Presidential candidate Barack Obama has been forced to issue public repudiation and condemnation of anti-American remarks made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Rev. Wright has been Obama's pastor for 20 years, performed his marriage ceremony, and baptized his children; and has received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from Obama. Surely Obama knew about his friend's widely proclaimed views, even while continuing to support him financially and treat him as a mentor. Repudiating him now is not credible.
Televised excerpts of Rev. Wright's sermons show this powerful inspirational speaker delivering bombastic anti-American rhetoric to a cheering, wildly enthusiastic church congregation. One sermon he delivered shortly after the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed blamed America for that event, repeating the words of Malcolm X and Ward Churchill (and Haunani-Kay Trask) saying "The chickens have come home to roost." Wright replaced "God bless America" with "God damn America."
Of course African-Americans have suffered a history of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow segregation laws, racial discrimination in the workplace and social exclusion. In that context it's understandable that "liberation theology" has played an important part in America's Black churches, giving rise to the constructive civil disobedience of Rosa Parks and the uplifting rhetoric of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Regrettably that same liberation theology also spawned the racial separatism of Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam, and the hate-filled racist rhetoric of the early Malcolm X and ongoing Louis Farrakhan.
After many generations most African-Americans (like most ethnic Hawaiians) have become patriotic; proud to be American; increasingly integrated and successful throughout all levels of American society. Yet there is a faction who explain their own failure by blaming America in general, and white people in particular.
Barack Obama rose to prominence like a rocket, with little scrutiny. Born in Hawaii to a visiting African student father and Caucasian American mother, his character was formed by Hawaii's rainbow culture and attendance at the racially mixed Punahou school. His youthful, handsome face and suave, conciliatory manner causes women to swoon at political rallies and seduces everyone into trusting him. America has a great yearning to overcome its racist past -- to find a charismatic social messiah who can lead us toward racial harmony. Blacks vote overwhelmingly for Obama because "he is one of us", while Caucasians vote for Obama partly as a way to expiate a sense of racially inherited guilt and partly in hopes that a Black President might unify America.
Thus it was unsettling to hear Michelle Obama say publicly that she was never proud to be an American until her husband began winning Presidential primary elections. That made us wonder whether her husband felt the same way, and whether her pillow talk in the White House might instill bad ideas into Presidential decision-making.
Then when Rev. Wright's rhetoric became public, red flags went up all over America. Might Barack Obama be a racial separatist or a "Manchurian candidate" -- a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who lulls America into trusting him, only later to show his anti-American anti-Caucasian orientation once he grabs the levers of power? The outcome remains to be seen.
Here in Hawaii anti-American and anti-"haole" rhetoric are accepted as normal. People are accustomed to hearing UH Professor Haunani-Kay Trask say things like this (all from one typical speech!): "If we go back in time to contact with the syphilitic Captain Cook, what we realize is that the first thing that was a gift of Western civilization was disease. The second thing ... was violence ... And then they forcibly made us a state of the racist, colonialist United States of colonial America. Do you have a right to be angry? Of course you do. ... There were FOREIGNERS who overthrew our queen. There were FOREIGNERS who made us a state. And they are still FOREIGNERS today. ... This is OUR country Hawaiians. And you have to stand up and tell the truth. That is our job. That is what the great black American leader said. [chanting] "Tell the truth. Tell the truth." His name was Malcolm X. We must tell the truth. ... The power of white supremacy. The power of white courts. The power of a white country called the United States of white America. ... What is the matter with our people that they are not angry! ... Why do we have to be subjugated to them? Why do we have to be subjugated to the state? To the federal government? The racist Bush "bomb every dark person" federal government. ... Why are WE, as native people, subjugated in our own land? Why are we made to be afraid? Because we are colonized. We live in a colony. The United States of America. All that military theft of our lands, our homelands, our ceded lands, all of that, all of that was done by the United States of America. ... When Kamehameha was getting ready to go to war, he didn't sit there ... make nice. ... When you gonna make war, you get your facts down and you make war. The opposition knows that. Aren't they making war against us? You bet they are. ... Learn your history, and then you will know which side of history you belong on. And you do not belong on the American side. You do not belong on the Hawai'i state side. You belong on the side of your people -- lahui Hawai'i [racially defined Hawaiians] -- that's the side you belong on." For the complete speech see
Here in Hawaii we see hate-filled letters published in newspapers with no protest. There's an uproar across America when Obama's pastor says similar things. But in Hawaii we're accustomed to it.
