A foremost voice for peace in our nation, fueled by the aloha spirit, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on Maui last night condemning America’s fixation with regime change. The inspirational speech before around 1,000 Maui residents frequently drew applause.
The event completed Gabbard’s statewide tour, drawing twice as many people to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center as her other appearances in the state. “So much aloha, care, and heart. Mahalo!” Gabbard tweeted after the event.
Aloha spirit, heart, and courage were abundant during Gabbard’s Maui appearance, which drew opening and closing standing ovations. Gabbard, an Iraq combat vet, has become the House of Representatives’ most independent critic of American foreign intervention, standing up to war hawks in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Articulate, thoughtful, reasoned and soulful, Gabbard began by explaining why she has focused attention on our political establishment’s obsession with regime change in Syria, Iraq, Libya and North Korea.
“The conflict was very hot,” she said about a time when she served in Iraq. “There were a lot of attacks and casualties. Mortars constantly bombarded the camp. One of my jobs was to go through a list of casualties every day. Different politicians would fly in for a few hours or a day and I wondered how many stayed up at night thinking about my fellow soldiers who were bearing the pain and consequences of decisions made in Washington. Were they thinking about the families suffering? I knew I wanted to be in a position to help make sure that our country did not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past where I served in a war that was based on false intelligence and lies.”
She continued she wanted to, “be in Congress and make sure that our country did not continue counterproductive regime change wars. That’s where I’ve been very vocal and outspoken about ending our counterproductive regime change war in Syria that Congress has never authorized and you have never voted for.”
Gabbard pointed out how American military intervention often worsens suffering and increases loss of life. “We need to stop trying to be the policeman of the world,” she said to enthusiastic applause. “We need to speak up and loudly against this and for peace. Because of the trillions of dollars spent on wars our schools are languishing, our infrastructure is crumbling, and we are fighting for scraps for the most basic human needs. We can’t afford to act as the policeman of the world and rebuild and plan for strong communities at home.”
“The madness is difficult to comprehend,” she added.
Among those asking questions, one gentleman noted: “You seem to be one of the few rational people in Washington.” It drew loud applause.
As for President Trump she blasted his “reckless” decision to launch missiles on Syria. And addressing those who once denounced his lies and now shower him with compliments beating the war drums, she said, “it blows my mind, the hypocrisy and dangerous consequences.”
Gabbard declared support for investigations into Trumps’ alleged collusion with Russia, and criticized his refusal to release his tax returns. She deplored cuts to the E.P.A., the decision to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the legislation allowing Internet Service Providers to sell our internet browsing history without our permission. She talked about decriminalizing marijuana – “a substance far less dangerous than alcohol” – championed affordable healthcare, and remarked how America’s Attorney General seems unaware that Hawaii is a state, not just “an island in the Pacific.”
Regarding the environment she commented how we’ve seen the negative impact of over-spraying in the islands, and how “the protection of our aina (land) and water is deeply ingrained in our culture and lifestyle.”
As for impeachment she cautioned such a move would allow arch-conservative Mike Pence to assume the presidency. “He would be very dangerous,” she said, adding that she feels some Republicans would like to see Trump impeached “because they want Pence.”
Witnessing Gabbard speaking in person it is easy to understand why so many around the web are commenting that she should run for president in 2020. An inspirational speaker bucking the establishment, she is courageously taking positions that sometimes find her at odds with the patriarchal old guard on both sides of the aisle.
Empowered with the aloha spirit, she said her inspiration comes from aloha. “With aloha we can work together to bring people together rather than tear people apart. How appropriate for Hawaii to share this special gift with everyone.”
In closing she emphasized that when facing various issues we can ask, “how can we make a positive impact and be of service to others and to our planet.”