Tom Yamachika, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii sends out a weekly newsletter, usually devoted to explaining the real-world impacts of tax policies. This week, Yamachika took an inspirational turn, encouraging people to “rock the boat” and speak their minds if they don’t like how things are run in Hawaii. I don’t think he’d mind if I quote the part that speaks to the business community:
“On the business side, many of us are fearful that we’ll lose customers or attract political retribution if we support a specific candidate or a specific policy or platform. Some of us contribute to opposing candidates so whoever wins will be our ‘friend.’ Again, these are just variations on the theme of supporting the status quo.
But what if we don’t like the status quo? What if we think that our economy is in the toilet and our elected officials are constantly making it worse? What if we think that real problems that we now face, like staggering unfunded liabilities for pension and health benefits for state workers, or the homeless, or invasive species, are not being adequately dealt with? We’ve got to rock the boat.”
Exactly! I also agree with this advice: “Educate yourself on some of the critical issues we face and share your knowledge. You can even share your knowledge with your elected officials, because some of it, maybe lots of it, may be news to them! (You’d be surprised. Really.)”
Nothing magically makes a candidate smarter just because they win an election and get to write the laws that affect us all, and a good many things happen that make it harder for a politician to remember there is a Real Life out here, beyond the Capitol Building and Honolulu Hale. So, if you’re worried about something the politicians are doing, or not doing, request a meeting with them, make your case. If nothing else, you’ll know you tried.