"deOccupy" is the Honolulu version of the Occupy Movement. The "de" stands for "colonizers quit oppressing indigenous people -- (a.k.a `Hawaiians'"). You might have noticed them in Thomas Square Park -- lots of signs and some tents. Across the street in front of them is the Honolulu Museum of Art, and behind them across the street is the Blaisdell Center -- an all purpose publicly funded event and entertainment center. We'll explore that irony later.
Their message is one of anti-oppression on many different social justice fronts. Their use of tents however has de facto caused them to become activists on behalf of poor houseless people. What has ensued has been a series of government harassment, some arrests, legislation, litigation, some more legislation, and the complex administering of abandoned property laws on sidewalks. Oh, and some big cement flower pots. All told costing millions to the City and County during times of fiscal distress.
Clearly at the center of this is hubbub is free speech. More specifically how speech can be done. Kind of reminds me of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, except in this version the seemingly young Sam is deOccupy and seemingly old curmudgeon-ish character is symbolic of the City and County of Honolulu government, with green eggs and ham representing the exercise of free speech.
Sam wants them to try free speech and kind of keeps at it. Not under a tree -- there's a "no camping" ordinance in the park. Not in a box tent-that obstructs the sidewalk. Not in the dark park - curfew ordinance there. Not by a car -- creates distractions for motorists. Not in a car --against state law, for human habitation. Not on a train -- not built yet... but may be a law one day I bet, I bet.
If their speech were in the form of a painting favorable to wealthy artsy types it could go across the street and hang on multiple walls from now until eternity at the Honolulu Museum of Art. If deOccupy had oodles of money and their speech took virtually any other form they could have it run for ages and ages at the City and County owned Blaisdell Center all while having their message flash in big bright lights on busy city streets for all to see - with the City and County subsidizing it to boot! Could you imagine deOccupy in the same building Elvis left so many times in the '60's and '70's? "Well, what about infomercials run late at night aired on KHON TV down Ward Avenue and over a couple blocks?" you might ask. Nope. These are (gasp) poor people...
Hmmm. Colonist oppressors? ... wanting free speech?? ... for poor people??? ... in a park???? By King George, I've got it! Well, actually that would be Queen Victoria and Prime Minister William Gladstone who collectively were good with The Parks Regulation Act of 1872, which created a Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park London. There orators, preachers, revolutionaries, and seemingly unbalanced individuals would mount soapboxes and say whatever they pleased. Now it's a big tourist attraction (Yes, that's the "t" word my politician friends). Not exactly what deOccupy had in mind, but it's a start. One small step for free speech, one giant leap for Honolulu-kine.
So deOccupy, to call upon Dr. Seuss one last time, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." When he writes "a whole awful lot," trust me, he means it.