Nov. 3 – Anger, Angst, and Apprehension

This time next week it will all be over. At least I hope and pray that is the case, and that the Biden/Harris ticket win’s by a landslide. Anything less than a decisive victory in both the popular vote and the electoral college will result in a contentious and potentially very dangerous, hot mess.

Anger, angst, and apprehension are the words that come to mind, describing the emotions that surround this moment in time. For me, the dominant feeling deep inside my na’au is apprehension, not knowing what is coming next and feeling powerless to change whatever that might be. Many, on both sides of the aisle, are consumed by angst, and deeply anxious about the future of the nation and the world.

The angst and apprehension I understand. But the anger coming out of the mouths and off of the keyboards of far too many people is scary and dangerous.

I encourage all to take it down a notch or two. Writing a weekly column on politics, maintaining a political blog, and in general, being active in policy and politics statewide – puts me into contact with individuals representing all political persuasions.

The vast majority of people who respond to my missives are positive, thoughtful, and caring residents seeking to share their thoughts and ideas.

In the past few weeks however, the incoming hate, anger, and vitriol have reached levels that are beyond disturbing.

A column I penned recently, An open letter to Kamala Harris – pre-debate notes from the heart, triggered many on the right to unload their anger. The mordant, corrosive, and virulent language displayed a bitterness that words cannot do justice.

There is a consistent theme to the messages, as the profanity usually precedes words such as Democrat, Socialist, or Communist. The writer would speak of “people like you who are ruining our country.” Some would accuse Vice President Biden of intending to “take our country way too far to the left” while at the same time saying he was “a puppet of the big corporations.” Go figure.

In the short time since that column was published, I have attempted to reflect a bit on what might be the root cause of such deep-seated hate and anger. More importantly: What can be done to heal such a deep and jagged tear in the fabric of our national community?

Those writing appear to be regular people, working folks just like you and me. But clearly, they are unhappy, angry with their lot in life, and feel a need to lash out.

I will not blame President Donald Trump for this, as he is but a symptom of the disease. Yes, he fans the flames and yes he seeks to glorify and legitimize the divisiveness for his own ends, but he didn’t start this fire. It has been smoldering for generations.

Income inequality, the scapegoating that accompanies it, and a dearth of hope and opportunity are at the root of it, of this I have no doubt. A majority of people in the world wake up early every morning scrambling simply to survive, while a handful at the top accumulate greater and greater riches literally by the hour.

According to Oxfam, the world has 2,000 billionaires who collectively have more wealth than the 4 billion people, roughly 60 percent of the planet’s population. Forbes and Business Insider report that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is currently the wealthiest person on the planet with a net worth of $113 billion and on track to become a trillionaire by 2026.

Meanwhile almost half of workers in the United States earn less than $15 an hour. Here at home, most of our residents are working two or three jobs, and still can’t afford proper housing or healthcare. Too many people get up too early, and work far too long and hard every day, only to feel like they are getting nowhere.

It’s no wonder people are angry.

And while I fervently hope that former Vice President Joe Biden is elected on November 3, we can’t count on him alone to put the fire out. To truly douse the coals of angst, apprehension, and anger means addressing the root cause of income and wealth disparity in our country.

To do this successfully requires working men and women in blue states and in red states to realize that we are not each other’s enemy.

Instead of fighting each other, we must remember that we are all in this together. Only when we unite against the common enemy of economic injustice, will we make the progress needed and put the smiles and laughter back where it belongs.

El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido, A people united, will never be defeated.

•••

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

19 Comments
  1. Kaua’i Tutu October 28, 2020 5:05 am Reply

    Gary,
    I am tired of being called a CHUMP and DEPLORABLE and other disgusting words by you, your friends and your. leaders!
    How dare you!
    I also think it’s a slap in the face to end your column with a Spanish phrase when we are Hawaiians. I will be polite and not to call you a hypocrite.


    1. Citizen Cane October 30, 2020 3:33 pm Reply

      The many negative comments in this forum are a disgrace and embarrassment to this community. Someone with a record of public service posts a heartfelt plea for reasonableness and unity…and his words are met with invective and rancor? I think we can be better than this.


  2. YuCalJoe October 28, 2020 6:21 am Reply

    Thank you for this information. I will print it out and spread it in my garden so that its contents can promote growth like other waste product fertilizers do.


  3. Kama'aina October 28, 2020 7:03 am Reply

    Hooser is either totally blind to political corruption or corrupt himself to be able to back the Biden ticket with all that has come to light in the past few months. I would put my money on him adding to the narrative that the Russians did it if Trump wins. Hooser is a politician with the strongest type of bias is a state that only elects bias politicians. I pray that we can drain the swamp here in Hawaii and give our keiki a bright future. Please do your research and vote for the best candidates fit to do that. Out with politics and in with stewardship. Less talk and more action.


  4. Joan Frank October 28, 2020 10:03 am Reply

    Gary I looked up your article “Open letter to Kamala Harris” on your blog and Facebook to see what vile responses you got and didn’t see “triggered many on the right to unload their anger. The mordant, corrosive, and virulent language displayed a bitterness that words cannot do justice.” Did you delete the responses? I didn’t see anything negative from a conservative.


  5. hutch October 28, 2020 11:27 am Reply

    And thus, in one single letter to the editor, Gary Hooser completely obliterates any credibility he may have once laid claim to. Not a single word about the “mordant, corrosive, and virulent” actions of Biden-Harris (or Harris-Biden) voters in their violent riots in liberal cities. Not a word about the complete selling out of America by Biden and his increasingly-insane son. Instead he lays everything at the feet of Trump and his supporters and concludes with a phrase from the Latin American communist movement. Bye bye, Gary. You’re not worth the time it would take to make any further response.


