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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hannemann's Ace Up His Sleeve—The Race Card!

 I realize this happened an eternity ago in blog time, but a story that should have gotten more notice seems to have disappeared into the memory hole of the Fourth of July weekend. There was time when Mufi Hannemann used to assail then Mayor Jeremy Harris for spending money on parks and neighborhood markers beyond the city’s means. If Harris had said, “Well, you’re just criticizing me because I’m haole,” we would have all joined Hannemann in laughing Harris out of office.

But earlier this month, when Mayor Hannemann was getting criticized for his personal attacks on anti-rail community groups—he had even just received a bipartisan scolding for his heavy-handed approach from Gov. Linda Lingle and former Gov. Ben Cayetano—he apparently decided that this town is a bastion of racism that can’t abide the sight of him defending himself:

 “When a big Polynesian guy gets up, (people think), ‘Oh, my, too strong,’” Hannemann said. “That’s what’s happening in people’s mind. I’m passionate. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe a Polynesian male could be the leader of this city. ... I believe in my heart and soul that this is the right thing to do.”

Ridiculous. More ridiculous even than his attempt to cast an anti-rail effort that’s essentially led by a retiree, a graphic designer, a UH professor and some small business owners, as some kind of sprawling, nefarious plot by evil, Mainland “ultraconservatives,” drenched in petrodollars.

On the other hand, it’s not quite as ridiculous as the email circulating around the same time, from someone purporting to be with the anti-railers, that compared Hannemann to Hitler and Osama Bin Laden.  It’s true, the mayor is doing everything he can do to keep the public from voting on rail, but he hasn’t invaded Poland or loaded anybody onto trains to concentration camps. Let’s have some perspective!

People, when you know you’re right, you don’t need to play the race card, or the Nazi card. 

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 in Permalink

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About This Blog

A. Kam Napier has been editor of the magazine since 2005, and a writer with the magazine since 1994. He blogs on the magazine and its contents, as well as events and issues around Honolulu.

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