Three-fourths of those who claim to be "pure" Native Hawaiians marry other races. More than half of those who claim to be "part" Native Hawaiian do likewise.
We are trying to spread democracy around the world, but that message doesn't seem to have reached the sponsors of S. 147. The bill does not assure that the new race-based government will be democratic; nothing in the bill prevents it from becoming a theocratic monarchy (with a new Queen Liliuokalani?).
Nor is there any procedure to enable Hawaiians to decide whether they want to authorize this race-based government in our midst. The procedure sounds like the high-handed way the European elite tried to put over the European Union Constitution without consulting voters.
Since the debate over U.S. Supreme Court nominees has made "settled law" a favorite expression, we should point out that when Hawaii became a state, it became settled law that Hawaiians would accept the U.S. Constitution, and that there would be no more monarchy and no more separate government or sovereignty for Native Hawaiians. We had a national consensus both in and out of Hawaii that Native Hawaiians would be U.S. citizens, not treated as a separate racial group.
Advocates for Hawaiian statehood repeatedly then emphasized that Hawaii is a melting pot of racial and national origins who are joined in a common patriotism and faith in U.S. institutions. So why are we spending time discussing this retro idea?
Follow the money to search for motives behind this oddball legislation. The clue to the mystery is Section 8(b) of S. 147, which ensures that the new Native Hawaiian government can negotiate gambling rights with the state of Hawaii and the federal government.
It appears that some politically well-connected Hawaiians want to cash in on the profitable casino privileges that have been given to American Indian tribes. Another possible motive is that a small group of Native Hawaiians is trying to grab some of the high-priced real estate in the beautiful islands and claim it as their tribal heritage.
To find these pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, the Native Hawaiians want to pretend they are a "tribe." This is fantasyland; the sponsors must have been reading too much "Harry Potter."
Creating a race-based society would take the United States in the wrong direction, a step backward, offensive to the Constitution and to a national commitment to equal justice for all.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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