Issue 17: War & Peace

Published January 2014

We all have our battles, our own wars to wage. War can consume a person, ensnarl one’s soul in bitterness and unforgiveness—but only if you let it.

EDITOR’S LETTER

“Shame on you.”

“You are a disgrace to the LGBT community.”

“Bigot.”

The judgment of House Representative Jo Jordan in light of her vote against the passage of SB 1, the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, was swift and without reserve. After news of the openly gay representative’s treacherous stance went viral, thousands of comments spewed in from locals and those around the nation in the comments sections of articles and on Jordan’s Facebook page, the above a few of the tamer of remarks. Some compared Jordan to the KKK or Nazis; one likened her actions to the memory of being “doused in gasoline and set on fire as a tiny baby” and “tortured to death … under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church and in Auschwitz.”

In the days that followed Jordan’s coming out against the bill, speculations of her motivations were made. “Was your fifteen minutes of fame worth it?” wrote one commenter on Facebook. Some accused her of being politically motivated, pandering to a religious or conservative voting public in hopes of reelection; others thought she had gone insane. Many called her a coward.

“I contemplated on standing up here today,” Jordan said in her testimony on the House floor two days after her public opposition of the bill, “because I stood up on Wednesday. See, three days ago, very few people knew me. And after I stood up on this floor on Wednesday and spoke … I became blasted. When you talk about body blows and coming with battle wounds and scars, anybody sitting or standing on this floor is not going to take what I’m going to take. … I have to be impeccable with my word, and I can’t go back now. I’m sorry to say with a heavy heart, it’s still in opposition.”

For weeks prior, the state had been divided, at war with each other and with ourselves. While many were entirely convinced, some were undecided. Christians wrestled with lifelong beliefs. At least one in the GLBT community was not convinced (though clearly, as evidenced by her introduction of HB 6, a measure relating to same-sex marriage, religious freedoms, and licensing, Jordan was not simply opposed to same-sex marriage).

Much of this issue, our War and Peace issue, developed as a direct response to the tensions that boiled over in the days leading up to SB 1’s passage, but there were other issues as well that brought on this squall of intense energy. In the last few months of 2013, thousands marched in the fight against GMO; hundreds protested against development of North Shore and Kaka‘ako; dozens cried foul in what they deemed a race-based acquittal of Christopher Deedy; one took a sledgehammer to homeless shopping carts.

I don’t know Jordan, and repeated requests for an interview went unanswered. As such, I can’t presume to know what prompted her decision, or what prompts anyone, for that matter, to fight for what he or she believes in. But there is something to be said of Jordan’s action, of standing by her word in the face of public ostracism, of a consideration of the community-at-large in sacrifice of her own personal freedoms. “It’s not given to people to judge what’s right or wrong,” Leo Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace. “People have eternally been mistaken and will be mistaken, and in nothing more than in what they consider right and wrong.” We all have our battles, our own wars to wage. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. put it so eloquently. “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” War can consume a person, ensnarl one’s soul in bitterness and unforgiveness—but only if you let it.



The Toy Soldier

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Images by Jonas Maon Pressed up against the plastic bag that held them, 35 little toy soldiers gazed out at the surrounding scene. From their view next to the dishwashing soap and beef sticks, they could see a half dozen Spam musubis warming under a glow of light and a lanky figure making its way toward them. “Each time I do a project, I need at least [...]

At the Shops

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At Hound & Quail On Momoko: Matt Bruening black cut tank, $42. Salt Liko kimono, $83. Rumi Murakami tuxedo pant, $118; available by appointment through The Cut Collective. M33Ms split crystal pendant, $380; triple rivet ring, $220; double rivet ring, $200; double tube rivet ring, $200; skin ring, $65; tri bangle, $360; tubex bangle, $175; all availabl[...]

McCully’s Trending Trifecta

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Images by John Hook On a nondescript strip of King Street, three new lifestyle shops are creating a flourishing oasis of contemporary wares. Mōno features a carefully curated variety of gadgets for the home and office; Truest capitalizes on the popularity of sneaker culture in Hawai‘i and makes it easy to source limited-edition footwear; and In4mation, th[...]

Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell

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While an average tourist passing through the North Shore, stopping to watch the turtles at Laniakea, might never see it, a shocking world of violence, intimidation, and extortion exists on that seven-mile stretch of coastline, according to Smith.

Pacific Pacifism

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RIMPAC exercises. Image courtesy of Dallas Nagata White. In the wake of the Inouye era of federal spending in Hawai‘i, the United States military has a renewed strategy in the Pacific. With a pivot towards Asia, and in consideration of the Trans Pacific Partnership and forthcoming RIMPAC exercises this year, debates are renewed regarding pacifism and war—[...]

A Girl Like Janet Mock

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Images by John Hook All of Janet Mock’s dreams are coming true. At 28, she is planning a national book tour for her memoir Redefining Realness, released on February 4 by Simon & Schuster. A twitter hashtag she created, #Girlslikeus, has gone viral for transgendered living visibly, and she has become a leading voice in national discussions of LGBT [...]

In the Shadow of the Beast

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Images by John Hook “Everywhere you look in Hawai‘i, you see the military. Yet in daily life relatively few people in Hawai‘i actually see the military at all. It is hidden in plain sight.”—Kathy E. Fergusen and Phyllis Turnbull, Oh, Say, Can You See? The Semiotics of the Military in Hawai‘i The military in Hawai‘i is so ever-present and familiar that,[...]

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