Akaka Native Hawaiian Bill: So Not Aloha

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jun 07, 2006 12:03 PM

Sen. Lamar Alexander is talking about it now on C-SPAN.

"Our diversity is a great accomplishment. But a greater accomplishment...is our ability to bring together."

Betsy Newmark has been blogging about the bill, which will likely come up for a vote tomorrow:


This bill is a travesty. I find it much more important than any vote on a constitutional amendment on marriage that will never pass out of the Congress. Any senator who votes for this bill deserves widespread condemnation. Let your senators know that you oppose a legalization of racial divisions in our country.

Rod Dreher on why this is a national problem, not a "Hawaiian issue":

I think I know why Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl and Texas Sen. John Cornyn are leading the opposition to this bill (which Fund says has a pretty decent chance of passage): because they know that there's a relatively small but intensely motivated separatist movement among Americans of Mexican heritage in the Southwest. If the Hawaii bill passes, where do we draw the line? On what grounds can we deny Chicanos the right to the same sort of separatist government? On the surface, it seems that they would have greater claim even than native Hawaiians, who can claim that designation even if they have only 1/256 native blood (says Fund).

If this passes, why shouldn't the Cajuns organize into their own ethnically separatist nation, and demand their own formally recognized government? Where does it stop?

Jason Barnes asks, "Whatever happened to the melting pot?" and offers a lesson in Hawaiian history.

Daily Pundit has been blogging this all week, and notes today that this bill is a pathway to reparations lawsuits.

The National Center's Project 21 doesn't like the idea, either.

There are some Republicans on the wrong side of this bill. There are some who have made deals that require them to vote yes on cloture, but not on the bill.

Republicans should stand up proudly and yell out in opposition to this bill. This is an instance in which liberal Democrats are in direct disagreement with the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The commission "recommended against the passage of the controversial proposal 'or any other legislation that would discriminate on the basis of race or national origin and further subdivide the American people into discrete subgroups accorded varying degrees of privilege.'"

Can you imagine a situation in which an overwhelming number of Republicans supported a measure the commission had declared discriminatory, and the Dems didn't use that opportunity to throw the word racist around like a racquetball, doinking off every surface in the Senate and leaving a shiner on every Republican in sight?

Now, Republicans don't have to pull the race card in the same crass way the Democrats do, nor would I want them to. But they should get on the right side of this issue and let it be known that Dems are in favor of what is a discriminatory bill, according to the Commission on Civil Rights.

The debate will happen on the floor of the Senate on C-SPAN for the next 30 minutes.