Let’s say mahalo to the good folks at TSA

Wracking my brain as to what I can do to support the good people working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), during this ongoing government shutdown. They are working very hard for all of us, literally keeping our economy afloat, but they have not been paid in several weeks.

As someone who frequently flies between the islands, TSA workers are the most visible of all the federal workers impacted by the insanity that envelopes the White House.

The Mad King wants his wall and is determined to let nothing stand in his way toward getting it. He forgets that he reigns over a democracy with a Constitution that shares power between the executive and legislative branches. He forgets that governing requires the juggling of priorities. And most importantly he forgets that he is not the center of the universe, and that his actions have real impacts on real people. Either he forgets, or he simply does not care.

To end the government shutdown and return at least a semblance of normality to government operations, Congressional leaders must find a compromise that allows our king to “save face” and look and feel like a winner. It is clear that he will remain firmly stuck in his position, regardless of the collateral damage to working men and women, until he is provided with an escape route that he can claim as a victory.

So in a nutshell (pun intended), leadership in Congress must give him a victory without giving him his wall.

Perhaps a “blue ribbon commission” whose job is to evaluate and make recommendations on the wall, before additional funding is made available? Perhaps a process that acknowledges the many very real challenges faced by the “immigration issue”, that explores all of the various options and tools available to deal with that issue (including the wall), before additional funds are made available? Perhaps … you get the picture.

There are ways to deal with the immigration issue, that may satisfy the president but still fall short of the unnecessary, unrealistic, impractical, ineffective and very expensive wall. I am hopeful that there are smarter, more creative people than I who can figure this out, and in fact are seeking such a path that allows the proverbial “win win” to occur.

TSA workers should not have to pay the price for the inflated and or bruised egos of people who have never experienced what most would consider a “real job.”

These good folks simply want to do their jobs, pay their bills and enjoy life.

Everyone I know has bills to pay on the first and the 15th of the month, and everyone I know would be stressed to the max if their paychecks or retirement checks or their Social Security stopped coming in the mail. Our friends and neighbors working at the airport are no different. Their children need school supplies, their plumbing springs a leak, their cars breakdown and their landlords need rent like the banks need their mortgages paid. And yes, credit scores decline and take years to resolve or correct.

We as a community need to do something for the good folks that are going to work without pay, and thus allowing all of us to go to work and keep our economy going. Imagine the price we would all be paying if the airport closed down due to flight safety concerns.

We need to do more than just say “thank you” as we traverse the security line. I thought about bringing goodies, or treats or asking my wife to bake them a cake — until visions of Marie Antoinette flashed through my mind.

Perhaps the visitor industry can pony up some “staycation” rooms at the various resorts, as a special treat for these special people? Perhaps those of you who own restaurants could drop by gift certificates so they can take their spouse or special friend out to dinner, even while the bills continue to pile up?

Or a spa treatment, or even lawn care or a car wash…or whatever. Any meaningful gesture I am sure would be welcome, and would brighten the day for a hard working and unpaid employee.

It goes without saying that the Kauai County Council and the mayor should declare a “We love our federal workers day” and issue a resolution and a proclamation, even though as I write this the gesture rings hollow and without substance.

Bottom line is we need to show our appreciation in some tangible and meaningful way, each of us as individuals and as a community. What’s happening to the TSA folks and many other federal workers is just wrong, and we as a community must shoulder some responsibility for it.


Gary Hooser formerly served in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.

  1. manawai January 16, 2019 8:37 am Reply

    Talk about hypocrisy at its finest!

  2. Patrick H Flores January 16, 2019 11:57 am Reply

    In response to Mr. Gary Hooser’s letter giving Mahalo to the TSA workers and then blaming President Trump. Immigration reform has been needed for a much longer time than the 24 months that Mr. Trump has served. When Barack Obama instituted the DACA program and ordered leniency in the deportation process, congress could have revisited the immigration laws to accomplish this as a permenant change but instead they’ve ignored resolving this issue. Border barriers, walls, moats whatever the physical barrier is will only be as effective as the enforcement protocol of the nation. Congress and the president together need to convene a meeting to do just that, that is what our federal government is in place for, serve and provide national security policy.

  3. Charlie Chimknee January 17, 2019 6:27 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    How about an affordable wall…have Mexican workers in Mexico build the wall at 10% cost in pesos.

    Make the wall only 3’ feet high showing the short sightedness of any wall as 4’ and even 51’ ladders are able to scale any wall…and tunnels already exist…and while the Great Wall of China has deterred Mexicans and Hondurans from entering China by the caravan load, it sure did not keep out the Mongel Hordes and Genghis Khan who made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

    Besides if the bricks for the wall are not glued together for the 3’ wall, after President Trump is finished as President, the Mexicans can use the bricks for affordable housing already in logistical place from Tijuana to Brownsville, Texas…the bricks could be even built into delicious healthy vegan taco stands.

    1.) clearly the king needs a fact tune up…illegal immigration into the US is at an all time 45 year low…who needs the wall except a government contractor.

    2.) There’s more than TSA workers suffering no paycheck, and Gary isn’t it a little ridiculous giving someone a free lunch at the Marriott or McDonalds whose losing their mortgage and home? You’re starting to sound like the President hisself…out of tune.

    3.) in some countries, even in Latin America, if you even look like, or have the passport or name that originates from terrorist countries, you are practically strip searched before using the airlines…but here an 85 year old Tutu must remove here rubber slippers to board a flight from LIH to HNL with GAS on board only enough to make it to Kona.

    New York World Trade Center plane attacks with the 30 story World Trade Center Building #7 collapsing on its own with the pop pop pops of a Pre-set professional demolition, cast doubt on foreign terrorism and casts light on an”inside job”, and coincidentally setting up the creation of the TSA, a whole new industry for seniors and the retired and unemployed to continue or double their income.

    3.) And with pun intended, if much of US sales of goods are based on foreign $3 a day wages, maybe TSA could be run by the Mexicans too. At great annual savings. They are very good workers.

    4.) And, as unheard of unemployment rates are so,low, there are Very many Help Wanted signs in the US, looks like we need the Mexicans and Hondurans more than Mexico and Honduras needs them.

    5.) seems a little capitalistic that the former head of TSA is a head of the airport TSA scanner private company…

    6.) And while TSA gives us a (Fake) sense of security, isn’t it like the tide…do we really need it? After all, planes are still highjacked even by despondent pilots…!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.