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Flag Flap Flourishes

Councilmember should not wave personal opinions in our faces.

August 27, 2009
Commentary contributed by Jake Jacobus · Friends of Charley Young Beach, Kīhei


While at that meeting, I noticed the upside down flag proudly displayed on Wayne Nishiki’s desk, and took the occasion to remove that most offensive display from Council Chambers. I am quite sure that my decision to do what I did will be quite controversial, as it should be. There needs to be a full discussion on this issue. Let it begin with me.

Everyone who cares needs to stay focused. This is not an issue about the suffering of Native Hawaiians, or Nishiki’s personal right to express himself. Rather, it’s about proper representation, or the lack thereof, by our elected officials. A letter to the editor (The Maui News, Aug. 10) in support of Nishiki’s disgusting display opined, “Those criticizing you for this righteous and just display are simply ignorant of the international display of a nation in distress.”

The display of an upside down flag is uniquely American; more specifically, American military. It was first employed during the Civil War to signal Union scouts that a unit, or outpost, was under duress and to send reinforcements. There is nothing “international” about it. And as a veteran of the U.S. military, I was overwhelmed with professional, patriotic, and personal outrage by Nishiki’s disgusting display.

All across America, citizens are fed up with elected representatives who forgot that they were elected to represent others’ interests, not their own! I acknowledge Nishiki’s right to express his personal opinion... on the bumper of his personal vehicle, not while sitting in a seat reserved for the representative of the residents of South Maui. And while I am personally in support of Native Hawaiian land rights, I do not see mobs of Native Hawaiians massing in the streets of South Maui concerned about losing their land due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, as he has stated as his cause. In light of Nishiki’s nefarious election to our seat, and all of the bad blood that he has created as a result, he has the unmitigated gall to create another controversy not relative to the job we (South Maui) sent him there to do.

Council Chairman Danny Mateo apologized for my “inappropriate and unacceptable demonstration.” I ask, which demonstration was more inappropriate and unacceptable? Mr. Nishiki’s desecration of our republic’s flag, or my removing it?

Councilmember Mike Victorino’s statement that he had been considering voting no on the beach alcohol ban, but then, “after I saw that, I thought you guys don’t need a ban on alcohol, you really need a ban on your attitude,” only serves to prove my point that these people are not doing our work, they are pursuing their own agenda.



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