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HOOSER: Bigotry and violence have no place

The images of recent violence and the storming of the Capitol in Washington D.C. are everywhere, and impossible to avoid. Unfortunately and very sadly, threats of future and imminent violence have also arrived even here in Hawai‘i.

My hope is that we are better than that. I hope and, yes, I pray that here in the land of aloha, cooler heads will prevail.

Truthfully, I cannot imagine our community devolving into the mob we saw in action just a few days ago. However, as is true of every community, we also have sprinkled throughout the islands our own share of zealots, hooligans and would-be insurgents.

Therefore, we must during the coming days be vigilant in our pursuit of genuine civic engagement and push back against any and all conversation or actions that advocate violence.

All of us, regardless of political orientation and regardless of who we supported in the recent elections, must be united in opposition to violence and bigotry.

Free speech is a cherished and valued right we all are entitled to. However, during these times when the tinder is so dry, I encourage all to just stay home. Exercise your free speech in a responsible manner on your keyboard if you must, but please resist adding sparks or fuel to the fire.

We cannot allow the thugs and the bigots to yank our chains and goad us into accommodating their goal of violent confrontation.

Our conversation must turn soon to solving the common problems and challenges the vast majority of us agree on.

Supporting small businesses and creating jobs, good jobs that pay a living wage, is a priority for most. We need to protect our natural environment. Our children deserve a quality education. To pay for our public and societal needs, we must have a tax structure that is fair and equitable. And we must have ethical, transparent and inclusive government leadership.

Most of us will profess to support these fundamental goals, and there are many others that we share as well. Reasonable people with good intentions may differ on “how to get there,” but most will agree as to where we ultimately want to go.

We must chart a path at least in our immediate community, through the national anger and divisiveness. Remember, whether you have staked out ground on the left, the right or in the middle — we are all related.

Coming together starts at home and in our own neighborhoods and communities. We must model the values we want to see in the world, and we must strive to accept a diversity of opinion based on sound information, offered by reasonable people with good intentions.

I believe that good people, ethical people of high integrity, can look at the same facts and the same circumstances and come to different conclusions.

But to be absolutely clear, there is no room, no space and no forgiveness for bigotry and violence. None. We do not agree to disagree on these points.

And those who cross the line must be held accountable.


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. Eku January 13, 2021 12:41 am Reply

    In retrospect, I wish more people would have said this before when the riots led by two certain groups led the violence, destroyed private and government property, attacked the police and took over sections of cities unfettered, and at times with resounding approval and encouragement by some in elected offices.

    The road to reconciliation is long and bumpy, and everyone needs to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask themselves, how can I be a better person and responsible inclusive member of our society?

  2. Khsgrad January 13, 2021 12:51 am Reply

    But isn’t this what was done all summer long in SO many cities across America? The hypocrisy is blatant.

    1. Guy January 13, 2021 4:30 pm Reply

      There was an armed insurrection all summer long and I missed it?!

      1. Barry Dittler January 14, 2021 5:24 pm Reply

        yes, I would consider months of riots, looting, violating the law, take over of public and private property in Portland and other cities, 100’s of police officers hurt and many killed “armed insurrection” !
        The crap is the capital was wrong and those responsible need to pay the legal price.
        Yet, the rioters that caused billions of dollars of damage, cost tens of thousand people to lose their employment, destroyed tens of hundreds of businesses seem to have gotten off the hook ! Lefty prosecuters that won’t charge them is just WRONG !

        1. Guy January 14, 2021 11:46 pm Reply

          What is your definition of insurrection again?
          Do you have reference for billions in damage, the thousands to lose employment? Any of those things you claim to quantify?

          You seriously equate protests against not being treated as equals with an attempt to overthrow the government?

  3. David Presley January 13, 2021 5:34 am Reply

    Well said.

  4. Ken Conklin January 13, 2021 7:04 am Reply

    Gary Hooser says “Unfortunately and very sadly, threats of future and imminent violence have also arrived even here in Hawai‘i. … Truthfully, I cannot imagine our community devolving into the mob we saw in action just a few days ago. However, as is true of every community, we also have sprinkled throughout the islands our own share of zealots, hooligans and would-be insurgents.”

    Well Gary, you don’t need to IMAGINE mobs of zealots, hooligans, and would-be insurgents right here in Hawaii. We have already seen them, and they continue to threaten us. The only ones like that here in Hawaii are not white nationalists or Trump supporters — they are the Hawaiian race-nationalists who hold views you support.

    The real threat to free expression and democratic decision-making in Hawaii comes from race-partisan mobs like the one that blocked the access road on Mauna Kea for a year, using intimidation and physical force to stop astronomers from going to work, and preventing a construction project that had all necessary permits approved by years of public hearings and court decisions.  Which individuals have repeatedly vandalized Iolani Palace, what groups have repeatedly invaded and taken over the Palace and its grounds, government offices, and military training areas? Which individuals and groups have shouted down and threatened violence against speakers at UH, etc.?  Not Trump supporters, not white supremacists!

    Gary, you and your ilk are trying to suppress conservatives by falsely hinting darkly that they are linked to the D.C. insurgency last week. But anyone who looks at websites, twitter, and facebook postings by Hawaiian race-nationalists will easily find anti-white bigotry along with demands to overthrow the “fake state” and force the U.S. out of Hawaii.

  5. YuCalJoe January 13, 2021 7:26 am Reply

    Like Larry Rivera sings, “Aloha Begins with Me”. God Bless Larry and his family.

  6. Rev Dr Malama January 13, 2021 8:18 am Reply

    Black lives matter.

