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The martial art of Jiu-Jitsu is known as a fighting system in which one learns to allow the momentum of an attacker to be turned against them. Here in the bluest of all states, I have been watching in horror as the organs of right wing conservatism are tricking locals and ethnic Polynesians into voting against their own best interests. It aint pretty, but if you have stomach for it, it's below the fold.

Ever since moving here I have regarded the political clime as, well, mystifying to say the least. Even for such a Democratic state, the Tea Party/GOP/fearful conservative demographic is exceedingly small but very very vocal, and overly funded.  The fact that someone like Linda Lingle could ever become Governor of Hawaii attests to this bizarre dynamic. Two or three times a year (especially on "Tax Protest Day") I can drive into Kona and see the annoying gathering of Tea Party holdouts, their expensive cars parked close by, shaking signs and waving yellow Don't Tread On Me flags in anger over how we are not living in 1789 anymore. It is rare that you see a dark face amongst their scrubbed, white and slightly sunburned ones.  But occasionally you do, and when that happens you are lured into a true Post Turtle moment. For those not aware of the joke, one guy walking a country road sees a turtle placed on top of a fence post and asks a neighbor what it is. The response is "a post turtle". He asks again what that means, and is answered that no one knows how he got up there, but he doesn't belong there and everyone agrees he needs to be helped down.

So, imagine my horror when I get emails from some of my favorite beautiful Hawaiian friends, regarding….what's this? That Obama is a secret Muslim who is ready to spring a gun grabbing autocracy on us while we sleep. Now, I know these people well.  They are loving, humanitarian, generous, easy going Hawaiians.  Shining souls all the way around.  So how is it they are being sold this garbage?  How could they be tricked into supporting the very party and political forces that would cast them out into the Pacific Blue given half a chance?

I don't have the silver bullet answer for this one, but a few theories are developing. Let me get the most disturbing one off of my chest first. I have discovered a low simmering racist sentiment in many island enclaves, held against African Americans. I cannot for the life of me figure out where this is coming from, given the nature of American Blacks and Polynesians both being aggrieved groups when it comes to civil rights. I also have to admit that Hawaii does not apportion enough public monies for education, and I have run into plenty of adults who were cheated on that level and run about as very uninformed adults; fertile territory for the minions of fear and hatred politics. Just yesterday I received yet another barely racist anti-Obama email from a musician friend of mine who creates wonderful music about spreading love and the Aloha spirit. Yeah, explain that one to me.

Yet another of my ohana here has tried to convince me that Obama wants a socialist Hawaii. This person, mind you, is working two minimum wage jobs and is struggling to support a family with three small children. He has been programmed to attack the very people who want to raise his income through the new proposed minimum wage standards. On top of it all, he is an advocate of Hawaii Sovereignty, who thinks the tool kit of the GOP will get them there.

Maybe the Right has found the correct buttons..or combinations thereof…to push in the good hearted Hawaiians to make them as fearful, suspicious and hateful as they are. Maybe Hawaiians have been duped into watching too much Fox News (not an uncommon pitfall in these parts, with the attachment so many have to their TVs and internet). Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to the subject.

Or maybe, this is one of the keystones of the Right wing ruse on America that been gestating since Reagan.

Originally posted to Irminsul on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 03:06 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Honor yr instincts; follow their money--> (9+ / 0-)

    you are right to be suspicious--
    the American saying "I smell a rat"
    fits this.

    "There's something happening here
    What it is ain't exactly clear"

    I bet there's money behind this indeed, as you suspect.

    Mahalo for your post,
    from your allies on the mainland,

    and all those who treasure
    the aloha spirit
    Hawai'i has brought
    to these United States.

    Venceremos!

    Venceremos! (We shall overcome!)

    by Redfire on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 04:00:23 PM PST

  •  I think some of it has to do with... (11+ / 0-)

    the same sex marriage issue. Like many Polynesians, the Hawaiians were heavily influenced by missionaries and much of that remains today.

    Back when Lingle was still in office and was taking her time deciding she would sign or veto the legislation recognizing civil unions, I drove past the capital during a protest against civil unions and much to my surprise, most of the faces protesting were Hawaiian.

