I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. After this long and dragged-out presidential election, I can’t look at one more red and blue map on TV nor listen to another pundit.
A friend wondered why anyone wants to be president of the United States in 2020, because here’s the grand prize: a raging pandemic, a tanked economy and a divided country.
But there might finally be a “winner” soon and maybe we can move on. Luckily, local politics had none of the national shenanigans, at least that I could see. In fact, I read where the two mayoral candidates for Hawaii Island got together before the election and shared a meal, proving that opponents can still behave with civility and aloha.
Ho‘omaika‘i to our small outpost in the middle of the Pacific for showing the pupule mainland the way it should be. To Mitch Roth and Ikaika Marzo, ‘as how. Mahalo.
Despite frayed nerves, I salute the candidates. Running for office is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re wondering how I know this, it’s because I too ran for office once. It was eons ago when I threw my papale into the ring in a race for class secretary at Hilo High School and soon found out that campaigning for votes was no walk in the park.
In ancient days before copiers, I typed and hand-printed campaign cards to pass around to classmates. With 600-plus students in my class at Hilo High, it kept me up nights. Even harder was having to constantly pay attention to my appearance and being forced to smile all day, making my mouth and eyes twitch by the final bell.
But there were perks, and one was exercising my brain to come up with catchy slogans I painted on butcher paper to post around campus. Luckily, with Wong as a last name, I had a jackpot of possibilities: Think Right, Vote Wong! Follow Me and Go Wong! The Right Way is the Wong Way!
I’m convinced this is where my career in creative writing began.
Unlike adult politics, school elections were fun and taught us civics — vote today so you can grumble tomorrow — and made us think about platforms that were neither raised floors nor fancy footwear.
Since high school, the only thing I’ve run for is the bus, but only in Seattle where I sometimes had to sprint for the 4:10 to get home. Unfortunately, there’s no running for the bus in Hilo.
This brings me to my first request for newly elected local officials: How about a new bus service around Hilo? I’m serious, and will even settle for a sampan like the good ole days. As I rapidly approach the age where bossy kids will be trying to wrestle away my car keys, I’m looking ahead.
I understand we have to wait until a vaccine arrives and the pandemic passes, but if planning starts now, maybe by the time things ease up, we can have some kind of public transportation from Kaumana to Keaukaha.
My next question is more urgent and concerns trash. What happened to the sensible recycle program to which I was so devoted? I enjoyed separating out paper, plastic, glass and cardboard from other disposables. It made me feel sanctimonious about saving the ‘aina, not to mention the planet, and heaven knows we need more of us these days, don’t we?
So that’s it for the moment. Simple requests, nothing elaborate. But don’t worry, there’ll be more.
As for elections, pau for now.
Rochelle delaCruz was born in Hilo, graduated from Hilo High School, then left to go to college. After teaching for 30 years in Seattle, Wash., she retired and returned home to Hawaii. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears every other Monday.