Hawaii foreign enough for anti-Obama brigade


POSTED: Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jon Stewart called Hawaii one of America's “;fringe states”; on his show Wednesday, categorizing our lovely islands with the likes of Alaska and Pennsylvania.

How rude.

We are nothing like Alaska. True, our governor is a Republican and a woman as is Sarah Palin, but with the erstwhile vice presidential candidate and darling of the conservative club of the GOP abandoning job, Juneau and the Nushagak River today for other fish runs, there will be no resemblance whatsoever.

As for Pennsylvania, other than its name having two a's, I find no commonalities between us and them.

The context for Stewart's classification was a knee-slapper on the so-called birthers, a group of eccentrics—to put it politely—who really, truly, genuinely and insistently believe that Barack Obama is not an American and, therefore, is not qualified to be president of these United States.

No amount of evidence will sway birthers from their delusion; not his birth certificate, not Lingle's and the state health director's declarations of its authenticity, not vital statistics published in Honolulu's newspapers after his birth in 1961.

Birthers' profound conviction festers in their extreme disappointment about the election of someone different from previous presidents.

That he was born in Hawaii intensifies the exotic flavors of his background. After all, the isolated string of islands—real ones, unlike island-status claimant Rhode—had only been a state for a couple of years.

No way, birthers suspect, could them Hawaiians out there in the Pacific have gotten their act together to be an authentic part of America so quickly.

They are wrong. While it may have taken a bit of time for mainland-fusion to take hold, Hawaii has pretty much assumed the national modus operandi.

Contentious budget fights? We stand with the best of the worst. If we had the population, expenditures, GDP and a governor as big as California's, and its inflexible, unsustainable, citizen-dictum initiatives, we'd be outdoing them in fiscal collapse.

Public school blues? I'd put up ours against New York's, where a battle between the city's mayor and Albany lawmakers over education authority has played its part in staggering that state.

Although New York eclipsed us on the garbage front when in 1987 a barge—loaded with Long Island refuse and no place to go—sailed the eastern shore for weeks on end, we could soon leave them in the dirt. Honolulu's budding conflict over shipping trash to the continent has the right stuff for a long-term legal feud.

Besides, in the 50 years since statehood was bestowed upon Hawaii, we've proven resilient in allowing major problems—a narrow economic base—and conflicts—land use and agriculture development—to remain unresolved. We've also come up with more, such as energy dependence, homelessness and environmental degradation, to leave unmanaged.

But fringe still sticks to us. Maybe if Obama had been born in Virginia, a state that has an attack submarine class and hams named after it, the political fringe would not have its boxers so much in a bind.

We get no respect.


Cynthia Oi can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).