HOOSER: Light at tunnel’s end, but be vigilant

It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, and from small-kid-time until today I have never liked roller-coasters.

Whether it be at the E.K. Fernandez Show’s weekend carnival or at Disneyland, roller-coasters were never my cup of tea. Thank goodness this one seems to be winding to a close. While still a long way from being over, at least the ride seems to have slowed somewhat, the twists and turns have leveled out, and the end of the craziness seems to be approaching.

But to be clear — we should all continue to stay home, social-distance and wear our face coverings when we do go out. We must remain vigilant until the pandemic is truly behind us.

2020 has been a double-stress-whammy with the virus threatening our health and political discord threatening our democracy.

Fortunately, this extraordinary year is coming to a close on both of these fronts. Many good things of a positive and hopeful nature are happening now, “as we speak” (or as we Zoom, which may be the case).

The people have spoken and voted. Through a clear and unequivocal majority, Joe Biden has won election to be president of the United States. I am hopeful and confident that the minority who supported the other candidate and the majority that prevailed will both now tone down the divisive rhetoric and turn their common energy and attention toward creating a more-positive future for all. Let’s find our common ground and then leverage it.

While the pandemic continues to rage across the planet, we are ending the year with multiple vaccines being distributed to our most-vulnerable and most-at-risk populations. Within a few short months, by spring or early summer, the majority of us will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and thus protected from the virus. I’m not sure what the death knell of a pandemic drawing its final breath sounds like, but I think we’re starting to hear it.

When it’s my turn, you can be sure I will be rolling up my sleeve without hesitation. As a child I was vaccinated for measles, mumps and other illnesses. As an adult now in the prime of my life I have also been vaccinated for flu and pneumonia. These are the choices I’ve made for myself and my family, and I’m hopeful that a great majority in our community will do the same.

It’s a trifecta of good news, really. We have a new president, multiple new vaccines, and finally the COVID economic-stimulus package has been approved. Did you hear that? Am pretty sure I heard my mother at this very moment shouting out from her home on the continent, a hearty “Praise the Lord!”

And not a moment too soon. People are hurting bad. It’s all fine and dandy to be happy about a new president and the unveiling of new vaccines, but when you can’t afford rent, you’ve been unemployed now for months, or your business is crashing down around you — the extra money is certainly a huge help. While not enough, this year-end boost will go a long way in easing some of the pain so many are experiencing.

Another strong dose of good news coming out of Gov. David Ige’s office is that it’s likely the public-worker furloughs will not happen in the coming weeks as earlier announced. At the risk of sounding nonsecular, and being somewhat politically incorrect, I believe a “hallelujah” is most definitely in order. After all, Christmas is upon us.

It’s good to end the year with hope and positivity. While we still have a ways to go, it looks like this roller-coaster may very well be ending soon and there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel.

Best wishes to all. Please do what you can and reach out to help those less fortunate. Say hello to your neighbors, find someone of the opposite political persuasion and talk about food, or the weather, or the children or grandchildren. Tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them.

Stay safe. Don’t let your guard down please. Not yet.


Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i and served eight years 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.

  1. Barney December 23, 2020 5:58 am Reply

    Class action lawsuit

  2. USAF Brat December 23, 2020 6:46 am Reply

    Doom and Gloom. Bet you, that instead of roller coasters, this publishing TGI writer, sure likes to “spin”, maneuver, manipulate, and barter with the other thousands of agents who continue to practice dumbs and conjures up more Hewa as do all the other Ha-ole circus clown groms! “small kid time”, HaH! NEVER can you or that kind of peoples be “local”.

  3. Colin McCleod December 23, 2020 8:13 am Reply

    “But to be clear — we should all continue to stay home,….”
    Great advice Gary…and exactly the opposite of what notable epidemiologists are saying. Staying cooped up indoors is not the right thing to do. Fresh air and sunlight is a far better choice. But what else to expect from a lover of all things government, like yourself?
    Mind your own business; if you want to stay locked up then that’s your choice. Just leave the rest of us to make our own decisions.
    Your advice to continue wearing masks is based on a fantasy–that masks will stop the spread of the virus. There is simply no data that supports that fiction…but plenty to show that masks and mask mandates have no effect. In other words the rise in “cases” has continued despite widespread mandates and compliance of the sheep. The rise in “cases” is also suspect as it’s based primarily on the PCR test run at 40-45 cycles which render false positive rates of 80-90%
    Stick to what you know best which is, come to think of it, not much.
    Colin McCleod

    1. Here here December 23, 2020 7:35 pm Reply

      Well said! And since we know Hoosier enjoys checking up on his comments. You’re a ex- politician pal. And you’re trying to stay in the spotlight. We didn’t elect you. Enjoy taking vaccinations and wearing a mask at home. I’ll chose my constitutional rights over some washed up politicians opinion.

    2. Only1 December 24, 2020 8:05 am Reply

      You can’t get fresh air and sun at your home? Not from around here, then?

  4. bobl December 27, 2020 9:18 am Reply

    George Orwell 1984. We are living in it. Big brother anyone?

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