Tag Archives: Naʻi Aupuni

Hawaiians in Trump’s America

Probably The New Yorkerʻs David Remnick said it best:

…no detestable remark, no flagrant display of ignorance, no scummy business deal has dissuaded his followers … Quote his most hateful eruptions – about Mexicans [so the majority of California are rapists? Think about that…]*, about Muslims [even the Machiavellian Dick Cheney was appalled at the idea of banning entire religions], about women [again, the majority], about African Americans – and the next day will still bring an arena filled with voters who find him incorruptible precisely because he is rich, and who vibrate to his blunt assessments of the American condition.

… and who want to give this man[iac] the nuclear codes. Like many, I didnʻt take Trump seriously because, ironically, I thought he wasn’t rich enough to win the election! Sure he may be worth $3.5 billion (or $4.5 billion as Forbes estimates), but itʻs all tied up in real estate and other ventures, so unless he starts selling off Trump Towers and his 50 golf courses, he won’t have the $1 – 2 billion it now costs to win the Presidency. Or so I thought. I’d underestimated the power of the free ride being given him by the media. Now the Republican Party wants to deny him the nomination through a brokered convention, which could be good news for most, but it’s bad news for democracy. (As is Clinton’s monopoly on Superdelegates).


Photo: M. Puleloa

And now we have the Naʻi Aupuni constitution, so obviously forged from a template with its “Native Hawaiian sovereignty” – the sovereignty of Hawaiʻi lies in the country, not the federally-defined “natives.” Kaʻiulani Milham’s article on “What Really Happened” at the convention caustically states that one Fed Rec supporter was “crying like a little b****” when the constitution came out with support for independence. So now one must ask: is this the country Hawaiians want to be part of? Trump’s America? The one thatʻs the laughingstock of the developed world? The one thatʻs no longer a democracy (see the Princeton report)? The one thatʻs systematically dismantling its own – once envied – education system? The one that was to choose between electing Bush III, Clinton II, or Trump, who at his mansion in Palm Beach is called “The King?” Ask yourself: which is the hereditary monarchy?

One nightmare scenario that’s looking more and more likely is that Clinton beats Sanders on Superdelegates alone, then she canʻt beat Trump in the general election. Some predictions are looking this way, hence Sanders’s statements that only he can beat Trump and Cruz. With his positions on minorities, I think it’s safe to say that Hawaiians would not fare well in Trump’s America.

The US is now about $19 trillion in debt, which is over ten years’ tax revenue, and continuing to borrow about a trillion and a half each year. Much of this goes to the military-industrial complex, which has a budget of about a trillion. They say itʻs $600 billion, but thatʻs just the Department of Defense – much of what is spent on military operations is in other departments: Energy (nukes), Homeland Security (war on terror), CIA (which has a black – i.e., unknown – budget), etc. This is to maintain a network of 700 military bases in 130 countries (there are only 196 or so countries). All the while, about $17 – $24 trillion (its hard to estimate) in US assets is held in offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, etc. This amounts to one year of the US GDP. Ask yourself: which is unsustainable – the madness described above or a Hawaiian economy?

Iʻm not even anti-American – just concerned about what America is doing to itself through hubris and the calculated cultivation of ignorance, and about those who would willingly choose this path when they have other options.

  • According to Trump, of course. The majority of California is Latino, not necessarily Mexican, but most are.

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Means and Ends: Process and Results Orientation

With the Naʻi Aupuni convention under way, different styles of negotiating are being brought to light. Professor Williamson Chang wrote a public grievance against one participant who he saw as being obstructionist and belligerent. I heard that the group adopted, and insisted on, Robert’s Rules of Order (I happen know that Pokā Laenui, a participant, is a strong advocate). But the “debates” in the movement, and even more tellingly – their after effects, have often been focused on outcomes at the expense of process.

The very fact that Naʻi Aupuni is meeting at all is the outcome of a results orientation. The US Supreme Court (whose jurisdiction the organizers accept!) enjoined the election pending review. Following the letter of the law, rather than its spirit, Naʻi Aupuni organizers simply sidestepped the ruling and cancelled the election but continued with the convention.

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Which mode Hawaiians should adopt and encourage comes down to one question: Do you believe in democracy? Even though the Hawaiian Kingdom was an emerging democracy, not all Hawaiians in either the independence or Fed Rec movement do. But many more claim to believe in democracy, while being unwilling to tolerate its slowness, and tendency to produce compromises-that is to say, compromised results. The current Republican style of “all out war” – against Obama, Democrats, and it seems, sanity – does not serve as an inspiring example.

But a simple question faces us: do we want our way, or an outcome that everyone involved can live with?

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