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Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 11 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from Charles Haverty, a nonpartisan candidate for U.S. Senate. There are two other nonpartisan candidates, Arturo Reyes and Matthew Kameeiamoku Maertens.
1. What would be your first priority if elected?
I truly believe that the environment needs to be everybody’s first priority. It affects everyone on this planet and regardless of other things we might squabble over if we do not take care of our planet then nothing else really matters, does it? The future health of our world is not discussed nearly enough, the focus should be on what we can do today to ensure the children of tomorrow have a healthy planet to live on as well as educating the future generations how to respect the land they have been gifted from Mother Earth.
Living pono, aloha ‘āina and màlama ‘āina might be Hawaiian concepts but I believed they should be embraced by the rest of the U.S. along with the rest of the world. Kōkua for all those effected is needed as well, from Kauai to Puna, Texas to Puerto Rico they all need help, neighbors and good Samaritans cannot do it alone. Their government, to whom they pay taxes, needs to help with current natural disasters and make huge strides in combatting global warming in an effort to prevent more of them in the future.
2. Under what circumstances should America go to war?
I don’t believe under any circumstances America should go to war, but what I believe could be real and the current reality are not always the same. I believe an overwhelming majority of humans on this planet don’t believe in war and don’t see the point. Knowing many vets and seeing PTSD first hand, it is easy to see that no human should ever be forced to kill another, even if on the defensive and not during an assault, whether it’s face to face or with a drone strike, it is unnatural and fractures minds.
Not only that but war is declared by politicians not soldiers, why not ask them if they want to go to war? Why not ask the people of the nation if they want to go to war? I’m willing to bet the “people’s” response regardless of what country they live in would be a resounding “no!” Conflicts have to be resolved with rationality as well as compassion. If anyone is sent off to enforce a policy that they didn’t vote on knowing full well that they might die for that policy, it better worth it. War should be the absolute last resort.
3. Should Facebook be regulated by the federal government? How?
Facebook along with every other media source. social or otherwise, is facing a real crisis. It is too hard now for the average citizen to know what is true anymore, that being said it’s not too hard to actually find the truth if you know where to look. But people are often too busy (some would say lazy or indifferent) to actually see if that post was real, who posted it and why, and then who paid for it, the million-dollar question. Rhe same goes for local and national news, they are all effected by the money.
There are certainly two types of news, fake and real, it’s sad to say but I believe the only way to regulate it would be full disclosure. If an ad is posted online those ads must visually disclose who paid for them, not necessarily who posted them or made them, just who paid for them. Whoever did, clearly has a vested interest in making you see things their way and whether a person believes their intentions are good or bad is still up to them to decide. If the tech is possible a “verify to share” option would stop the spread of anything fake; people can continue to post whatever they want but if someone wants to share an ad it needs to be verified first.
4. What should the United States do to control carbon emissions and slow climate change?
It’s time for the world as a whole to work on getting rid of carbon emissions all together, obviously things will be grandfathered in and there would be exceptions but I believe technology is at the point where the majority of fossil fuel burning components can be replaced with electric ones and that will only continue to grow.
Investing in companies right here in our own state can change the world. New advances in renewable, sustainable and 100 percent green technology options are being developed every day but not being adopted and embraced. We should be asking our nation’s billionaires to invest in these technologies instead of trading stock on oil companies. Seems obvious, but I will state it anyway, the U.S. should be leading the world in becoming completely “green” and developing technologies which can end the entire world’s need for fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
5. Is it time to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? How?
I think the system is failing as a whole. I believe it’s time to look around the world and design a whole new system based on systems proven successful by other countries. America has fallen behind in it’s duty to protect its citizens. Social Security is a vital part of taking care of our elders and should be separated from Medicare and Medicaid, that should be covered under universal health care.
There are plenty of countries who have figured out how to keep their citizens happy and healthy and it’s in everyone’s best interest for our country to do the same. Unhealthy people put a serious drag on the economy, education as well as preventative health care being on the forefront will greatly reduce this.
Corporations and shareholders need to understand the bottom line, healthy employees equal bigger profits, and if that means putting their money up front in order to reap the benefits later, then it’s their civic duty to do so. Taking care of our citizens leads to happy healthier people, which ultimately leads to a better world.
