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
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.”