Political Correctness, Local Style
Wednesday - April 11, 2007
I must admit, I’m a little afraid to write about local political correctness after what the members of our Public Safety Committee did to gubernatorial nominee Iwalani White. They denied her appointment for the most obtuse reasons ever given at the square building on South Beretania Street. They, meaning the committee chairman, state Sen. Will Espero, said he didn’t like her management style and she made a few mistakes, in his humble opinion, in her seven months as interim director of the much maligned Public Safety Department.
In fact, she probably did make a few mistakes in the process of trying to bring about a new attitude in one of the most contentious departments in local government. After all, the department has not had a full-time director since 2004. The turnover in the department is spectacular and, naturally, the morale of workers is low.
The media love to take shots at the department whenever the news is slow. No politician has ever gotten ahead campaigning for prisoners’ rights or demanding that a better prison facility be built somewhere, anywhere. The public is more concerned with releasing endangered green sea turtles than with prisoners who need a psychologist. Some of the older prisoners need 24-hour care, and the army of workers at the prisons have lost any pride and discipline they might have had a long time ago.
Enter Iwalani White, a ray of hope for the many incarcerated Native Hawaiians, short-staffed adult corrections workers and politicians trying desperately to sound politically correct. Make no mistake, Ms. White is a positive role model for all young Native Hawaiians. She has overcome so many obstacles in her life it is truly inspirational to read about her accomplishments.
Starting in Kuhio Park Terrace in Kalihi, a college dropout who had an early pregnancy, she turned her life around and finished school, entered law school at the University of Hawaii, became a family judge and teaches family law at the UH Richardson School of Law. She has the perfect resume for the position for which she was denied confirmation, with the possible exception that she had never worked in or run a prison.
Ironically, with all of the “ohana” preaching at the Legislature, she was most likely denied acceptance by the legislators because she is a true Native Hawaiian and a minority. In her spare time she even teaches hula.
The Dems who dominate the Legislature should be ashamed of what they did to Ms. White. Where do they get all this stuff they feed us daily -the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it - where does it come from? For the first time in Hawaii’s history, citizens have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write and what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist or homophobic.
In this century we have seen Native Hawaiians as the under-dog of our society. The politicians have always regarded them with a mixture of pity and, in this case, a source of amusement. But in this case, what they did to White will probably come back to haunt them in the future.
It strikes me as strange our Democratic legislators would allow a situation like this to develop when they are so afraid of what words they use. Be real. Stop all the hugging and kissing, exchanging lei and preaching love of the ‘aina and being pono. In today’s Hawaii, apparently there is no room for Native Hawaiians in upper management.
The legislators can’t have it both ways. You either applaud achievement for all those who seek to better our society by serving in key government positions or stop trying to do the politically correct thing for the party. It is hypocritical to boast about dedication to better the condition of the Native Hawaiian circumstance on one hand and slap down a deserving Native Hawaiian with the other just because she was judged as politically unacceptable. The nonsense about “management style” and “bad decisions” is laughable.
She was rejected because it is not yet politically correct to have a female Native Hawaiian as a director.
The record shows the term “political correctness” originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend to still think of it as half-serious. But let’s face it, political correctness in Hawaii’s absurd political climate has become deadly serious.
There is a right way to reject a nominee because she or he is unqualified. But to do it with subpoenaed malcontents and disregarding positive testimony is not the right way.
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