The Decline Of Aloha

I arrived in Hawaii in 1961 as a young man to work on space projects, including John Glenn’s first orbital flight. I resided on the island of Kauai. I was struck by the beauty and friendliness of the local people. This was what I later learned was Aloha. If you passed someone in a food market and smiled you alway got a smile in return. They were accepting of strangers and tried to make you welcome. A genial and happy people.

To be clear on my perspective, I live in a family with native Hawaiian blood. My wife and, of course, our children and grandchildren have Hawaiian blood. I have enjoyed many hours with my Hawaiian relatives and friends and respect them greatly. Our family has participated in the sport of Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing and I have fond Aloha for all our paddling friends.

Fast forward to today. Unfortunately, there are a number of “local” people, some with Hawaiian blood and some not, who walk around with a perennial scowl, which intensifies in the presence a haole. This phenomenon is somewhat related to geographical location. Outer island and rural areas seem to have a higher occurrence of this social behavior.

These folks have swallowed the Kool Ade produced by so-called Hawaiian activists who have convinced them of their victim status. Anything repeated often enough eventually becomes true to the listener. For example, you have been told that you have been denied something by the actions of government, corporations or a group of individuals and you should be angry. Your land was stolen. The annexation was illegal. The Kingdom still exists. You deserve reparations.

Victimhood is powerful. If a group; racial, political, gender, etc.. buys into the victim message it has several ramifications. Primarily, it removes responsibility for their life situation. Once they can blame another entity for their problems , it removes their motivation to fix them.

Victimhood also instills a guilt complex in those assigned the blame. People who feel guilty because they, or their ancestors, may be the cause of the plight of the victim, often will treat the victim’s cause as a sacred cow, not to be challenged or discussed.

Victimhood is also a great tool for organizers and can result in creating intense enthusiasm for a particular cause. People like Al Sharpton make a living this way. It’s the “us against them” paradigm..

The selling of victimhood to Hawaiians began in the 1970s. The University of Hawaii hired a known radical to head the Department of Hawaiian Studies. Haunani Trask was able to propagandize a generation of Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians by teaching revisionist history and vocalizing her hatred of the United Sates and haoles (white people). Her hateful sermons showed no respect for leaders or anyone else. She was able to convince large numbers of impressionable students that they had things stolen from them by the United States and the haole. As the disciples moved out into the community they began to spread the message of stolen land and culture by the whites. They spoke of the “plight” of Hawaiians.

Their “plight” is no different from any of the residents of Hawaii. Hawaiians have all the advantages and rights of non-Hawaiians. All have the opportunity to succeed or fail. Importantly, Hawaiians have many more benefits and rights not available to non-Hawaiians.

Trask sign

Today, supporters of the movements appear at community meetings ready to do battle. Often in garb they believe is representative of the days before western contact.They do not permit debate and seek to intimidate those who might disagree. They have had success in sinking projects like the Super Ferry and are now working to kill the new Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The media and the legislators treat the movement(s) like a sacred cow and are afraid to admit that it is ultimately destructive to the social and economic fabric of Hawaii.

Many Hawaiians do not support the movement(s). They deplore the anti American rhetoric and the abject racist behavior toward non-Hawaiians, particularly the haole. There are around ten different groups associated with the sovereignty (separatist) movement. Thus, there are large gaps in opinion concerning the methodology to achieve their goals and the desired outcomes.

You can be sure the propaganda will continue. Slick TV ads. Protests with maximum coverage by the media. But I still believe Aloha exists and will one day rise up again. And I think the Hawaiians are the ones that will make it happen.

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What If The U.S. Had Not Annexed Hawaii?

Hawaiian protesters insist that the annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898 was illegal. The remedies they demand are many, including the recognition of Hawaiians as an indian tribe or a separate independent nation.

Assuming the US did not annex Hawaii, it helpful to understand that several international powers had their eyes on Hawaii. Due to its strategic location in the middle of the Pacific it would have been impossible to maintain an independent Hawaii. It is entirely possible that any takeover of Hawaii by a nation other than the United Stares would have been accomplished by far more violent means. You will note that even the threat of military action was enough to cause capitulation. Below are historical incidents which demonstrate the fragility of Hawaii’s independence.

Russia

In 1815 the Russian empire affected the islands when Georg Anton Schäffer, agent of the Russian-American Company, came to retrieve goods seized by Kaumualiʻi, chief of Kauaʻi island. Kaumualiʻi signed a treaty making Tsar Alexander I protectorate over Kauaʻi. From 1817 to 1853 Fort Elizabeth, near the Waimea River, was one of three Russian forts on the island.

France

In 1839 Captain Laplace of the French frigate Artémise sailed to Hawaii under orders to: Destroy the malevolent impression which you find established to the detriment of the French name; to rectify the erroneous opinion which has been created as to the power of France; and to make it well understood that it would be to the advantage of the chiefs of those islands of the Ocean to conduct themselves in such a manner as not to incur the wrath of France. You will exact, if necessary with all the force that is yours to use, complete reparation for the wrongs which have been committed, and you will not quit those places until you have left in all minds a solid and lasting impression. Under the threat of war, King Kamehameha III signed the Edict of Toleration on July 17, 1839 and paid the $20,000 in compensation for the deportation of the priests and the incarceration and torture of converts, agreeing to Laplace’s demands. The kingdom proclaimed: That the Catholic worship be declared free, throughout all the dominions subject to the King of the Sandwich Islands; the members of this religious faith shall enjoy in them the privileges granted to Protestants. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu returned unpersecuted and as reparation Kamehameha III donated land for them to build a church upon.

Britain

In January 1843 Lord George Paulet on the Royal Navy warship HMS Carysfort entered Honolulu Harbor and demanded that King Kamehameha III cede the Hawaiian Islands to the British Crown. Under the guns of the frigate, Kamehameha stepped down under protest. Surely this meant that the islands were British? but how, why and when did the Brits lose the islands to America. Later Paulet’s commanding officer, Admiral Thomas. apologized to Kamehameha III for Paulet’s actions, and restored Hawaiian sovereignty on July 31, 1843

France

In 1849 French admiral Louis Tromelin arrived in Honolulu Harbor with the La Poursuivante and Gassendi. De Tromelin made ten demands to King Kamehameha III on August 22, mainly demanding that full religious rights be given to Catholics, (a decade earlier, during the French Incident the ban on Catholicism had been lifted, but Catholics still enjoyed only partial religious rights). On August 25 the demands had not been met. After a second warning was made to the civilians, French troops overwhelmed the skeleton force and captured Honolulu Fort, spiked the coastal guns and destroyed all other weapons they found (mainly muskets and ammunition). They raided government buildings and general property in Honolulu, causing damage that amounted to $100,000. After the raids the invasion force withdrew to the fort. De Tromelin eventually recalled his men and left Hawaii on September 5.

Japan

In 1897 Empire of Japan sent warships to Hawaii to oppose annexation