It seems more and more that the idea of using the COVID crisis as an opportunity to do big things in Hawai‘i is quickly disappearing.
Take for instance the situation with the civil service and the idea of early retirement for some. I remember speaking to friends about this months ago, and it seemed that many would be interested in such a package.
But as the COVID saga has dragged on, and other circumstances have come into play (more federal money, a change in White House administrations, etc.) bold ideas like early retirement, a diversification of the Hawai‘i economy, all the way to a revamping of how we do things in this state, seem to be, more and more, being put by the wayside.
I don’t necessarily blame people for not taking the initiative and try to implement the big ideas that have come from this economic and social crisis. Our leadership in this state has not exactly been consistent in anything approaching normalcy. With everything looking like another crisis coming down the road, it seems less and less any real idea of reform is coming on the horizon.
And that is too bad.
What I am afraid is going to happen, relatively soon, is that the people of Hawai‘i are going to be asked to erase from their minds the experiences of the last year to year and one-half. “pretend what you just went through didn’t happen” and lull the people back to a sense of normalcy, especially in the second half of 2021.
And here is the thing, the people by and large are going to sop that up like water to a sponge, and agree that what happened in the past is forgotten, and we will now continue with the script we were reading from in 2019/early 2020.
So what of those ideas that did come out at this time, that if implemented, would make a durable change in Hawai‘i. And here we can talk about real diversification of the economy; a revamping of the civil service so that the threat of furloughs and layoffs are put off and the system still works as a dependable place to work and make a living? What about all those ideas about housing? Can we figure out how to make rents affordable and allow those who are ready, to buy into the “Hawai‘i dream”?
There are some great ideas out there to entertain and even implement. But perhaps we are too tired from being pushed and pulled by a crisis. Too worn out from being ignored by the political powers. Maybe too cynical that things could change for the better for everyone.
Maybe, more to the point, we want to forget about 2020, period. Including the good ideas that did come from it.
I would hope not, because what was done during this time was take a look at our home – Hawai’i – and determined that in many ways, we could make this place better.
Now let us see if any of us have the power to make that vision come to life.