The story of last week’s fatal wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui involves callousness, greed and corruption. These conditions and vices plague every society, but they manifest most often in large organizations such as governments.
In an interview with CBS News that aired on Tuesday — one full week after the catastrophic Aug. 8 wildfires that so far have resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people — professional surfer and Maui native Kai Lenny explained that the people of Maui have faced this crisis with little outside help.
“For some of us, we were kinda sitting back, waiting for help to arrive, and then nothing was sorta happening. We were just in shock,” Lenny said.
The 30-year-old surfer then identified the precise moment he knew that government officials were not coming to help.
“When I started getting texts and messages from friends on the other side [of the island] saying, ‘Hey, no one is here. Do you know anyone you can call? Can you help us?'”
Maui residents then launched a community-driven relief effort that Lenny assumed would be temporary.
“We just took it upon ourselves, like, ‘OK, we could probably do a full day to hold our friends and family over before the, you know, caravan arrives with everything,” he said.
Alas, the caravan never arrived.
“I haven’t seen, you know, one state, one county, one federal official at any one of the donation hubs where people are most suffering,” he added.
The Department of Defense claimed on Thursday that its personnel are working with agents from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Maui, but Lenny had not noticed a federal presence. Nor has anyone else on the island to whom the surfer has spoken.
“You could go to any one of those hubs on the west side of the island, and you can ask everyone there, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, we haven’t seen anyone. No one came to talk to us. No one’s come to assist,” he said.
The full segment on CBS News, including Lenny’s interview, ran for more than five minutes.
Thursday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, prominent conservative influencer KanekoaTheGreat posted a truncated clip featuring Lenny’s comments about the lack of government response. Readers can view the clip below.
Maui pro surfer @Kai_Lenny talks about the volunteer army that has stepped up to provide supplies for the community of Lahaina.
“I haven’t seen one state, county, or federal official at any of the donation hubs where people are most suffering.” pic.twitter.com/3bJp7boBr9
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) August 17, 2023
According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the current national debt stands at $32.66 trillion.
Meanwhile, according to The Balance, an economics and finance news site, the all-important debt-to-GDP ratio has exceeded 100 percent every year since 2014, hitting an all-time high of 129 percent in 2020. Prior to 2014, the debt-to-GDP ratio had not exceeded 100 percent since the massive defense buildup during World War II.
In the 1940s, of course, all that spending led to the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. What have Americans received for their spending in the 21st century? What have the people of Maui received?
From President Joe Biden, they received “no comment.” It remains almost impossible to believe that even a man in the throes of obvious cognitive decline could muster so heartless a response to a reporter’s question about Maui.
Then again, we saw it from former Vice President Mike Pence when asked about Americans’ suffering. “That’s not my concern,” Pence told Tucker Carlson in a July interview.
No government that spends on that scale, enriches its insiders and ignores its citizens can maintain legitimacy.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.