Welcome to Hawaii. Despite our mild-mannered image, we can be a pretty rowdy bunch, actually–you just have to pick the right issue. There are highly mobilized constituencies here that will fight for any number of causes.
Try to cut high school sports and a huge network of fans will materialize to save the day. Mess with the bones of our Hawaiian forebearers and you’ll regret it.
Around here, we take to the streets to demand discrimination against gays and lesbians. We march to denounce reduced raises for university professors. We storm the capitol to protest tax increases.
One thing we don’t much care about, however, is the future.
Take the schools. Sure, we get it: education is the key to tomorrow, for our children and for our community. Whatever. The State and the teachers’ union have agreed to cut the school year by 17 days. That will make ours one of the shortest academic years in the entire world, but hey–it’s not like we had great schools before, right? It sucks, but what are we going to do about it?
Show up at the state capitol and tell them we’re not leaving until they fix it?
Are we going to organize petition drives?
Will we picket outside of schools? Are we going to tell the teachers to simply take a pay cut and be grateful they still have jobs, like the rest of us, or else we’ll demand true civil service reform?
Are we going to demand that our legislators pass a law mandating a 180-day school year, and tell each one they’d better vote for it or else?
Will we form citizens’ groups, and use them to take out advertisements in newspapers and on TV, demanding that our leaders not make our kindergarteners pay for their miscalculations?