  6. James I. Kuroiwa, Jr. October 28, 2020 12:37 pm Reply

    Gary, I believe the opposite where President Donald J. Trump will win re-election as President of the United States, and the GOP will retain the majority in the Senate. The House results will be interesting. And, the possibility of a Trump electoral college vote in a landslide, is a reality.


  7. Gary Hooser October 28, 2020 2:47 pm Reply

    Please don’t ask why I both to respond to those of you who are afraid to use your real name, and then post ranting nonsense. But…for whatever reason…today I will respond to some. Kauai Tutu…I have no ideas what you are talking about as I have never called you or anyone that I can think of those names. And the Spanish phrase you refer to is a historically famous one. Joan Frank – a good and reasonable question. The comments I refer to came via email and I deleted most without responding. Hutch your comments are so similar to so many I get…they are totally misinformed as if you did not even read what I wrote but just immediately went to the comment section so you could vent…you say ” Instead he lays everything at the feet of Trump and his supporters…” When I actually say “I will not blame President Donald Trump for this, as he is but a symptom of the disease. ” Thank you James for being willing to use your real name, and to make a comment that is relevant and rational even though we disagree. That is refreshing in the comment section!


    1. hutch October 29, 2020 2:25 pm Reply

      Grow up, Hooser. You’ve made a career out of vilifying your political opponents near and far, and are now complaining when you get some of the same in return. C’mon man, karma!


      1. hitch October 30, 2020 2:50 pm Reply

        I love this irony.


  8. Steve Martin October 28, 2020 7:54 pm Reply

    Gary you deserve everything you get. A good idea here stop writing your column and just write to all your radical lefty friends who like you have no respect. Instead of a column in the paper Next week, how about posting the photo of you taken right after our President Donald Trump gets another four years to finish His term to make America great again. Now that my friends would be “Priceless”!!


  9. Barry Dittler October 28, 2020 9:20 pm Reply

    Gary,

    It is fairly obvious that the reasonable , sane people of Kauai reject you and your progressive nonsense. I totally agree with Steve that we are all sick of your weekly nonsense , rambling, leftist garbage articles. Please do us all a favor and fade into the obscurity that you deserve !!! And, I am proud to use my real name !!!!! What happens now, your leftist comrades try to destroy me and my reputation ?? Good luck since I don’t care what you think !!

    Barry Dittler


  10. Kauaidoug October 29, 2020 9:37 am Reply

    Gary, don’t bother. I have two figures for the voting public

    226,000
    $750

    Nuff said


  11. Kauaidoug October 29, 2020 10:29 am Reply

    Gary,
    I have two figures to sum up Trump’s administration and the man himself and why no one should vote for him

    226000

    $750

    Nuff said


  12. WestsideResident October 29, 2020 3:09 pm Reply

    Gary, we’ve had enough Leftist nonsense. It is that simple.


  13. LTEreader October 30, 2020 10:01 am Reply

    Great letter Gary! I couldn’t agree more, and especially this part…
    “In the past few weeks however, the incoming hate, anger, and vitriol have reached levels that are beyond disturbing.”
    Honestly I have never seen so much anger in an election year! The minute anyone says something negative about Trump, his supporters turn into keyboard killer bees that behave like they just had their nest knocked down! There’s been no such thing as a ‘civil’ political conversation with a Republican in 2020. Most are percolating with anger and ready to pounce with their horrible insults and vile name calling. Behavior very much like the person they worship, which falls in line with the saying…sh*t rolls downhill.
    I read this morning that now Don Jr. is mimicking Dad with statements like “We’ve gotten control of this thing” and “Rising case numbers are because they’re testing more” and then there’s this doozie – “Why aren’t they talking about deaths? Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing.” Meanwhile back in reality land, the U.S. is experiencing record breaking cases, approximately 1,000 deaths per day, and some hospitals are at crisis levels! How anyone can be in such blatant denial is beyond comprehension. As the lies continue to flow this should be a yuuge wake up call for any human being with common sense!


  14. Eleanor Snyder November 1, 2020 3:36 pm Reply

    Gary.

    Thank you for your passion and willingness to put your views here in this newspaper. The negative responses sure do indicate how upset folks are. I’m upset for the status of our country, the lack of moral compass and the pure hatred exhibited by those who disagree with you. Please know that many of us who have not responded do agree with you and are thankful that you speak up.


  15. Craig Millett November 1, 2020 5:22 pm Reply

    Trump models incompetent vitriol and fake reality and his followers eat it up and spew it back out just as he does, without ever a moment of reflection or applied intelligence. Had they paused to truly see this man they might have noticed that he would throw them away the moment he no longer has any personal use for them. He truly only considers what he thinks is good for himself and no one else.


  16. Susan Stayton November 2, 2020 12:48 pm Reply

    Gary,
    Thank you for your willingness to put your thoughts out there to be taken and appreciated or critiqued and ridiculed. I love your openness.

    Many of your statements are proved by the comments posted here. Our inability to disagree civilly and with respect is one of the great losses in these current times. I do believe that economic injustice and scapegoating “the other” to help ease the pain and frustration are part of the cause of our current situation.

    Fellow Kauaians: please let’s work together to find areas of shared concern and work to find solutions that raise everyone to a better place (not just the 1%). Kauai is a small island and we could do this.


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