Looking Forward (Mostly) To The Mail

I respond to the sound of the U.S. mail carrier’s truck like Pavlov’s dog to the ringing of the bell. Oh, I don’t salivate, but I’m up, out of my chair and out to the mailbox.

I’m not sure why.

Decades of habit, I suppose, because there’s seldom anything of note there — plenty of stuff, but little worth reading.

This past Tuesday was typical: solicitations from four worthy charities, a reminder that my annual ACLU dues were overdue, a department store’s reward passes, and the quarterly alumni magazine of a college none of my family ever has attended.

No, these days the good stuff comes via email. So too do words that sting, including some from an old friend on Hawaii island, a policy wonk and a longtime student of Hawaii politics and government.

He took issue with my expressed delight at the “Yes” vote on Maui’s anti-GMO initiative. His tone was serious, and not a little condescending.

“Let’s see,” my friend wrote: “We have an ordinance on Maui/Molokai that would put up to 700-800 people out of work.

“The National Park Service’s petition to declare the Keauhou Aquifer a state water management area is poised to shut down development and public investments (a new courthouse, the community college at Palamanui).

“Lower Puna’s burning up, fast becoming a kipuka in crisis.

“Forces are at work to shut down HC&S on Maui, the same folks who brought the GMO initiative.

“Lawsuits in three counties over the GMO issue.

“We have a lawsuit to block a dairy at Mahaulepu, Kauai.

“We have a community protest movement on the North Shore of Kauai to block Mr. Omidyar’s planned development.

“The military will soon begin its analysis of force reductions, likely leading to withdrawal of the Stryker Brigade from Hawaii at the least.

“All those new high rises in Kakaako are deliberately a childless environment. Offshore investors don’t pay state income taxes?

“Who’s going to pay for your pension and health plan in 2025, Dan? And all of your union friends’ …

“So, go ahead, be ‘delighted’ about the vote on Maui.”

His point, a good one, was that we can’t continue to “kill the productive sector and revenue base of a society.”

And if we do?

He attached a photo montage of abandoned buildings in the late, great city of Detroit.

The week also brought this to my computer screen: “I cannot believe that the MidWeek would actually print your racist comments. … I am a person of Japanese-American descent and I can honestly say that I, and most of my Japanese-American friends did not vote for David Ige, although I have the utmost respect for him. These friends whom I speak of and myself also did not vote for Mark Takai, Colleen Hanabusa or Mazie Hirono. Your narrow-minded perceptions are an insult to journalism and all the people of

Hawaii. Please resign.”

No, I don’t think I will. But the lady’s email, plus that of my Hawaii island friend, have given me a new appreciation of the charity solicitations, member dues reminders, even the occasional bills that arrive in my snail mail box. They don’t condescend; they don’t accuse; they just say, often politely, “Pay up!”