There is a saying that, “In the land of the blind, a one-eyed beggar would be king!” A legally blind friend of mine who lives in Hawai’i would hope that some wise beggar would replace the head of the Hawai’i Pacific University where my friend’s employment has been terminated. That university found him unfit to teach since he has lost a good part of his visual acuity and needs certain aids that are available in order to continue instructing for HPU. Aiding a handicapped instructor by investing in equipment to assist him or her obviously is not covered by the human relations policy approved by HPU’s top management.
Employers in Hawai’i still have the freedom to discriminate against the handicapped until legal proceedings change their mind or the media brings the abuse of the handicapped to the attention of the public. Informed activists are likely to be sympathetic to the victims harmed and outraged with any local institution that refuses to help handicapped employees. However, a silent press is unlikely to publish anything derogatory against friends and local interests, especially when there is some unseen collusion between the parties.
Out the window at the newsroom goes the freedom of the journalist to publish reports that might disturb the public and negatively impact longstanding covert relationships. Editors are famous for kowtowing to the desires of powerful politicians and unions, frequent advertisers, and wealthy investors or donors who support the enterprise. Jobs in the print media are being eliminated in many periodicals and newspapers in America. The youth of our nation are reading what they choose on the Internet that is free to the subscriber. The Internet publishes opinion pieces that are dedicated to informing readers about what is actually going on in high places.
Intimidated journalists like any threatened job-holder won’t risk losing his or her job by antagonizing the boss or questioning his agenda. The editors of certain Hawaiian publications are not interested in my friend’s plight. They prefer to ignore the abuse of his rights in the workplace and let the legal defenders of human rights bear the burden of bringing about change. A deserving victim is not served by the courts quickly. State legislatures can’t write laws that cover all inequities. So, the Fourth Estate must step up and be proactive when some alleged abuse comes to their attention.
I have detailed information about this case including names which I will not furnish unless I am subpoenaed to do so. However, a responsible one-eyed beggar with the position of editor ought to be more responsive and desirous of serving the public. Freedom to do what is considered a sacred trust begins with the publisher and managing editor. If a citizen is being harmed by losing his employment because he is handicapped, the media ought to investigate and inform their local readership about how the local system is being administered to favor some and not others.
Is the press free? Is the intent of the law to assist the handicapped being obeyed? Is there a one-eyed beggar with the connections to bring this story to fellow citizens? Yes, that role is mine. My friend shouldn’t have to resort to some expensive, interminable law suit to have justice rendered. The management of HPU can promptly reverse their decision if there is enough public outrage about their harsh treatment of my friend.