Obama 'Didn't Build That': Hawaii Residents Were Forced to Build Their Own Road in 2009

Obama 'Didn't Build That': Hawaii Residents Were Forced to Build Their Own Road in 2009

You didn’t build that.” President Barack Obama’s assault on the ideal of individual success exemplifies the difference between the two candidates, and two parties, in the 2012 election. His defenders claim he was taken out of context–that Obama was not talking about a successful small business, but the “roads and bridges” that government builds, which enable business success. Even if so, it turns out that government does not always build roads, either–as residents in Obama’s native state of Hawaii found out in 2009, when funding ran short.

As CNN reported at the time, residents near the Polihale State Park on Kauai Island tired of waiting for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources to rebuild a damaged road. The federal government would eventually award the department $6.5 million in stimulus grants, but residents could not wait–their livelihoods depended on the road. So they rolled up their sleeves, dug deep in their pockets, and rebuilt it themselves:

Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii’s Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park — for free…

So Slack, other business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running March 23.

And after only eight days, all of the repairs were done, Pleas said. It was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in.

“We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part,” Slack said. “Just like everyone’s sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn’t wait anymore.”

A reminder that individuals are prior to the state, and the common good is often at odds with government.

Photo credit: islandbreath.blogspot.com


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