Jodie Chiemi Ching
Our goal for this special-edition primary election issue was to explore politics from new angles. The Herald editorial staff saw an opportunity to take community issues and political candidates and highlight rarely examined dimensions. Unexpectedly, the process of compiling this issue created an interesting dynamic that forced us to look at ourselves. Even among our editorial team, we as individuals became aware of our difference in values and perspectives. I think this year’s primary election special edition, in general, has been like lifting a rock that hasn’t been picked up in a long time, revealing all the stuff that’s been going on underneath.
In our cover story “Not Politics as Usual,” Herald staff writer, Ida Yoshinaga, asks Hawai‘i non-profit leaders, social-justice activists, family and civil rights attorneys, environmentalists and others to clarify misrepresented or underrepresented issues and explain policies or institutional changes that they feel should be put in place. Yoshinaga’s story dives beneath the surface, giving a platform to the voices to people who work daily to cultivate a sustainable and thriving Hawai’i.
Conversely, in the Herald’s Honolulu mayoral candidate questionnaire, candidates were asked personal questions. If a resumé is the rock’s metaphorical surface, then we used our questionnaire to lift it to see what is living beneath. Seven out of the 18 candidates running for mayor of the City and County of Honolulu answered the Herald’s questions on their values and inspiration: Keith Amemiya, Rick Blangiardi, Colleen Hanabusa, Mufi Hannemann, Audrey Keesing, Kym Pine and Ho Yin (Jason) Wong. Most likely, you have seen who they are as politicians in the mainstream media; turn to Page 7 to find out who they are as people.
And if those two articles are not unorthodox enough, you will want to read Bill Kaneko’s “Zen and Politics.” Drawing from his Zen training, Kaneko suggests that, “Woven together … applying Zen to politics can be a powerful combination which can manifest in skilled leaders, better public decisions and stronger communities.” According to Kaneko, zazen (seated meditation) over time can cultivate a clear mind with which to focus on finding solutions to issues — possibly an ideal approach to public leadership.
As this issue progressed, I reflected on my values and skills as an editor, leader and contributor to the community — how they affect my relationships, this publication and its readers. Similar to these written pieces, my own rock has been lifted; now, I am aware of new challenges, strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, no matter who wins the primary election this Aug. 8, we are all in this together. This issue reveals that with our modern multi-ethnic community rooted in a vibrant culture of Native Hawaiians, immigrants and war veterans, our environment is as complicated as it is beautiful. Dr. Kathryn Takara encourages us to seek more balance by meeting “people outside of our normal experiences” in an interview with Contributing writer Alan Suemori. “[L]ook and listen more wisely” and have the courage to go beyond stereotypes, said Takara, educator, poet and community leader.
This issue was possible because of the support of our contributing writers and the advertisers who sponsored this primary election edition. To all our supporters, Mahalo nui loa!
Kim Coco Iwamoto