I was originally neutral regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope and Mauna Kea Mountain situation prior to this year's protests. It escalated when stars Jason Momoa, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, and Jack Johnson went to Mauna Kea. Governor David Ige went to Mauna Kea. Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Lorraine Inouye, and Attorney General Claire Connors addressed the matter. Hawaiʻi Island has a special place in my heart! I've performed for live concerts and events out there!
Then, I saw posts by a passionate Mauna Kea protector that appeared controversial. I looked at the facts and arguments from both sides, and there was social media sensationalism and online noise pollution to screen through.
TMT astronomers and advocates did their due legal process. Mauna Kea protectors voiced their thoughts in that same legal process. The result is that the TMT is permitted to be built on Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea protectors are now contesting it on Mauna Kea by blocking the TMT from being built on Mauna Kea!
This situation struck a cord in me as a University of Hawaiʻi alumni at Kapiʻolani, law-abiding fourth-generation American, Hawaiʻi native, Freeman Foundation Scholarship recipient from Beijing Foreign Studies University, human beatbox, musician, mathematician, STEM advocate, and lover of mathematics. I personally know how good the world of mathematics is currently doing for me in my life and the lives of others. More good than not good!
This topic is complex as it is affecting the communities of Hawaiʻi nei, Mauna Kea, the United States of America, and TMT.
I will not go without saying that I am grateful for my mathematics education, audio engineering education, and study abroad scholarship in China! Yes, STEM and higher learning institutions do offer great solutions! With that said, it's difficult to see the Mauna Kea protectors' and TMT astronomers' points of view clash.
Regardless of which side we're on, TMT supporters and Mauna Kea protectors, are not above the law of the state of Hawaiʻi and the United States of America that govern us of all as a people. Neither should the Government be above its people. As Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
I do see the bigger picture that TMT can coexist on Mauna Kea. TMT on Mauna Kea is a great frontier for our descendants now, tomorrow and years to come!
I urge Mauna Kea protectors, please note when your protesters come and go, they have to abide by state laws that governs each and every American and Hawaiʻi citizen. TMT supporters and Mauna Kea protectors are not exempt of our governing laws.
I respect and "ai kea" about our people of Hawaiʻi Nei, Mauna Kea, TMT, the laws of the United States of America, and state of Hawaiʻi. Let's be civil and please take ownership of being law-abiding Hawaiian American citizens! Neither the TMT nor Mauna Kea own the mountain. We are called to share Mauna Kea Mountain together! -Jason Tom