Is there any other kind?
In light of the current blatant bullshit going on here locally, a thoughtful discussion of how to deal with the local politics issue--or whether to deal with it at all-- is timely. I in no way want to offer my thoughts as any kind of "official" view of the forum or anyone else--but I think it's really worth considering whether or not it's even possible to work for meaningful change for a better future within the "approved" mechanisms of the system. I think it's important to ask this question in a very deliberate manner. My answer? no, it's not. As I see it, politics as a completely rigged game that favors money and power, and money and power is required to play. Some well meaning people don't really look at themselves as privileged power brokers, but at the very least one must be of significant enough privilege that one has the free time to fiddle around with political sorts of stuff, and have ample enough time to sit through endless procedural processes. Face facts: most honest working people don't have this kind of time. Also, important, but not to go too Howard Zinn on anyone, these processes have largely proven to be utterly pointless. It's worth looking at the historical record to see if one can find a single damn instance where meaningful change has come from within the "approved" system. I don't ask this rhetorically. In every significant case I can think of, business as usual dominated and until the population finally got agitated enough to take to the streets with axe-handles very little happened. Otherwise, the policy of government in general is to placate, divert, or ignore the will of the people. In general, the range of the "permissible" debate is very narrow, whether right/left wing or progressive or not the whole is controlled to be palatable within the "approved" system. This guarantees again--business as usual. But that is the point of goverment as it exists: Protect the status quo. If you think that a system designed from the start to protect the status quo will allow the existence of effective mechanisms to challenge that which it's designed to protect--it's probably worth thinking that over again. And maybe once more. It's useful, no doubt, to offer mechanisms that look like they offer avenues for discourse or progress or change--as long as at long last the status quo and its interests are still protected.
"Sustainability" will become a huge human rights issue within the next decade. You will see people in the streets here as well as around the world as vested government interests protect the priviledged while steering humanity on a suicide course. Eventually, people will freak out about that, and once it gets started, look out. I've no idea what form that sort of thing will take, or whether such events will be at all constructive, but such a path seems all but inevitable. The status quo has no interest in sustainability, as that would get in the way of personal profits. It may be useful, no doubt, to offer mechanisms that look like they offer avenues for discourse or progress or change for the better-- as long as those profits are still insured. Eventually, however, people do wise up to what is going on. It can take a long time, and we're not there yet. Still that day is coming fast. Faster than many think. There will be a shooting war over these issues at some point. I'm not looking forward to any of this.
But I'm not dogmatic about all this. I can be persuaded and am in fact eager to get behind any positive cause that has real intelligent focus and inherent integrity. I'm not, however, interested in jumping out of one sinking boat into another one that has the holes arranged a bit more cosmetically. Neither am I interested in recreational legislation or meddling in other people's lives to satisfy some perverse and narcissistic need to feel like "I'm doing something for the future." Most importantly, and pointedly-- I sure as hell have no interest in getting roped into some campaign against pro-growth development interests to then replace these with other pro-growth development interests. . . This being said, I do however, see a real need for real solutions. Real solutions. Real solutions. They involve real questions: I don't see these questions being asked in any meaningful way, except by persons and individuals, who are also answering those questions in personal and individual ways. There's a lot of urgency in those people, often, because they look around and like myself, see others not asking those questions--and it's all in all getting to be more than a little terrifying.
1) How is Hawaii going to survive the current ongoing collapse and restructuring of the world economy?
2) How is Hawaii effectively going to survive the steeping prices and increasing scarcity of food, energy, and raw materials?
3) How is Hawaii going to preserve as much as possible of the island's ecosystem as we face a 1 degree temperature rise per decade over the next 100 years?
Everything else is trivial. Some may find my attitude contemptuous and selfish. Or needlessly combative. That's hardly the case. Personally, it comes down to one thing to get me involved--I need some convincing that there's good reasons that I should take time and energy away from planting trees or building water tanks--stuff that matters and contributes in a measurable way to a better future--to quibble about greenspace, or roads, or fast food restaurants or or shit that doesn't. God, let's get a little perspective, perhaps! Anyway, that's my take.
Still, it's not my intent to unduly bust or criticize anyone's efforts. This is simply how I see it. I also feel a strong sense of inevitability about all of this and have no doubt whatsoever that sooner or later a critical mass will wake up to what matters. If others feel that there may be some good use to participation in those processes, go for it. Please, however, be duly considerate of the fact that much of the time the only real effect of these activities is more and more complication, which has the sole result of making life more difficult for the average joe. While it's seldom the intent, too often it is the result. At this point in history, life is complicated enough with all sorts of other pointless hindrances to effective living.
So for myself, I'll just keep focusing on demonstrating effective living, the kind of living we need to adopt to squarely face our future, and do so to the best of my ability. I see no other effectual option. At the very least if the political process fails humanity like it looks like it will, somebody out there had better have done some homework. . .
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