Karleen Chinen

What a year it has been! If you are anything like me, you remember exactly where you were when you learned that Donald Trump was on his way to becoming America’s next president. On Nov. 8, 2016, I was in one of the Dole Cannery theaters, watching the film, “My Korean Teacher,” which was being shown as part of the Hawai‘i International Film Festival. A mechanical problem with the projection equipment forced the projectionist to stop the film and turn on the house lights while he fixed the problem. It was the perfect opportunity for everyone with a Smartphone and any interest in the presidential race to pull out their phone and check their favorite news site for the latest election returns.

All around me, I heard expressions of despair. “Oh no, he’s winning . . . how can that be?”

Donald Trump went on to claim victory that night, and on Jan. 20, 2017, he was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. I hoped that he would shape up from his campaign antics, humble himself, put his nose to the grindstone and work at being a good and honorable American president. Or, at the very least, just enjoy the trappings of the office for four years. Never mind if he didn’t accomplish anything. Just don’t do anything to hurt people. Was that wishful thinking or what?!

I realize that not everyone shares my angst over Trump & Company’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Accord; or over their efforts to dismantle important governmental bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency; or to push America to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea; or to privatize what should be public education; or to roll back health care for our nation’s elders, children and those in need. Every morning brings more angst about the direction our nation is headed — and I don’t even watch CNN or MSNBC or FOX News.

This anger over the president’s actions isn’t healthy. Besides monku’ing, what could I do to fight back? I decided to support nonprofit organizations that support those in our community who need it most. Most of us receive those end-of-the-year appeals in the mail. Generally, I break them down into five categories: human and animal services like the Hawaii Foodbank and the Hawaiian Humane Society, health care, nature and the environment like the Nature Conservancy, cultural organizations that are close to my heart and nourishment for my soul, which is mainly PBS Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i Public Radio.

Sure, it’s costing me some money. But I just give whatever I can afford. These organizations are doing good front-line work, helping those in need in our community. Your contribution helps to make a difference, regardless of how much you give.

At this time of the year, instead of roaming the mall aimlessly, trying to find “that perfect gift” for someone, I hope that you’ll consider giving the gift of humanity instead. Some nonprofits welcome “sustaining” gifts, meaning they will automatically deduct the amount you designate from your checking or savings account or credit card every month and will continue to do so until you tell them to stop. Others will match your donation dollar-for-dollar, drawing from a large gift from another donor. These matching gifts double the value of your donation.

My angst with the actions of the Trump administration will not disappear simply by supporting these nonprofit organizations. But they will make me feel like I’m doing something more than getting angry and complaining.

This edition of the Herald is Number 24 — the last issue of the year. As soon as we send it to press, we’ll take a deep breath and dive head-first into our New Year’s edition, which will be published on the first Friday of the new year, Jan. 5, 2018. Special thanks to all of our contributors who have helped us fill each issue of the Herald with good, informative and thoughtful stories, artwork and columns.

Managing editor Gwen Battad Ishikawa and advertising and promotions manager Grant “Sandaa” Murata join me in sending you our best wishes for a warm and meaningful Christmas and may 2018 — the “Year of the Dog” —bring you and your family good health and much happiness. Thank you so much for your support all year long.

Doomo arigatou gozaimasu . . . Ippe nifee deebiru . . . Mahalo nui loa!


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