Monday, June 22, 2009

Voices For Change: Ed Wagner

ALOHA from HAWAII to the Iranian People and Government

Aloha from Hawaii,

Aloha is the Hawaiian word for hello, goodbye, farewell, love, affection, compassion, respect, and much more. It is what defines Hawaii as a true melting pot of cultural and religious diversity with tolerance and respect for one another. We have, I believe, every ethnic group and religion in the world represented in Hawaii, including Muslims and Jews and Iranians, all living in peace and harmony. We refer to ourselves as "Chop Suey" because we are each from multiple ethnic backgrounds so it is difficult not to respect one another because we are all a part of one another. An Iranian lady teaches at our University of Hawaii.

This diversity is becoming increasingly the norm throughout the United States so much so that if a terrorist were to attack us again, he is essentially attacking his own people as Osama Bin Laden did on on 9/11. If Hawaii residents can live in harmony, so can Muslims and Jews in Palestine and Israel. It is inevitable

The primary culture of Hawaii is, of course, Hawaiian, and the Hawaiian Hula has become such an internationally accepted dance form that a young Iranian man from Tehran competed in our annual International Hula Festival several years ago, and won a prize for his outstanding performance.

I am convinced that people are the same the world over. They are friendly, hard working, and have dreams for a better life. It is the government leaders around the world that cause all the problems. No government is immune from blame, including my own and your government. At least President Obama has been man enough to admit mistakes and inappropriate tactics in our country's past dealing with foreign governments. Power and ego and even greed tends to get in the way and corrupt people who would otherwise have good intentions.

In my 65 years as a U.S. born, average, ordinary middle class citizen, I have never seen someone like Barack Obama come along as such a powerful force for positive, constructive change in our country and the world. He is a visionary leader who has a vision of the future that will help we humans move beyond our petty differences and childish squabbles, help us to truly become a peaceful, civilized society, and make us worthy someday to participate in dialog with other intelligent life on the galactic stage.

Political leaders often mistrust each other and citizens mistrust their leaders. I too am very cynical about all governments, but President Obama is starting to change my beliefs. He is the only politician whom I would be very proud to meet and shake hands with him and his wife and be their friends. I cry a lot every time I learn more about what he and the First Lady are doing for our country and for the world to bring peace and prosperity to all mankind. He is beginning to restore my faith in government and making me feel proud to be American.

We finally have a President who is focused, intelligent, sincere, respectful, compassionate, down to earth, humble, empathetic, optimistic, and capable of and willing to confront and tackle head on the difficult systemic problems that have plagued this country and the world far too long and of developing real, substantive, and concrete solutions instead of just passing the buck to the next President or Congress. He is a man of substance, not of eye candy. He is charting his own course for a better America and better, peaceful world based upon trust, respect, admiration, and the commonality between people everywhere. If anyone can bring lasting peace to our troubled world, it is President Barack Obama.

I think his election was as monumental an achievement as our landing a man on the moon. It was "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He is a man "for all seasons," a man "for our times." I think he will go down in history as one of, if not the greatest President this country has ever seen, at least in my lifetime. He is a true public servant for all the people, not just for politicians or special interest groups like all others before him.

Change and progress are inevitable. It is only a question of time when Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, Israel and Palestine, Cuba, and other countries will have peace, security, freedom and democracy, and opportunities for all their citizens, not just for a chosen few. A friend who came back from a South American country recently said the people there look to the U.S. as an example of the freedom and democracy that they still dream about having in their own country.

It is the young people everywhere who will change the world for the better because they have a greater capacity to change their lives and the lives of those around them than us old folks who are set in our ways and resistant to change. They don’t have any preconceived ideas about how things should be. The young people of Iran have spoken out as have the young people of China. Their time will come. It is just a question of when. Will you please join them in bringing true freedom and democracy to your country as we have in America? Your great nation will be all the stronger and wiser for doing so.

Possession of nuclear weapons and war itself are an example of the immaturity, insecurity, and uncivilized nature of the human race. I think our own President Truman regretted dropping 2 atomic bombs on Japan to end WWII, and that is why no such weapons of mass destruction have been or ever will be used by the U.S. in any war since then. Humanity has learned its lesson because human life is special, not something to be discarded in a trash can or blown to bits.

It is unconscionable to me that anyone would inflict bodily or emotional harm of any kind on another human being, much less take the life of another. Life is too short, fragile, precious, and difficult enough without making it harder.

The possession of nuclear weapons does not make a country powerful or strong. Quite the contrary, it makes a country weak. It is respect for human life and the freedom and subsequent unleashing of creative genius of its people that define a country's power and its legacy to humanity.

Man seems to always find a way to destroy what he builds, and nuclear bombs can destroy everything man has built the past 4,000 years, including all forms of life. It is unthinkable and It is unimaginable that any nation today would be so naive and immature to think that possession of and or the use of nuclear weapons would solve any problems or keep them secure. Human annihilation or extinction is a permanent state. There is no turning back. All the money that is squandered or wasted on development of such weapons could be better used in a more creative and constructive manner to improve the human condition.

I thought you might trust my feelings and views as an ordinary average and retired American citizen since you still mistrust our country's government intentions. I have had a great deal of mistrust for its intentions too over the course of my life so I emphasize with you. However, I feel that I represent the majority of American citizens in their desire to understand and respect people of all cultures and religions. We are accustomed to doing so here in Hawaii. It is part of our way of life. It is part of who we are. We must respect the Aina (Hawaiian for land). We could all learn much from the Hawaiian people and their philosophy of life.

Can you imagine what it will be like when and if we contact other civilizations in our Milky Way Galaxy? We must not be so short sighted in our thinking. We humans must look at the big picture and consider our future place in the COSMOS.

We need more open communication by way of Internet between ordinary citizens of our respective countries so we can get to know and understand each other. Please have a little faith in our new President Barack Obama as I do, himself a Hawaii born Chop Suey resident, and extend a hand to him, as he has done to you, to help build a nuclear free and peaceful world that creates instead of destroys and leaves a proud and lasting legacy for future generations to come.

Owau iho ou me ka ha'aha'a ( Most Respectfully Yours in Hawaiian Language ) ( Literal translation is "I amyours in humility.")

Ed Wagner
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