Saturday, November 11, 2006

Electoral Milestone

In the aftermath of a historic electoral milestone in our nation, the editorial board at the Honolulu Advertiser is full of "sage" advice for the new Congress that will be lead for the first time in the House of Representatives by a woman. David Shapiro is down in the dumps because ... well, I'm not sure why, but thank God for Sloanie's penlight and sidewalk cuts.

Sanctimoniously warning the House leadership against "radical changes in domestic policy" is merely a sly way of feeding the slanderous campaign against Nancy Pelosi's supposed San Francisco liberalism. Likewise, saying that Congress must "find funding to support stability in Iraq" is code for the kind of militarist, stay-the-course rhetoric that Ed Case and his ilk were so unsuccessful in trying to sell. Moreover, it is entirely disingenuous to use the editorial pages on such an occasion to imply that the so-called Republican "Contract With America" was ever anything more than clever spin and old-fashioned shibai.

As one who was labeled a peddler of far fetched conspiracy theories by these same sages and prognosticators in their blogs before the primary election, I am simply euphoric, and full of confidence about the wisdom of the Hawai`i electorate (despite the low voter turnout on Tuesday.) I'm almost ready to believe that two years from now voters will authorize convening the first Constitutional Convention in 30 years and have a go at establishing some of those reforms Dave Shapiro is so pessimistic about (like public funding for "clean elections" to start with, which would solve the voter turnout problem overnight, I predict. )

Despite prominent Advertiser endorsements in favor of Hawaii's "geriatric judges" and against taxation for affordable housing, the voters overwhelmingly decreed otherwise. Let's see if the they have sufficient sophistication and moxie to take on complex issues like access to health care, public funding for elections, unicameralism, and a constitutional ban on casino gambling in Hawaii.

I'm not depressed that Lingle and Aiona were given another four years, although I doubt much will happen in that time to
breathe real life into Hawaii's two party system (the Governor can thank our "greatest" president for that.) It is encouraging that Randy and Malama garnered the kind of support that they did, despite being outspent by $5 million or so. What would be even more meaningful would be the possibility of a multiple party system, with real alternative parties like the Greens in Europe, for instance. My personal commitment to "doing better" as a voter and a member of our civil society in the Aloha State is to work tirelessly during the next two years to advocate a CON CON in 2010. We have nothing to fear from it, and a great deal to gain.

Malama pono,


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