When I was a kid growing up in New York, well, I don’t remember a whole lot, but I do remember that one public service announcement to “Keep America Beautiful.” If you are my age and grew up on the mainland, you know what I’m talking about (fact checking in progress: Keanu says that he also saw this ad as a kid here in Hawaii). The one where the Native American guy who, for an unknown reason, is standing right next to a highway where white people in their fancy 1970s cars toss buckets of trash out of their windows as they speed by. Some of it even lands at his feet (I will admit that I didn’t recall this part at all but You Tube is super helpful to jog a memory.) And then he says nothing, just looks straight into the camera, straight into your heart and has that single tear drop running down his face. Powerful stuff, especially as a kid. Maybe we should start running those ads again. Or maybe they should be updated for Hawaii.
Certain things in life seriously make me angry, like not being able to access diet coke when I want one. Or Republicans telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies and then trying to slash social services to the bone. OK, Republicans, ditch the abortions, so that means you guys will all run out and adopt a kid or sign up to provide foster care, that’s the plan right? And finally, people throwing trash out of their windows, especially here in Hawaii; although I have only witnessed this on a few occasions. There was one time it happened at Ala Moana Beach park as we were driving through, really?, tossing trash out of your window. OK, it is not the volume like in the 70s commercial but why does that paper, or wrapper or anything go out your window? And then today, the very local looking guy,with the music so loud my organs were vibrating, the Oahu sticker filled in with an image of the Hawaii state flag and the hand coming out of the back seat window to toss some paper out. My immediate gut reaction is to yell but likely not the best of ideas. The haole girl in the orange car, with the short hair and the NY sticker, no not wise.
But really, what gives, come on people. Where’s the aloha? How about respecting the aina? I know that this is not just lip service. I know that aloha still exists here. I know that here is different from everywhere else and that it is not a myth or a legend, this aloha spirit. But when I see that hand carefree hanging out the window dropping trash, I only hope that Hawaii is able to hang onto its serious specialness, its wonderful mix of culture, language and people. I hope that Hawaii is able to hang on to its Hawaii-ness. It would not be the same here without it.