By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 1/26/2021
Occurred: 5/30/2020
Topics/Keywords: #Coronavirus #Maui Page Views: 225
Don Henley saw it coming when it actually started: The Reagan misadministration.

Today we returned our rental Jeep to Hertz, which required another drive to Kahului. The last news we received before leaving the cabin was that there were riots on the mainland in response to the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis. But that seemed very far away from us in Maui.

Keith and I had to drive separately, of course. He drove the Jeep while I drove Zach's truck. This was Keith's very first time, ever, of driving the Hana Highway (other than the three miles between the property and Hana). Wanting to get the return part over right away, we filled the Jeep with gas at Safeway, then continued to the airport.

There was no one staffing the place, other than one bored gate keeper. There were signs saying to leave the key in the vehicle, so I did; and Keith picked me up and we left the airport without getting close enough to anyone to be concerned about social distancing.

One of the first things I spotted was that, although it had been raining when we left the property and we passed through some heavy showers on our way to Kahului, it was actually clear and hot in Kahului. In fact, it was so clear we could actually see the observatories at the top of Haleakala, some 11,000 feet above us.

However, it was a crowd gathered alongside the road on the other side of the highway that garnered more attention. It literally went on for miles, with signs expressing frustration and anger at the needless murder of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of the police.

I rolled down my passenger-side window and waved and smiled in solidarity with the protesters.

There were, of course, no dissenting voices. This is Maui. Everyone here agrees with them anyway.

Plus, we have no right-wingers starting riots, as has apparently been happening on the mainland. (These are white scum who start riots hoping the blacks will get the blame for destroying their own homes and businesses.)

I was a child of the Sixties. I was in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., came to visit. And I discovered, first hand, how the media, which continually uses the phrase "liberal media" so that "media" comes to mean "liberal media", is, in fact, and has always been, very conservatively biased, when I listened to my transistor radio reporting on "riots on King Street" while I stood on King Street, where not a thing was happening.

That was the year I sat in church and heard Monsignor Burns, at homily, announce that the Diocese of St Augustine would never open its schools to integration. (The following year, it did.)

That was the year my 7th grade substitute teacher, Mrs. Solano, told us that it was a "scientific fact" that "colored people" had smaller brains than did whites. I was a science nerd and knew a little how science worked; so I raised my hand. "What study, or studies, came to that conclusion?" I wasn't really challenging her; I assumed she'd know. But she became furious with me and never called on me to answer another question the rest of the year.

Still, decades had gone by. Bill Cosby may have been no saint, but Dr. Huxtable and family were in everyone's living rooms once a week. We had a black President who was globally admired. Obviously, racism had finally been conquered.

And then Trump showed up with his naked narcissism and racism and suddenly the scum of the earth arose, empowered to be assholes just like their messiah. Kaepernik taking a knee was ridiculed, and the man lost his job. Now, a man had been murdered, by a knee, wielded by a police officer, while three others watched and permitted it.

If we ever wanted to hang onto our innocence, well, it's too late.

Yet, other than being an internet activist, there's not much I can do here in Maui. As is true of so many things in this age of coronavirus, we have to just breathe and bide our time.

There's a spot we pass on the way to Kahului, around mile marker 18 on the Hana Highway, where there's a break in the cliff that reveals a hidden valley. Keith and I have wanted toi check it out every time we've passed it, and today we finally did.

It turns out the valley, itself, is privately owned. However, there is a steep stairway to an overlook, so I ran up to see the valley on one side of me, and the ocean to the other.

When I got back down I found Keith shooting selfies. My heart melts at his youthful joy.

It's probably best for me that I be here in this time. The enforced peace of our property and lives is probably the only way I could have survived.

Turmoil is not my friend.