    I'm sure there is more to it than that, but it is still a big issue with some of the locals.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 04:19:24 PM PST

  •  I lived in Hawaii for 10 years. (12+ / 0-)

    The first thing my father did when I told him I was moving there was warn me about the anti-Black bigotry. I didn't doubt him, but when I lived it and saw it first hand, it made me sad just how right he was.

    The irony, of course, is that while you'd hear Black music constantly being listened by Polynesian, White, and Asian youth (everything from rap to funk to raggae), and adopting many African American mannerisms, slang, clothing styles, etc., many were just as bigoted as they could be. Clearly, something passed down to them from their parents.

    And on the TV news and in the newspapers, African Americans were little more than an afterthought if our existence was even recognized at all. I used to fantasize about what I'd do if I had the money: open a coffee shop called "The Invisible Cafe" in recognition of all the "invisible" Black people in Hawaii. Pretty much the only Blacks whose presence was ever even acknowledged were those in the military. But there were plenty of us who weren't in the military.

    It's a tragically common legacy of racism: Brown and "Yellow" people integrating the anti-Black attitudes of White people. I was there from 1989-1999. Sorry to hear the Tea Party's stirring up a mess now, too.

    If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

    by Oaktown Girl on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:55:14 PM PST

    •  I lived there from 1989-2006 (4+ / 0-)

      On the money about the anti-Black sentiment.  It's Xtian religious fundamentalism, along with a massive influx of rich malahini Haoles and Japanese buying up homes the locals can  no longer afford.  The leasehold system of  land ownership has also thrown many people out of their life-time homes. Classic modern re-colonization.

       The easy, get along attitude is turning to resentment, just like on the Mainland, because it is almost impossible to live without at least 2 jobs. Stress is stress and all the palm trees don't make it better. .

      The massive military presence doesn't help, either.  
      Love the place, but it's like Kansas with scenery.....

      Jesus died to save you from Yahweh.

      by nolagrl on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 07:18:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Same story here in GA. (8+ / 0-)

    Kind, generous, loving people scared of the Socialist Tyrant Oppressor Obama.

    I don't get it either.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:21:45 PM PST

  •  Eh, stay a while longer. It'll become clearer (12+ / 0-)

    Lingle got elected because she pretended to be a moderate Dem running as a GOP candidate to break through the GOB (good old boy) corruption.

    Jeremy Harris got caught red handed and left the race as her's to win.  Mazie couldn't get organized in time.

    The idea that our local teabaggers have a cunning plan is simply wrong.  They're using religious intolerance and hate of the other in their usual reflexive way.  From what I see, conservative (pseudo)Christianity is one of the biggest problems in the State.

    Luckily their numbers do not seem to grow.  Us old haoles die off and the kids are less bigoted every generation.

  •  Excellent piece... amazing how propaganda works, (5+ / 0-)

    right?

    I lived on Oahu for 6 years and it changed my life. So thankful.
    Aloha.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:45:29 PM PST

  •  I've noticed a change even in the last 4 years. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reflectionsv37, Nulwee, kurt, Rogneid

    We only visit for a couple weeks once a year, but I could not believe what I heard a table of people at Pine Tree Market discussing the other day.  It was straight talking points from Fox News.  I've also noticed a lot of stickers of semi-automatic rifles popping up on native owned trucks and cars.  I can't remember the slogan that goes with it, but it's a step further than "Native Lands in Native Hands" that I'm used to.

    But boy, it is freaking windy this year!

    20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back! http://www.csgv.org/index.php

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 10:10:39 PM PST

  •  Close to Paradise (6+ / 0-)

    In my opinion we are very, VERY lucky to live here.

    In fact, I consider myself privileged to live in Hawaii.

    We have a congressional delgation that is composed entirely of progressive Democrats.

    And a legislature that is overwhelmingly Democratic.

    And a progressive governor.

    And the best weather in the entire country.

    Wow ....talk about heaven on earth.

    When you're in Hawaii, heaven is only a local call.

