Wavin’ Flag – K’Naan featuring Will.I.Am, and David Guetta
Together We Can Overcome Negativity
One of my biggest motivators into politics is feeling the pain and suffering of so many people. When I was younger, I always thought that someday, I would change the world around from negative to positive. I will share with you some of my experiences.
My parents grew up poor and made the most of everything they had in life. When things got economically better with the success of their parents’ careers, they had already become adults. They always reminded me to appreciate what I had, food, clothing, and shelter. My father was very strict with me in the old school way, physically and mentally.
I attended public school from grade school up until undergraduate college. Some of the other kids were not financially stable. I saw how the cycle of violence continued with the fights in school. I remember using Aikido to defend myself against another kid.
In high school, I sat next to a girl in social studies who was on crystal meth. She told me how she would not sleep for days. In my science class, there was a smart student who was a year younger than the rest of the class. He placed a “HB” tattoo on his hand and told me he was now a part of the gang, Hawaiian Brothers. I saw young girls get pregnant. I sometimes wonder how they are all doing. In my political career, I learned how depression, post traumatic stress disorder from violence, broken homes, and such were factors with individuals who used drugs. I later supported programs to help individuals get off of drugs and turn their lives around. I also supported programs that helped troubled youth and single mothers.
I read about how the generations before me fought against discrimination. Workers were mistreated. Minorities sacrificed during World War II by fighting for their country even as she placed them in concentration camps. When they returned, the veterans used the GI Bill to gain their college education. However, upon graduation, they had difficulty getting hired because of on-going discrimination.
In college, girls told me their stories of sexual assault and domestic violence. I remember being at a party with a girl I was dating. When she went to use the restroom downstairs, a guy followed her and tried to rape her. She got away, ran up the stairs into my arms, crying uncontrollably. When we left, she told me what happened. I wanted to go back to confront the guy but she wouldn’t let me. I wanted to call the police but she stopped me. I still have regrets of that night. Later, I helped organizations that support survivors of violence.
While I was a Senator and Vice President at the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I was heavily involved in working to make the campus safer. I worked with campus security to ensure there were a strong security presence, an escort program, and adequate lighting and emergency phone booths on campus (cellular phones were just beginning to pick up, but were still expensive). I served as the student representative on the Sexual Harassment Policy Committee with administrators and attorneys.
My very good friend was almost shot by several individuals in a car because of a driving dispute on the freeway. He showed me how the bullet penetrated the car metal above his head and landed on the ground.
I dated a girl and for a number of years her ex-boyfriend and his friends tried to hunt me down in his jealousy.
While in law school, I experienced racism in the Northwest, with name calling, threats, and even not being served at a restaurant. I have always been a strong advocate for equality. Justice does not judge by what she sees, but rather applies the laws fairly to all. It is for this reason; I have supported expanding rights to all, including the same-sex community.
In my first term as a politician, I dated a girl who shared her story of being raped by a couple of guys who took advantage of her by using a date rape drug. I later changed the law to prohibit the use of a substance when committing sexual assault.
I know girls who had individuals; often their ex-boyfriends who posted nude pictures of them on the Internet. I have seen how individuals would even go as far as super-imposing a girl’s head onto a naked body. Another girl I dated had to endure numerous emails to government and media offices that included naked pictures of her. I changed the harassment and stalking by harassment laws to include electronic communication. I also created a new criminal impersonation law.
As a politician, I have faced my share of threats. A man threatened to shoot me with his shotgun. Another man tried to engage me into a fight while I was waiting in line at a Longs Drugs store. I realize that threats come with my job, even death.
We politicians face constant verbal attacks by many individuals. I’ve had individuals attack me on my DUI mistake rather than on the issue at hand for many of the controversial bills such as the shark fin ban and civil unions that came before my House Judiciary Committee, which I chaired. Then there are individuals who hide behind code names on their computers and do personal attacks against me on the Internet. I have more respect for the people who yell at me in my face or reveal their names in their emails and on the Internet.
I have dated girls who didn’t like the gossip, sometimes mean-spirited attacks. It has made it difficult for my personal life.
Throughout my life, there were a number of wars. It is my goal to reduce violence not only domestically, but internationally. I passed the Peace Day Hawaii law that recognizes September 21st of each year to be a day to educate and promote awareness of peace. The emphasis on peacemaking changes year-to-year. For example, one year we focused on international peace and another year we focused on reducing bullying in our public schools.
We all have a choice. We can be negative and cause so much pain for others, or we can be positive and help bring joy and happiness to people. Only if we achieve inner peace, can we spread peace to others. So let’s join together as warriors of peace. Let’s spread compassion and make a majority of the people in the world compassionate and happy, then a majority of the world can be at peace.
Let's defeat negativity.