LETTER: Unity and Equality, Fundamental Principles to Guide Hawaii’s Future

September 17, 2019, 9:50 AM HST (Updated September 17, 2019, 9:29 AM)
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Ken Conklin. PC: Ken Conklin

The following civil rights principles should guide Hawaii’s future. They are widely accepted but need stronger application. First I’ll state them, then explain them.

1. All humans are equal in the eyes of God regardless of race.

2. Government should treat all people equally under the law regardless of race.

3. Unity with America: Hawaii is the 50th State of the USA, whose laws rightfully have jurisdiction here.

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4. Unity of Hawaii: The people and lands of Hawaii should remain unified under the single sovereignty of the State of Hawaii, not divided along racial lines.

1. Those who don’t believe in God, or believe in 400,000 gods, have other ways to say it. “All men [people] are created equal.” No creationism? Natural Law gives every human equal worth and inalienable rights. A beautiful Hawaiian creation legend says the gods mated and gave birth to these islands as living beings. Later the gods mated and gave birth to the first human from whom we all are descended. Thus humans are children of the gods and brothers/sisters to the ‘aina. Unfortunately some activists twist this legend to say only people with Hawaiian blood have this genealogy; therefore ethnic Hawaiians have a god-given right to rule Hawaii. Such religious fascism and race-nationalism in Hawaii are just as unacceptable as white supremacy or white nationalism in South Carolina.

2. Equal treatment under the law means there should be no special rights or government entitlement programs for one race preferentially or exclusively. Hawaii has many hundreds of such programs. They are illegal under the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, and morally repugnant as “institutional racism” comparable to Jim Crow laws in the old South. For each program, either open it so all races have access or shut it down. If “Native Hawaiians” are truly the most needy, then they will receive most of the help if help is given based on need alone. Article 12 Section 7 of the Hawaii Constitution grants special rights to Native Hawaiians for “traditional and customary practices” interpreted to include trespassing for shoreline access, religious practices, or gathering certain materials. The pono way to honor that provision while also honoring equality under the law is to extend the traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians to all citizens. In the Kingdom those rights were for everyone regardless of race (“hoa’aina” meant “tenant” not “native tenant”; “kanaka” meant race-neutral “person”).

3. The Hawaiian revolution of 1893 was done entirely by local men while 162 U.S. peacekeepers, present for fear of rioting or arson, were never needed. Hawaii remained an independent nation until 1898. The Republic was given full-fledged international recognition as the rightful successor government by Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Presidents of at least 19 nations, including Queen Victoria — all personally signed letters congratulating President Dole. In 1897 the Republic offered a Treaty of Annexation to the U.S., which the U.S. then accepted. Losing Senators complained that ratification by both House and Senate was not correct procedure for a Treaty. But neither Hawaiian secessionists nor U.N. has standing to overrule the method chosen by the sovereign U.S. to make its internal decision to ratify what the Republic of Hawaii offered. Yes we are Americans.

4. What Kamehameha hath joined together, let no politicians rip asunder. The people and lands of Hawaii should remain unified under the single sovereignty of the State of Hawaii, not divided along racial lines — no race-based government federally recognized as an Indian tribe.

Letters, commentaries and opinion pieces are not edited by Big Island Now.

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