Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is standing with protesters who are trying to stop the construction of a giant telescope on Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea. Now, his efforts to protect the island’s culture and his call to “lead with empathy” are inspiring people to encourage him to run for president.
The actor and former wrestler who lived in Hawaii as a child is doing his part to make sure that protesters in the state feel heard after posting a photo to Instagram of himself amongst the people pleading to keep the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) off the sacred land.
“At the heart of any matter, is where the truth lies,” Johnson captioned the powerful photo. “Truth is, these people - our people - are the backbone and spirit of Hawaii and our culture. They are willing to die here to protect this very sacred land we stand on.”
Johnson went on to say that his support of the protest “is not about stopping the progress of science.” Astronomers hope to use the $1.4 billion telescope to spot potential signs of life on exoplanets, according to VICE. Instead, the Hobbes and Shaw star wants to open people’s eyes to the possibility of scientific advancement without doing it at the expense of human beings.
“When we lead with empathy, we make progress thru humanity,” he wrote. “I remain optimistic our leaders will do right by the people. Because in the end, that’s really the only thing that matters - people.”
According to Vox, construction on Mauna Kea was set to begin on July 15 — after a decade of legal fights and the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that construction can proceed. Protesters began to gather at the site on July 13, Vox reported. Now, 11 days later, Johnson is using his platform to advocate for the people feeling frustrated and hopeless.
“Beautiful. And very honest and straight to the heart of the matter. @therock has always been an advocate and champion of the people. 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 Let’s hope the leaders and politicians listen, and work to find a solution,” one commenter wrote.
But others went so far as to say that Johnson should just become a politician himself.
“So.... presidential run please,” someone commented, while another said, “I vote THE ROCK for president!”
The conversation around Johnson running for president isn’t new. In fact, there’s been speculation around his possible candidacy since President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory. And although Johnson seemingly shut down talk of a presidential run in a Rolling Stone interview last August, he hinted to IndieWire in January that he hasn’t given up on the idea of throwing his hat into a political race at some point.
In the meantime, Hawaiians are showing their appreciation for The Rock for demonstrating such care.
“Thank you for listening, for showing, for sharing,” one person commented on his photo. “It means a lot to us, my people, for you to take your time to visit and see for yourself the love, the aloha.”
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