The infamous day in November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy’s life came to an unexpected and undeserved end was a day of mourning for the entire world. He was the champion of the poor, but nevertheless one of his memorable statements during his inaugural address is difficult to comprehend.
It was easy for him to say, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” It seems to me that he was one of the rare individuals for whom this country could rarely have done any more than it had already done before he even began his remarkable contribution to the nation in return.
For example, according to the 2013 Time Inc. publication People, “Jack & Jackie: Remembering Camelot, 50 Years Later,” John F. Kennedy was the child of “extreme wealth and influence.” During JFK’s 1946 campaign for Congress representing Massachusetts’ 11th District, his father — whom had, by the way, served Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ambassador to the United Kingdom — had, according to People, promised, “We’re going to sell Jack like soap flakes” and Jack won 73 percent of the votes.
Now, in contrast to him, what about those for whom poverty, prejudice, racism, and above all a double standard of justice have been their primary experiences in this the greatest and the most prosperous nation the world?
In general, those who have everything and still want more at the expense of perhaps 90 percent of the society might have something to do with the existence of those who give the worst of themselves because that is all that they have received from the “country.” And more importantly, how about tens of millions of Americans who do their best and yet do not receive a fair share of the nation’s resources?
I am deeply relieved, impressed, and moved by Mayor Billy Kenoi’s message explaining his decision to sign Bill 113, regulating GMO practices.
In particular, I thank our mayor for the following:
1. Affirming support for local farmers and ranchers versus corporate agribusinesses;
2. Stressing the importance of carefully protecting Hawaii’s environment and its people’s health;
3. Providing clear information about steps the county is taking to support a variety of different types of local agriculture, which is essential for us to have a healthy, sustainable economy and access to local foods;
4. Emphasizing his commitment to monitor the impacts felt by local farmers and ranchers, and focus on fact-based information related to environmental and agricultural decisions, including those related to GMO practices.
In a world where it seems that corporations often control government decisions, the County Council’s passage of Bill 113 and the mayor’s signing it give me hope that government can have integrity and serve the best interests of the people.
Once again, much thanks!