(as printed in the July 20, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser)

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s press release on the appointment of William Burgess and Paul Sullivan to the Hawai’i Civil Rights Advisory Board in which she states that the “group does not appear to reflect the position of the majority of the people of Hawai’i” misrepresents what I know to be the more prevalent public opinion about the Akaka bill.

Most of us who live here don’t like it, and, moreover, the ultimate goal of sovereignty for Native Hawaiians is not supported by Hawai’i’s history of racial inclusion. She might not like the appointment of Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Burgess, but that doesn’t justify telling a fib.

When the ali’i invited our non-Hawaiian ancestors, who were not for the most part Americans, to come and blend with Native Hawaiians to build Hawai’i together, they didn’t tell them that someday that promise would be refuted by the creation of a racially exclusive and unequal status. Many non-Hawaiians were born in the kingdom and were equal subjects.

Perhaps it would be more intellectually honest for her to listen to the people by allowing some way to publicly determine what people truly want. We’re all tired of being lied to by politicians. In my opinion, most of us oppose the Akaka bill, contrary to her press release.

Furthermore, I know Congresswoman Hirono to be a bright and aggressive lady and suspect that she sees the insurmountable constitutional problems with this. So why not take the position she has taken? The prospective Akaka law will almost certainly be invalidated by the judicial system outside Hawai’i, which can then be blamed, and she and her colleagues won’t have to answer to Native Hawaiians. Is that it?

Paul de Silva