The Akaka bill, which would allow Native Hawaiians to form their own government, became a high-profile piece of legislation in the U.S. Senate this year. Here are two opposing viewpoints we found, showing the range of Mainland reaction.
A July 12 editorial in The New York Times by Lawrence Downes was entitled,
"In Hawai'i, a chance to Heal, Long Delayed."
The spirit of aloha, of gentle welcome, is the direct legacy of native culture and an incalculable gift the Hawaiian people have made to everyone who has ever traveled there-wobbly-legged sailors and missionaries, dogged immigrants and sun-scorched tourists. The Akaka bill, with its first steps at long-deferred Hawaiian self-determination, seems like an obvious thing to give in return, an overdue measure of simple gratitude.
Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review, however, called his July 18 article,
"Hawai'i wants a segregation that would boggle your mind."
Native Hawaiians aren't a separate and distinct community. They aren't geographically separate. ... Nor have Native Hawaiians exercised political sovereignty. There are no pretenders to the old Hawaiian throne. There wasn't a purely race-based government in Hawai'i even before 1893. The queen had subjects who had come, or whose ancestors had come, to Hawai'i from all over the world. The government included officials of many races. ...
Jon Kyl, a Republican senator from Arizona, has led the opposition to
"It is the antithesis of the American concept of E pluribus unum and could begin the Balkanization of the United States based strictly on race and ethnicity."