    Unless you personally admit that the racist rhetoric system is propaganda by unscrupulous criminals who have an agenda to DIVIDE AND CONQUER…. your words are falling deft ears and unreadable/inconsequential to the majority of Kauai people.
    Gary, do you even know one Hawai’ian?
    The only thing needed at the moment is a complete referendum on INCOMING visitors and residents!!!!

  7. RG DeSoto January 13, 2021 9:01 am Reply

    “Exercise your free speech in a responsible manner on your keyboard if you must, but please resist adding sparks or fuel to the fire.”
    “I believe that good people, ethical people of high integrity, can look at the same facts and the same circumstances and come to different conclusions.”
    Good ideas, Gary…however only those who hold the “right” opinions–those of the elitist technocrats & their minions–have equal access to the means of communication. So just how can you expect a conservative outlet, for instance, to offer its “different conclusions” when they have been effectively banned by the tech oligarchs from the hosting platforms? On the other hand, collectivist progressives are freely allowed their “different conclusions”. Free speech means FREE speech and does not carry with it the notion that just because one’s opinions differ from the powerful they should be ostracized and shut up. So it appears to me that your “people of high integrity” are in short supply in the halls of the powerful technocrats.

    “We cannot allow the thugs and the bigots to yank our chains and goad us into accommodating their goal of violent confrontation.” Does this apply to Antifa and BLM as well as the thugs that invaded the capitol building? I hear widespread condemnation across the political spectrum of the the latter, but only ” the ends justify the means” excuses for the two former groups of thugs that burned their way across the country last summer, virtually all coming from the progressive left. What’s up with that, Gary? Would you care to explain the apparent hypocritical double standard?
    RG DeSoto

  8. Everythingisawesome January 13, 2021 9:34 am Reply

    No thanks. You can’t be trusted.

  9. Hoser January 13, 2021 7:18 pm Reply

    BLM? Antifa? Do you denounce their looting and rioting for 100s of days across the country? Destroying small businesses. Creating autonomous zones murders, assaults in the name of peace and equity?! Give me a break Gary. You’re the ultimate grifter on kauai.

  10. James Z January 14, 2021 8:45 am Reply

    The ‘whataboutism’ rampant in these comments serves nobody except those who wish to believe what they already believed. The demonstrations that took place during the summer was the result of human rights violations by the very people who are suppose to ‘protect and serve’. And yes, some of them got out of hand for many reasons. They were not a threat to the the rule of law or the Constitution or representational government, but instead designed to set things right.

    The riot in D.C. on the 6th was, over a 2 month period through numerous presidential tweets and finally a 70 minute speech by the President of the United States, a clear case of sedition. There is no comparison and ‘whataboutism’ is weak, straw mans justification for the unjustifiable.

    1. RG DeSoto January 15, 2021 8:37 am Reply

      So James, in your mindset the motivation for violence makes a difference. As in, the ends justify any means? So why would this not be applied to the capitol thugs as well as BLM & Antifa?
      RG DeSoto

      1. So... January 16, 2021 4:57 pm Reply

        Make good trouble.

    2. Rev Dr Malama January 15, 2021 1:52 pm Reply

      James Z,
      you’ve articulated a very important point…. content is the deciding factor to when to judge the actions as good or bad.
      There’s a redneck on YouTube named Beau that has a telling way to decide how, when, why one should act in the various scenarios unfolding across the world and it comes down to the facts of context.
      Teachers have asked Beau to address the recent assault on the Capital as have my friends on Kauai…. of me.
      Kindly look for ways to explain the difference to yourself and your family.

    3. Spatial January 18, 2021 11:16 am Reply

      Um, are you folks forgetting the phrase “two wrongs don’t make a right”?

      It seems although BLM protests started with peaceful intentions, things quickly got out of control. We can understand through the lens of a people oppressed how this might have happened, but acts of vandalism, or violence are inexcusable and “wrong”. Understand the actions, but don’t condone them.

      The Capital rioters are a different beast. I’m trying to say something civil and nice here but the party does represent bigotry, and creative versions of reality. They marched to the capital with the full intentions of violence; to overtake our democratic government, assassinate congress and the vice president with the purpose of instilling Trump as dictator of the United States. This is wrong.

      As hard as you try to conflate each group as the same, they are not equal. But at the end of the day, using violence in any form to achieve your goal is wrong, just as Mr. Hoosier wrote.

      “But BLM did this!”
      “But they burned down buildings”

      STILL WRONG, and does not excuse the actions of either party. Ya’ll done making excuses now?

      Own the actions of your party.

  11. Barry Dittler January 14, 2021 5:28 pm Reply

    Gary, it is elitist, socialist, far left radicals like you that led to Donald Trump being elected in the first place. Your snobbery, self righteous attitude and moralistic garbage are why very few normal people even pay attention to you. You article are only good for the bottom of my cat box. Please , just stop writing, as we really don’t want to hear from you !

    1. Guy January 14, 2021 11:48 pm Reply

      And yet you read it…again? Or you didn’t even read it, but made the comment anyway? Which is it?

  12. MamaTree January 15, 2021 4:11 pm Reply

    We’ll never know the “evidence” — it was a hearing with no witness testimony, no attorney, no due process. This impeachment was even more rushed and less proper than the first Trump impeachment (Articles from the House were delivered to the Senate exactly one year ago today, 1/15). Deja vu all over again, the Dems used the same sense of national urgency, the same vindictive approach in lieu of proper legal standards. Here’s a slice from The National Review published 2/3/20: “[I]nstead of spending the appropriate time building a solid case, subpoenaing all the “vital” witnesses, and laying out a timeline, House Democrats, by their own admission, rushed forward. They justified taking shortcuts by warning that the country was in a race to stop Trump from stealing the 2020 election just as he had allegedly stolen the 2016 election.”

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