Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Is it possible to practice compassionate ways in the modern world?

Today's Honolulu Star Advertiser ran a blurb from PBS Hawaii which owns a parcel of vacant land near the Hawaii Convention Center. City crews are busy removing a giant homeless tent village occupying the site right across the street from a venue that will be in the global spotlight in a few days. As many of you know, in less than a week, APEC lands in Honolulu, along with world leaders that make a difference...I am of course referring to big name corporations who want to do business in various Asian countries (of course the leaders of those countries will be here as well), and Honolulu needs to be cleaned up to attract some attention from these guys as well.

Most economists are saying (as if anyone actually listens to them anymore) that APEC won't bring business to Hawaii and for the most part they are right, we aren't the most business friendly of states. But it doesn't mean we can't try right? Are we practicing compassion by worrying about the homeless in that vacant lot but not giving a portion of our earnings to fund a shelter for them(because in the end that is what it would take, the government doesn't really have a plan for them)? Is it compassionate to forget about the family working their butts off to pay their mortgage, send kids to school, and feed them properly? I say that because if you read the article, their spokeswoman says that it has nothing to do with APEC at all, and this was planned months ahead. Why not just call it like it is? If we don't make Honolulu look like a responsible place, why would anyone want to do business here? More business means more jobs...more tax revenues...a better life for EVERYBODY. Buddha taught us all compassion, but to practice it intelligently. Let us not overlook the silent masses who are not occupying Wall Street, or protesting in the streets, or rioting, but simply trying to get by. When a responsible organization tells their talking head to say disingenuous lines in order to make themselves look better it just demonstrates to us that people may be mistaking our compassionate stance as stupidity.