Despite differing opinions, the aloha spirit should prevail

A negative and pervasive wave is sweeping our community over differing opinions, and the way people are being treated is just wrong. In this country, we are all entitled to our own opinion, but people are being chastised for having different views from a vocal group in a way that shows a complete disrespect for the law of the land – the aloha spirit. What am I writing about? The actions and comments against people who are opposed to the anti-GMO and pesticide initiatives.

We all understand passion for an issue and actively promoting one’s views. However, it crosses the line when behaviors become mean-spirited, downright disrespectful and bullying. Inappropriate actions have been exhibited and are now escalating. We’ve seen posters placed in the community targeting residents (a legislator and member of the Monsanto team), featuring pictures of their faces in mock “Wanted”-type posters with images of bullet holes around it. There was a demonstration at the ocean with signs that said “Monsanto employees make good shark bait” during heightened shark attacks. There are the “F- – – (spelled out) Monsanto” bumper stickers. And, there is a growing wave of negative messaging littering social media. It is sad and disappointing that this level of active bullying is going unchecked, and we would ask people to think about what they are doing and encourage them to stop it.

The people of Hawaii are ambassadors of aloha. Yet, in this debate, that seems to have been forgotten and some are acting in ways that are contrary to that spirit and our way of life.

The aloha spirit is so much a part of who we are and this land, that it was written into state law. It reads:

[5-7.5] The Aloha Spirit.

(a) The Aloha Spirit is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the Self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, Aloha, the following unuhi laula loa (free translation) may be used:

A – Akahai, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;

L – Lokahi, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;

O – ‘Olu’olu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;

H – Ha’aha’a, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;

A – Ahonui, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.

These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii . . .

Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.

(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to The Aloha Spirit. [L 1986, c 202, 1]

This makes you wonder about our changing community and those who are not exhibiting the spirit of aloha toward their fellow members of this small island. The bullying and ugliness being exhibited to our visitors and to the world (via social media) is not reflective of the majority of our residents. We hope others will join us in saying it is not right and will not be accepted.

This is a complicated issue that warrants discussion and debate on peer reviewed science, but the divisive actions and bullying must stop!

* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.