I volunteer for Tulsi2020, as I believe Tulsi Gabbard will be the BEST next president of the United States of America. One reason I support Tulsi is she is both compassionate and wise. Another reason is Tulsi admits she doesn’t know everything and is willing to listen to others and learn. Her position on the standoff at Mauna Kea is wrong. Although she is compassionate, Tulsi is not wise.
Although I disagree with Tulsi on this issue, I still support her presidential campaign. We need to accept reasonable people can express different opinions yet still remain friends and loyal supporters. I understand why Tulsi sympathizes with the action of the Kanaka, native Hawaiians. They are a great people who face many obstacles.
Yet the Kanaka are not wise relative to Mauna Kea, as they have forgotten their own history and now defy their king.
Alleged Desecration of Mauna Kea
Opponents of the telescope consider it a desecration of a mountain that many Hawaiians consider sacred. They pledge they will not allow the telescope to be built. While they may consider Mauna Kea sacred, their kings and queens did not.
In 1857, the Crown and Government leased the mountain lands of Humuʻula and Kaʻohe—including the summit of Mauna Kea—to Francis Spencer and the Waimea Grazing and Agricultural Company. They established ranching stations and operations across the mountain lands. [source]
In 1874, King Kalākaua invited British astronomers to observe the transit of Venus and expressed his dream of building an observatory on the Big Island.
In 1890 King Kalakaua decreed the summit of Mauna Kea be designated for astronomical research. The last Hawaiian King made this decision, which was supported by most alive at the time. His sister, Queen Lili’uokalani, did not change his decision.
Of Hawaiian practices of navigation, and knowledge of the and heavens, stars, and world around them, Queen Lili’uokalani also observed — “The ancient Hawaiians were astronomers, and the terms used appertained to the heavens, the stars, terrestrial science, and the gods.” (Liliuokalani, 1897).
As reported in StarAd today, Tulsi took a microphone to tell the protesters:
“We recognize that what is happening here is about so much more than just the telescope, that this speaks to not only the history of disrespect and dishonoring sacred places here in Hawaii, but this alarming trend that we see happening around the world.”
What we both honor and respect in America are not kings and queens, monarchs, dictators, small groups or even the majority, as this can turn into mob rule. We honor and respect the law — and our law is rooted in the U.S. Constitution, as well as the state of Hawai’i constitution in this case. Developers of the TMT project have followed the law.
Astronomical Observation Extends to King Kalakaua
The summit of Mauna Kea, situated in the ahupuaʻa of Kaʻohe, was noted as a site of importance for modern astronomical observations by the Pendulum Party of 1892, and in 1964, the first modern observatory was built on top of Puʻu Poliʻahu.
By 1965, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Hawaii initiated their program “to exploit the exciting potentialities of the Mauna Kea site for astronomical purposes” (cf. Newell to Hiatt, Feb. 16, 1965, in this study).
In 1967, the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy was founded, and in 1968, the Board of Land and Natural Resources leased the entire summit of Mauna Kea to the University by Lease No. S-4191.
While the practice and activities associated with astronomy on Mauna Kea represent the shortest of the periods of history and land use described in this study, its forty-one years (at the time of this writing) in the summit region of Mauna Kea, also represent the period of most significant changes in the natural and cultural landscapes on the mountain.
StarAd described the confrontation:
More than 3,000 opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope turned out for another day of protests Sunday, lingering to pray, listen to music and watch hula performances on the closed roadway, which was packed with TMT opponents. People set up folding chairs and tents dozens of yards out into the rough lava fields on either side of the access road.
The protests on Mauna Kea have stopped the $1.4 billion TMT project in its tracks while Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim leads discussions to try to resolve the impasse.
This is violent confrontation. Non-violent and peaceful protest would not block the road. Blocking and obstruction is a bullying tactic and action of intimidation and control. If government is called to clear the road, it is likely violence will ensure. People will be harmed. The protestor action is therefore inciting violence and contrary to the U.S. Constitution. Tulsi by supporting the protestors is not respecting the U.S. Constitution.
Supporters of TMT note the project has a legal right to proceed and remind the pubic sponsors of the project spent a decade obtaining the necessary government approvals to move forward.
Please support Tulsi Gabbard for our next president, but I call for our Compassionate and Wise leader to remember the principles that guide our glorious nation.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”