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LETTER: Same Subject, Different Worlds

July 27, 2019, 8:13 AM HST (Updated July 27, 2019, 11:20 AM)
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Monday’s front page in the WHT highlights the extreme polarization of thought and emotion surrounding the construction of the TMT. A parade of protestors against the construction and a recitation of the scientific issues in support of it. We’ve heard most of this commentary over the last several years but there seems to be less and less room for compromise lately, perhaps none at all.

I hear protestors speaking of desecrations and a line in the sand while supporters speak of a few rowdy malcontents obstructing the good of all mankind. I have a thought for both sides… grow up! This is a most imperfect world and a hugely imperfect situation. If you cannot try to make the best of it, the worst will result. You are in close proximity to each other and emotions can easily get out of control and then there will be no way back.

Today’s triple flyover by the Loadmasters was as subtle as a train wreck. The result; people like myself will simply say, ‘A pox on both of you’. You had it all and blew it. Mostly, you will have demonstrated yourselves to have been unable to have dealt with a ‘no-brainer’. We will go elsewhere and take our resources with us. Please… prove me wrong!

Who am I and why do my thoughts matter? My wife and I have been residents for four years and came here thinking it would likely be our last move. We’ve seen this same kind of scenario play out (over many years) in Atlantic City, NJ. Substitute casinos for observatories. Substitute help for seniors for science for humanity. Substitute stable technology growth for the vagaries of casino tourism. The passions are the same and so are the public interests. The histories are eerily similar; a growing desperation with a tourism-based economy and few viable alternatives. The only offer on the table became the best offer by default. Some thirty-five years later, the county is in a financial meltdown, perhaps unable to ever recover. Not such a great idea after all. Once the blood was in the waters, the sharks came to feed. Among them was a world-class predator who went on to greater things (you know his name).

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I’ve lived my life in the world of STEM realities and should therefore be an ardent TMT supporter, and I was, until the day on the overlook platform at Keokea that I stood and watched and listened to the rolling surf. What I saw awakened the memory of a four year old boy standing where he was told not to be, on a boardwalk lashed by an off-shore hurricane, the waves breaking over the boardwalk and chasing him home. Some seventy years later, I can recall the moment (fear included before my mother swooped me up). What I felt then was what I felt at Keokea. Words fail me and cannot explain. There was a connection between places and times. The little boy called the big waves ‘the old white rollers’. Now that I am one, I’ll stay with that name.

Some of us connect with the forests, others with the solitude of caves, and still others to the mountain(s). For me, it has always been the ocean. I was born and lived most of my life on a coast, a different ocean on a different shore. We had a saying; You never get the sand out of your shoes. I cannot explain except to say that it is somehow connected to my long ago and has found its way here.

Please, people… this a good place. Don’t break its heart, and mine.

Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.

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