pilahi Paki said in 1962, that “the world will turn to Hawaii as they search for world peace, because Hawaii has the key — and that key is aloha.”
Aloha teaches us to put service before self. Aloha reminds us that we are here as servants … working for the wellbeing of the people and of this special place we are fortunate to call home.
As we begin this new year, may we find inspiration, strength, compassion, and courage in the spirit of aloha which lies within each of our hearts, and share that aloha with others.