On December 1, 2003 Eric Poohina published the following in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "In 1893 the United States illegally invaded the peaceful independent nation of Hawaii and in 1993 the U.S. confessed to the illegal invasion by a congressional act, the Hawaiian Apology Law. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are not the enemy of the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian nation. The United States is the No. 1 enemy of the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian nation." On November 25, 2005 he wrote "The U.S. should be concentrating on the evacuation of its military troops in Hawaii and the restoration of the government of the independent nation state of Hawaii to the kanaka maoli, or Hawaiian nationals, the aboriginal people of Hawaii."
On August 6, 2005 there was a huge rally of about 15,000 people at 'Iolani Palace (seat of government of the Kingdom of Hawaii) followed by a march through the streets to Mauna Ala (the Royal Mausoleum). Hundreds of Hawaiian (Kingdom) flags were flown at the rally and carried by the marchers, many upside-down as a symbol of distress; and not one American flag. Governor Linda Lingle herself stood next to Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona, both wearing the red shirt of the protesters, and gave a very supportive speech to the crowd. The Governor could not possibly miss seeing huge anti-American signs with phrases like these: "We don't need no American government. Don't like to see too much foreign power here cause Western influence been killing us for years." and "We are not American. We will die as Hawaiians." She could no more miss seeing those signs than Barack Obama could miss the rhetoric of his pastor of 20 years. See photos at
This inflammatory rhetoric has gained acceptance in Hawaii because of the apology resolution passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Clinton. When that resolution was debated for an hour, Hawaii Senator Inouye promised it was merely "a simple apology" and would not be used to assert special rights, or to demand reparations or secession. Yet today the apology resolution is the primary justification cited in the Akaka bill to establish a racially exclusionary government empowered to negotiate for money, land, and jurisdictional authority. The resolution is cited as a confession of a crime against international law justifying demands for secession. On January 31, 2008 the Hawaii Supreme Court cited that apology resolution as a reason for prohibiting the State of Hawaii from selling any of 95% of its public lands, because the resolution blames America for the Hawaiian revolution that overthrew the monarchy and says that ethnic Hawaiians never gave up their claims to the lands of the (multiracial) Hawaiian government. On March 14 the online magazine "Indian Country Today" reported that a new resolution apologizing to American Indians, passed by the Senate, is likely to find opposition in the House for fear that an apology will lead to demands for reparations -- which is exactly what has happened in Hawaii.
The 1894 Morgan Report and the 1983 report of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission both concluded after in-depth study that the U.S. was not responsible for the revolution of 1893. The NHSC report added that regardless whether ethnic Hawaiians suffer poor statistics for economic and social well-being, the most the government should do is give affirmative outreach to ensure that ethnic Hawaiians are aware of the government welfare programs available to all needy people; and there should be no race-based programs. See
. Yet Hawaii's race-based programs are growing larger and more numerous, with the Legislature now poised to pass a bill turning over money and valuable parcels of land to a government agency that provides racially exclusionary benefits. The pace of race-based giveaways accelerates in tandem with the anti-American rhetoric.
In his short story "The Man Upstairs" P.G. Wodehouse wrote: "It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them." We've surely seen the truth of that here in Hawaii with the 1993 Congressional apology to ethnic Hawaiians. The apology should be rescinded. The time for doing that would be in a Congressional resolution congratulating Hawaii on the 50th anniversary of statehood. If our own Senators and Representatives decline to offer such a resolution, let's hope other Senators and Representatives will come to our aid.
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