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Faith, Hope and Votes

Hawai‘i needs leaders who use the wisdom of our kūpuna and the intrinsic values of aloha.

September 16, 2010
Lance Holter, Chairman of the Maui County Democratic Party · Pā‘ia

And the Republicans’ idea we must privatize social security and invest the fund into the stock market—can you imagine if those radical Republicans had got their way with your social security pension funds prior to the Great Recession and stock market crash of 2008!

However the most deplorable words I have heard in a long time were those that came recently from Hawai‘i Republican State Chairperson Jonah Ka‘auwai, when in his “Be Not Deceived” letter sent to Hawai‘i’s Christian church pastors, he said that neither of the Democratic candidates for Hawai‘i governor were righteous and that a vote for either is succumbing to fear and advancing unrighteousness.

Ka‘auwai goes on to say that only their Republican gubernatorial candidate operates with the authority of Jesus and only he is righteous and that “We need to fearlessly, like David did Goliath, run towards the unrighteous enemy.” He said their candidate “…will win because the church has been behind him the entire time operating in the power and the authority of the name of Jesus!”

This idea that Ka‘auwai’s Republicans have cornered the market on God and righteousness strikes me as absurd, but the problem is he completely believes it!

This all came home to me during a discussion about the letter. A Hawaiian pastor expressed her sincere disappointment and embarrassment that the Christian church would be used to divide and separate the people of Hawai‘i, Republican and Democrats alike, from resolving their differences civilly and working together to find solutions to the state’s economic woes and resolving the deep issues confronting us. Our problems include energy independence, food security, environmental degradation while at the same time providing educational opportunities for our youth so they can imagine themselves remaining in Hawai‘i and having hope for a future that included opportunities for the new jobs. All this could be accomplished with faith and hope in our society’s ability to create an educational renaissance. 

I have raised and am raising children who have lived their entire lives in Hawai‘i. One daughter went to the Mainland, acquired a quality university education and returned home to Hawai‘i and luckily found a job on Maui. I know what the kids are talking about and it’s the same thing that made them come out by the millions all over the nation to vote for our Native son President Obama. It’s hope and change. The challenge will be to keep their hopes alive by increasing their opportunities to live and work in Hawai‘i.

This challenge can be met with re-examining the present economic models that are not providing positive change and solutions and new quality jobs. This will require all of us working together for solutions rather than increasing the chasm of differences being exploited by the politics of fear, identity, race or religion.

I watched the debate on Tuesday and heard U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie had returned to Hawai‘i after 20 years in Congress because he saw a leaderless state in crisis. All of his efforts in Congress were not being followed up at the highest places of state government—a state that on the backs of the keiki sought to balance the budget with furloughs, a state that lost 22 million in Medicare money because they didn’t complete the paperwork and applications properly.



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