Let the Hawaiian People Decide Their Fate

Three polls — one by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the other two by the think-tank Grassroot Institute of Hawaii — show different answers to different questions about Sen. Daniel Akaka’s Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act:

  • In its telephone poll of 303 Hawaiians and 301 non-Hawaiians in July 2003, OHA has the majority of people thinking that Hawaiians should be recognized by the U.S. as a distinct group similar to the special recognition given to Native Americans and Native Alaskans.
  • Grassroot, with two far more comprehensive automated surveys of every household in the telephone universe of the state of Hawaii, one in July 2005 and the second just completed in May 2006, shows that, of 20,426 live answers to the question, 2-to-1 consistently answered "no" when asked, "Do you want Congress to approve the Akaka bill?"

Congress, by enacting the Akaka bill, would initiate, fund, facilitate, and put the Federal stamp of approval on a radical change to the structure and breadth of the government of the Hawaiian Islands, without first asking the citizens of Hawaii.

Mere enactment of the bill would empower the anti-American separatists already wearing red shirts, and frequently marching and occupying the Iolani Palace grounds at will with large signs facing King Street proclaiming, "We Are Not Americans, We Are Not Americans."

By the time the people might be allowed, under the Akaka bill as now worded, to vote for a constitutional amendment, it would almost certainly be too late to put the Aloha State back together again.

Before taking even one step down this dangerous path, Congress must ask the people of Hawaii whether they want to break their state into pieces and give away some or all of it to a new nation which governs Native Hawaiians separately.

If the people say yes, fair enough, let the new government be formed provisionally, negotiate the proposed break-up and giveaway and require it to be a one-time final global settlement within a set time, say two or three years, and make the whole package subject to the final consent of the governed, all the voters of Hawaii, at an election to be held no later than, say, four years. Provide equal state funding to proponents and opponents. If the majority of voters say "yes," so be it. If not, the bill is rescinded, null and void and of no further force or effect.