Hawaiian send-off to Barack Obama
Aloha Senator Obama,
We hope your visit home has given you time to relax and share precious memories of your "small kid" time with your children, wife and kupuna. We share in your joy of walking barefoot on the beaches, eating local grinds and meeting old friends with names that reflect the diversity of Hawaii.
But I am dismayed that your ties to Hawaii and the Hawaiian culture are used by political critics to question your "American-ness." As a Native Hawaiian and World War II veteran, I am proud that the values of our indigenous people are now included in the values that all Americans live by, regardless of their cultural heritage.
You experienced those combined values as a child during a time the Hawaiian culture was enjoying a renaissance. Today we see the resurgence of the Hawaiian language, music and culture, for which we are all grateful.
But there remains a major threat. Lawyers are lining up to sue Kamehameha Schools, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. These lawyers and their clients ignore history and falsely claim the programs are "race-based" and illegal.
Under the U.S. Constitution, indigenous people are recognized as Native Americans and as such have certain rights, including the establishment of programs for the benefit of their people.
For these critics to describe our efforts to preserve and perpetuate the Native Hawaiian culture as somehow "un-American" is disingenuous and wrong.
Congress today must take formal action to recognize Native Hawaiians as an indigenous people to preserve those organizations which give preference to Native Hawaiians.
Otherwise the place of your birth and where you learned many of your values will be forever lost.
To Obama: Don't let racial wall go up in isles
Mr. Obama, you grew up in Hawaii. You praise our aloha spirit and multicultural integration. But you also have supported the Akaka Bill (S.310), which is contrary to those values.
Bosnia was formerly a multicultural society like Hawaii; yet brutal ethnic cleansing happened there. Today the nation of Georgia is ripped apart by ethnic strife.
Tomorrow is our official Statehood Day holiday. But there's no celebration. Government officials fear hostility from Hawaiian racial separatists and nationalists, who claim Hawaii remains an independent nation under prolonged belligerent military occupation by the U.S.
Recently, in Berlin, you said: "... the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. ... walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants ... cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down. ... Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast ... in the Balkans ... and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid."
The Akaka Bill explicitly calls for negotiations to build such a wall, by dividing Hawaii's people and lands along racial lines. It empowers Hawaiian apartheid. Be true to your Berlin speech. Oppose the Akaka Bill.
Ken Conklin is an opponent of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and has been a plaintiff in legal challenges to Hawaiian programs and entitlements.
Home is yours for the choosing
Mark Terry (Letters, Aug. 12)
had some good views on the possible presidency of Barack Obama, although parts of the letter were a bit bothersome.
Who is to say where one calls his home? A home is not just a place where one must live his entire life to claim it. A home is simply a place of constant, pleasant return.
However, I believe it is extremely important for the people of Hawaii to actually evaluate Obama and what he stands for. What I find a disgrace is that too many people of this state are for Obama just because he "represents" Hawaii. Our president must represent the entire country and we must realize that we are only a minor fraction of the bigger picture.
We need to broaden our horizon and choose to be more aware. I urge everyone, especially those of the younger generation, to vote and vote with purpose. This cannot be a silly popularity contest; as adults we all have responsibilities. Knowledge is power, so go educate yourself on political concerns and happenings!
Obama is a local boy -- period and simple
I beg to differ in response to Mark Terry's Aug. 12 letter.
Barack "Barry" Obama is from Hawaii. I am a classmate of his, and a good friend since the sixth-grade. He chose to go to the mainland because that path would most benefit his career goals. I would say he's done a good job of it.
Unfortunately, he couldn't pursue his goal in Hawaii; many locals can't. That does not mean they are any less local than any Hawaii resident. Barry's my friend and a true local boy from the islands. Give him credit.