For our purposes, a visionary is someone who is planning or thinking about a future using their imagination and/or wisdom.

How then do we know when someone is a visionary?

Politicians use simple words or phrases similar to the way breakfast cereals are marketed. Is this their vision?

Over the years campaign slogans have been developed to be ambiguous. They allow the voter to interpret their meaning.

For instance: “Make America great again.”

Is the assumption that it isn’t great?

Or “hope” and “change.” Hope for what? Change what? Where is the substance?

In 1928, the Herbert Hoover campaign slogan was “A chicken in every pot.” In a country that was starving for food, this sounded like a good idea, but was it achievable? Labels and slick phrases all too often are a means of describing individuals, groups and ideals without providing substance.

The group 808 Vets is putting out a call for visionary leaders. Flickr: Steven Tom

Or they are designed to confuse the issue. Either way makes it easier to divide and conquer.

We now enter the realm of reasonable expectations. What was unattainable in Jules Verne’s time, landing on the moon, was realized a century later. The materials and manufacturing techniques were yet to be developed before Armstrong and Aldrin made history.

More Divided Than Ever

Today we have marvelous inventions that allow us to communicate with almost anyone on the planet instantaneously. Yet we are more divided than ever before.

Being able to tweet or text does not bestow validity to one’s arguments or views.

The internet allows us to gather information in a matter of seconds that would have required weeks of research 50 years ago. Yet we seem to be less intelligent in our decisions. We may be smarter but we seem to be less wise.

Much of the voting public is frustrated. At least that is what many experts see in low voter turnout. Government has become bogged down. Things are not getting done. Whether it is from incompetent politicians and bureaucrats or a system that has become too mired in its own rules is irrelevant. There needs to be a change.

808 Vets, our organization, wishes to enlist veterans and nonveterans alike in a campaign to find new directions for Hawaii.

We are an informal group that wants to help shape that vision of a future Hawaii. It is our intention to highlight as many issues as we can and offer an alternate view.

What has kept veterans from organizing?

It is not just politics either. There are issues that can be tackled at the grassroots level through volunteerism.

With our military experience we have been trained to solve problems. We also learned that cooperation yields greater results than confrontation.

There are approximately 120,000 veterans in the state of Hawaii. That represents a significant voting block.

What has kept them from organizing? Is it the same complacency that affects non-veteran voters?

Accepting Responsibility For The Future

The returning veterans of World War II had a huge impact in Hawaiian politics and society. So what’s stopping us now?

Veterans invested their lives in the U.S. Constitution and in our country. We would like to see a return on that investment by making sure this experiment in democracy works.

It is not just politics either. Much can be accomplished without government participation.

Yet government is often the pointy end of the stick. The people in power need to do their job as well. That requires competent leadership.

We seek a society where the promises that were made are kept. There is much to be done here. Who better than those who fought for it to take the initiative?

We have an opportunity to influence the direction of our state through the ballot box and through working together. There is a larger concern for our children and grandchildren, not just for ourselves. We sacrificed for them. What kind of state will they be inheriting?

Hawaii needs to become more self-reliant and not so dependent upon Department of Defense budgets and tourism. We need to diversify our economy to give our keiki more choices after graduating from school as opposed to seeing little opportunity to live and work here. How do we start?

We need to demand better candidates. We need visionaries. We need plans for how they intend to tackle our problems. We as a group can also formulate plans.

But we need ideas.

We would like to hear from all members of our society so that we can work together to solve the issues that plague us. We can be reached at

We look forward to your input on how we can work together.

As John F. Kennedy said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

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