6. Congress has struggled in recent years to reach agreement on budget deficits, the national debt and spending in general. What would be your approach to fiscal matters?
Fiscal matters, as all matters in regards to government, should be driven by one thing and one thing alone: how they effect the people in this country. The most rational idea, that serves the entire country best as a whole and not just any particular group of individuals or political party or corporation, should prevail. The idea of running the country as a business first, by definition means that its people come second, it’s like a company that cares about profits more than its workers, it’s not a sustainable business model.
Often most bills are too complicated and have too many small clauses, which for one reason or another good or bad, sway votes one way or the other. This usually leads to relatively good bills not being passed. Bills need to be boiled down to the main idea, which both sides usually agree is good for the people, and then passed so they can actually help do some good. The endless amount of “red tape” which strangles this country needs to be cut away so real changes can be made.
7. Whatever happens in the midterm elections, Congress will remain deeply divided. What specifically would you do to help bridge the partisan divide in Washington?
This is one of if not the biggest problems with the government. With only two choices regardless of what side you choose, it makes someone who chooses the other your enemy. Both sides spend so much time plotting and planning on ways to defeat the other that they are blinded to simple fact that we are all in the same boat. Bridging the current divide in Washington will be hard, but being an independent I can stay clear of the party affiliations, politicians are now deeply entrenched in horrible war that can’t be won.
Even if Democrats win the house that really just means they defeated Republicans, more Democrats elected means angrier Republicans. I will strive every day as an independent to show the rest of government that the only side they should be on is the side of the people, not red or blue. And that the only casualties in this political war are the people.
8. What should be done to reform U.S. immigration policies, if anything?
Immigration is a big issue today in America. But should it be? America was founded by immigrants and then settled and expanded by more immigrants. America used to be a shining beacon of light, this country was built on the belief that you could come here from wherever to start a new and better life, it was a place where if you worked hard you could provide better opportunities for your family.
Some have come here illegally but that doesn’t make them all bad people and if they have been here for years contributing to our society and paying taxes while not breaking laws then they should be granted a clear path to citizenship.
9. What is your view of the role of the U.S. military in the islands, and would you like to see that role increased or decreased?
In such an unstable world I believe the military’s role here in Hawaii is still vital to keeping the peace. The U.S. Pacific Fleet defends nearly half the world’s surface, over 100 million square miles, so strategically speaking, though I don’t believe an increase or decrease is necessary, the military has been and most likely always will be a fundamental and integral part of the islands.
The military is also a vital part of Hawaii’s communities as well as it’s economy, it is much more than soldiers that serve. The families they bring with them, the homes they buy, the money they spend, are all things which keep this island paradise continuing to flourish.
10. What specific reforms, if any, would you seek in gun control policies?
Guns are not the issue, neither is control. Accountability is the problem. In 2005 a law was passed eliminating the ability to sue gun manufacturers for crimes committed with their products. Which makes sense because guns don’t kill people, people kill people, so universal federal background checks are a must but beyond banning bump stocks, fully automatics and large-capacity clips, that’s where “control” should stop and accountability should begin.
Mental health issues are a huge part of the problem but completely separate. Every gun has a serial number when it’s manufactured, a simple national registry should leave the last owner of the gun responsible for any crime committed with it. If it’s sold by a dealer without a proper background check and a crime is committed they should be liable and their right to sell guns revoked. If it’s stolen, then the owner who failed to secure their gun should be liable (unless they properly reported it to authorities) and their right to own a gun in the future should be revoked. If every gun owner was really responsible as well as accountable, the country would be a lot safer.
11. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
Education, opioid/meth epidemic, police brutality, homelessness, mental health, universal health care, abortion rights, race relations, equal/human rights, wage stagnation, and our nations plan for the future, to name a few.
There is a never-ending list of things that aren’t perfect in our society and no matter how hard we work, things will never be perfect. But the day we stop striving to make things better and to treat each person as a human being is the day we give up on humanity. It doesn’t make a difference who you are, what country you were born in, the color of your skin, what gender you are, your sexual preference, how much money you have, how famous you are, whether you are skinny or fat, beautiful or ugly, or how many followers you have on social media. We are all humans more any other label than that is manufactured by society, so the challenge we face is to remove all labels and see each person on Earth as equal and deserving of the same unalienable human rights.