Politics in Hawaii: Is Something Broken?
From the Bishop Estate scandal of the 1990s to today’s Act 221 and Department of Education governance, politics in Hawai‘i is plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability.
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For me, life is a journey. I expect that there will always be problems—political and otherwise, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I hope whatever is broken gets fixed, but what really matters for me is that I try. Not trying would be shameful in my parents’ eyes. They’re gone now, but my children are here. And for reasons that I don’t completely understand, I am determined always to be worthy in their eyes. The thought of disappointing them is unbearable.
Karen Keawehawaii Farias expressed something similar during the Bishop Estate controversy. After encouraging her daughters to get involved, she said to herself, “If I tell them to do something, and then I do nothing, what does that make me?”
I only hope that a culture as diverse as Hawaii’s can find room for and maybe even appreciate a few civic commandos.
Now, like any true academic, I will end with a series of questions rather than answers: When the people to whom we entrust the awesome power of government fail to provide a reasonable degree of transparency, or flatly refuse to be accountable for their actions, whose responsibility is it to stand up?
If not us, who? If not now, when?