    Local people are no more (or less) racist than anywhere else. Human nature don't change very much from place to place. There are good and bad people everywhere.

    I will stay here for the rest of my life even though I am not originally from here.

    Aloha to all.

    "Love Is Why We're Here"

    by Paniolo Joe on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 01:52:34 AM PST

  •  I'm seeing and hearing the same thing where I live (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    inHI

    I live in an area that just about started the Tea Party.  Billboards, slick shiny mailouts, and yard signs popped up overnight before anyone had heard of the Tea Party.  Lately though there has been a lot of talk about how much they can't stand one of the Legislators in the area.  Yes, she's black.  Mind you they have no reason to be hateful to her as they really shouldn't be affected by her at all.  None of them live in her district, yet they are all on the same page complaining to anyone that will listen how bad she is.  I'm almost at the point that I feel I should say something to her.  While I find it odd hearing the same thing happening in Haiwaii, why should it, when as you said "money is pouring in"...

  •  "A pawn in their game" (0+ / 0-)

    There is the classic game of pitting one group against another and claiming that their small gains will be lost in comparison to the threatening Other. This generates hate and keeps either group from seeing that the loss of rights and collective is to the advantage of the owner -- the Doles and the Monsantos, so to speak, as well as the Wynns.

    Everyone is innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:44:35 AM PST

  •  Rick Hamada and Perry & Price (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott on the rock

    While they aren't as strident as Limbaugh and Hannity - they are part of the morning media.

  •  Although New Jersey is nothing like Hawaii (0+ / 0-)

    we are a beach & ocean state, & a lot of the wonderful  attitudes that it generates are present here, including live & let live.  Hurricane Sandy broke our hearts.  Yet we manage to elect a Chris Christie even as Repugs don't bother to contest our state for Presidential elections.  If we have to put marriage equality on the ballot,  outside religious right PACs will pour millions in here to try to defeat it, sowing bigotry.  I don't think you are being overly sensitive. I just think you love where you live,

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 12:33:17 PM PST

  •  Ironic indeed seeing as how Hawaii is very (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, Irminsul

    dependent on government spending as a primary source of revenue and many people owe their employment to government or their businesses to secondary spending from those employed by government.

    Re the prejudice against blacks, part of it is that the initial exposure to black people was servicemen stationed in the islands.  Other than that most people (myself included growing up in Honolulu) seldom encountered a black person or family and while Hawaii prides itself on multiculturism, it is biased toward Asian ethnic groups and those groups often hold native Hawaiians and blacks (and whites - haoles) - in mild contempt.

    Those Hawaiians hoping for sovereignty yet identifying with the GOP need to study some history, as it was the powerful planter and merchant community (Republican, mostly) that was fundamental in overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy and the annexation of the Islands to the United States.

  •  Why are you complaining? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scott on the rock

    Hawaii House of Representatives 44 D, 7 R
    Hawaii Senate 24 D, 1 R (that is not a typo)

    All Democratic congressional delegation, Democratic Governor and Lt. Governor.

    I'd love to have that margin in NY!

    •  Democratic Hawaii...BUT.... (0+ / 0-)

      True, however the right wing in Hawaii definitely conived a way to concentrate it's small margin of power in the right places: council positions, real estate, key government appointments (Neil A. is not averse to appointing an R who strokes him the right way). In this manner I would say the Right is way over-represented in regards to actual power here.

      •  Barack Obama just appointed an R (0+ / 0-)

        to one of the most important positions in Washington -- Secretary of Defense.

        And most Kossacks rolled over and played dead.

        •  Another example (0+ / 0-)

          of how lopsided conservative, mostly white power is in the islands - Honolulu's Dist 1 nutcase Teabagger Tom Berg is the definition of childlike sociopath. He has been thrown out of meeting after meeting for refusing to yield the mic, or for disrupting things in a number of other ways.  He also has a well known drinking AND DRIVING problem, and even once showed up drunk at President Obama's hotel in Honolulu during a world summit.  The cops had to remove him.

          Had he been Black, or Polynesian, they probably would have shot him instead of asked any questions.

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