The Only Constant is Change


As a newspaper editor, the status quo means nothing to me. I canít write, ďToday, nothing happened.Ē At the heart of every news story is the report of some kind of event that occurred in time. And that event usually connotes some kind of change.

Change, by its very nature, means things are not staying the same. In politics, it means kicking the old scoundrels out of office to make room for the new scoundrels. Or so it seems. Itís time for a change, we say.

Having lived on the Windward side for most of my time on Oahu, I see both resistance to change and a clamoring for it. We donít want Waikiki-style development, but we sure want city and county and state money to develop housing, repair highways, resolve congestion, improve schools, beaches, libraries and parks, and just make the quality of life a bit better. Better policing and better emergency services. Better government.

The price of this money is change. And we canít just keep talking about it. We must embrace it, accept it and get on with it. Change is good. Change is what lets you know youíre still alive. 

Getting things done is what change is all about. It is not just about removing the incumbents from office. Thatís not change, thatís substitution. Real change comes from electing those people who arenít afraid to disaffect one person to help nine others. Real change come from the ability not only to listen but also to hear. Real change comes from choosing people who have already made a difference in their community and society.

In 2004 we made choices that resulted in some real changes. On the island we elected a Pacific Islander for mayor ó thatís change. But we also chose to maintain the status quo in the senate, the house and even the presidency, though locally we voted for the other guy.

In 2005, the opportunities for change abound. Just last month, a three-car collision on the H-1 snarled up traffic for hours, yet the investigating officers readily admit keeping traffic moving was not a priority. Just because we have done something one way for years does not mean its is either the right way or the best way. We need to stop talking about it and do something about it.

This spring seats on Oahuís 30-plus Neighborhood Boards are all for grabs. We need new board members who will seek change and not the status quo.

W. Knox Richardson is the editor and publisher of the Oahu Island News.