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Aloha Includes Striving to Understand the Other Side

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Aloha includes striving to understand the other side.

I was at the Kahalu'u gas station one day. A young girl was beside a car next to me with her boyfriend close by, pumping gas.

Another truck pulled up and out came a big guy. Bad timing. He was not happy seeing her with another interest. He started shouting at her, "Why you hang around with him for?"

She was intuitive enough to quickly leave the boyfriend to continue pumping the gas while she walked towards the big guy.

Smart move.

The girl and I had eye contact. I was thinking what I could do if that big guy turned violent on them. Fortunately, there were other people around keeping watch on the situation.

She stood up straight and said loudly to his face, "I no like be with you 'cause you bust me up! Every time I'm with you, you bust me up!"

When my gas tank was filled, the two exes were still quarreling. The smart new boyfriend kept a distance to avoid aggravation.

On my drive out, I called the police to patrol the station.

Seriously, you can't force any one to love you, especially when you're threatening to bust people up!

I wonder what turned that guy into such a big bully? Why was he so simple to think he could force someone to love him and only see things his way?

Hawaii has just gone through an extremely divisive and emotional experience with the SB1 Special Session for "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013".

Thousands who had never set foot at the State Capitol showed up to express their views and concerns.

Democracy could get messy but it was wonderful to see the amount of civic participation. The State Capitol can be a very lonely place. And yes, everyone has the right to their opinion and to be heard.

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Whatever side we are on, let's remember the principle of free agency. Our life's experiences and upbringing help develop our values, opinions, and goals. Others have their own life's experiences.

Same-sex marriage is one issue that one side will not fully accept the other. To the majority of the testifiers, the Law of Nature -- i.e. marriage between a female and a male -- is logical, sustainable, and God-ordained. But to others, the Law of Nature does not apply to them. Ultimately, we are all born free agents.

The session is over.

The robust dialogue will and should continue.

We'll see each other at City Mill and at Foodland. We know we must not be scratching the opposition's cars or cutting garden hoses. There are meals to cook, work to do, children to nurture, loved ones to care for, and causes to fight on.

How do we continue?

The words of the Apostle Paul come to my mind.

In 1 Corinthians 8:13, the activist Apostle Paul offered a concrete relationship tip:

"Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."

In other words, live aloha. Make it a virtue to respect others despite the differences. Practice forbearance. Don't push and shove.

My friends will not smoke or drink at our home because they know we don't smoke and drink. Similarly, if my friends don't eat pork, I bring vegetarian dishes to their homes.

Aloha includes striving to understand the other side.

Let the conversations continue.