“We make what can’t be made so you can do what can’t be done.”
What does that line from a Samsung advertisement really mean?
It means the ostrich should be Hawaii legislators’ inspiration as they try to dig out of the end-of-session mess they created by not agreeing on a plan to keep the Honolulu rail project on life support.
Program your simulation goggles just right and watch this baby tear up the tracks!
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
It’s not because an ostrich buries her head in the sand.In fact, unlike the legislators, she does not.
No, it’s because this wingless, flightless bird can fly! At least it can in the TV commercial.
The ad is quite moving. An ostrich wanders onto a vacant patio, and while pecking at some crumbs on the table inadvertently sticks her head into goggles that turn out to be a virtual flight simulator.
Cue Elton John’s “Rocket Man” in the background.
She is smitten by the vision and longs to fly and touch the sky. After many failures alongside the rest of the flock, which mocks her for trying to do the impossible, she soars.
“I’m not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I’m a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone”
Making what can’t be made so that we can do what can’t be done is a perfect description of what the Legislature has to do to salvage rail.
So let’s build a rail flight simulator!
What visions to put in it?
Well, as for rail itself, you can’t find real pictures of actual, you know, physical movement, except for that stock footage of a single, shiny green and white rail car peeking turtle-like a foot or two out of its home before returning into its bus barn to nowhere.
So we need some really heavy simulation.
The goggles could show:
• A simulated rail train full of happy Kapolei passengers as people from the parts of the island not served cheer and shout, “We are so happy for you! Delighted to make the sacrifice for the good of the aina” and members of the carpenters union admit they always felt the opponents’ pain.
• A letter of apology from ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano admitting he was wrong all along.
• The official group photo of the Legislature after the next election showing the faces of a healthy number of Republicans in both the House and Senate.
Wait, forget that last one. It’s impossible to imagine even in an alternative reality.
• An end-of-session scene with legislators arm in arm singing, “Can’t you hear the whistle blowing?”
So fly on, rocket men and women, and make what can’t be made so we can do what can’t be done.
Before you soar, though, here a couple of disclaimers.
First, “Rocket Man” ends with this line sung over and over:
Neal Milner is a former political science professor at the University of Hawaii where he taught for 40 years. He is a political analyst for KITV and is a regular contributor to Hawaii Public Radio's "The Conversation." His most recent book is The Gift of Underpants.