Barack Obama is today the most prominent former resident of the state of Hawaii. His ability to appeal to voters of all races–especially to whites who want to be able to congratulate themselves on their willingness to vote for a black–has highlighted the popular conception of Hawaii as a tropical multi-racial paradise. And, indeed, on the surface, things seem calm on the green, balmy archipelago, which received 7.5 million visitors in 2006. But all is not well. Hawaii is a tinderbox, with a population different from the rest of the country. It is the only state that has never had a white majority, and it has a powerful Asian political class that never loses sight of its ethnic interests. At the same time, Native Hawaiians are more restless than ever, and many support an increasingly truculent sovereignty movement.
Rejected Many Times
In August 1959, President Eisenhower admitted Hawaii as the 50th state. From the White House, he proclaimed, “We know that she is ready to do her part to make this Union a stronger Nation.” Americans had rejected Hawaiian statehood many times before, but this time Ike was right on the political money. His contemporaries had a soft spot for the sunny Pacific islands, and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, like the fall of the Alamo, had been immortalized in the nation’s memory.
It had taken a long fight to get Hawaii into the Union. The territory first applied for statehood in 1903, but was rejected, because Congress did not want a majority non-white state. Over the years, Congress repeatedly rejected its applications for the same reason. Lyndon Johnson, who became Senate majority leader in 1954, blocked admission because he was afraid Hawaiian congressmen would vote to end segregation. He agreed to admission in 1959 only because Alaska had already come in earlier that year with a solid white majority.
Hawaii, therefore, had the second-longest wait of any state between application and admission: 56 years. Only New Mexico had a longer wait–62 years–and did not get in until the 1910 census showed it had a white majority.
What was an obstacle to statehood is now, of course, an official source of pride. As the City of Honolulu’s website claims, “One of the greatest assets of the City and County of Honolulu is the ethnic, cultural, and social diversity of its population. The City and County of Honolulu takes great pride in this diversity. . . .”
According to the census, in 2006, whites were 25 percent of the population, Hawaiian Natives and Pacific Islanders were 22 percent, while the largest group was Asians at 42 percent (blacks are 3 percent and Hispanics are 8 percent). It was, of course, whites who brought the Asians.
When Calvinist missionaries first arrived in Hawaii it was a Polynesian kingdom. After converting most of the population, the missionaries stayed on as the governing elite and grew rich through real estate, shipping, and agriculture. Sugar planters imported Asians to work the cane fields, dramatically changing the islands’ population. Congress passed a sugar tariff that left Hawaii out of the fold, and in 1893 the planters organized a coup, and overthrew the monarchy. Hawaii was a nominally independent republic for five years until the United States annexed it as a territory in 1898.
Even by 1920, the great racialist writer Lothrop Stoddard could see that Asians were in the ascendency. As he wrote in The Rising Tide of Color: “These Asiatics arrived as agricultural laborers to work on the plantations. But they did not stay there. Saving their wages, they pushed vigorously into all the middle walks of life. The Hawaiian fisherman and the American artisan or shopkeeper were alike ousted by ruthless undercutting.” He went on to warn that “the Americans are being literally encysted as a small and dwindling aristocracy.”
The aristocracy has continued to dwindle. Since statehood, all but one of Hawaii’s senators have been Asian. Today, Governor Linda Lingle and long-time congressman Neil Abercrombie are two rare white faces in an otherwise Asian–largely Japanese–political class. Asians are considered the model minority, but they have caused problems in the past and could do so in the future.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese Zero pilot crash-landed on the island of Niihau, where several resident Japanese rallied to his defense and killed a Native Hawaiian before they were overpowered. Although the Japanese on Hawaii were not relocated, the islands were under martial law throughout the war for fear of Japanese disloyalty and spying.
Ever since the state joined the Union, Hawaii’s Asian lawmakers have followed the liberal line on race. The 1964 Civil Rights Act–a disaster for whites–was held up by filibustering Southern senators until a bi-partisan coalition led by Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Hawaii’s two Asian senators, Hiram Fong and Daniel Inouye, gathered the 60 votes necessary for cloture. The result was exactly what Lyndon Johnson had feared in 1954.
Daniel Inouye was decorated for combat in Italy during the Second World War, but his Japanese ethnic interests remain strong. He supported his fellow Japanese-American, Congressman Norman Mineta of California, in the push to compensate the Japanese relocated during the war. This successful raid on the Treasury has been the precedent for everyone else who is claiming damages for the white man’s alleged past crimes. And Sen. Inouye is still not satisfied. His proposed S381 would draw up plans to compensate Japanese from Latin America who were either interned during the war or deported to Axis countries. Japanese-Peruvians, for example, who were in the US illegally and were pitched out could conceivably have a claim on us. Sen. Inouye has the strong support of his fellow senator from Hawaii, Daniel Akaka, who is of Chinese origin.
The two Hawaii senators also sponsored “the Apology Resolution,” passed by Congress on the 100th anniversary of the 1893 coup, in which the federal government offered “an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.” Based on very suspect historical grounds, the bill passed the Senate after just one hour of debate with only five senators present. Three of the five spoke against the bill, with only Senators Akaka and Inouye in favor. There was no debate at all on the floor of the House.
Even at the time, some people saw that the apology would unleash Native Hawaiian nationalism. When President Clinton signed it–apologies were his specialty–Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington likened it to Serbian nationalist propaganda before Yugoslavia’s civil war. He feared that the pattern of resentments and appeasement that led to violence in Yugoslavia was being repeated, and warned that “this resolution is a signpost pointing toward that dark and bitter road.”
Road to Insurgency?
He was prescient. The independence movement has taken some ugly turns, as it sinks roots into an increasingly sharp native sense of alienation from the white man’s civilization. Although their own ancestors brought in Yankee missionaries, today’s Hawaiians are returning to traditional Polynesian gods. This has strange consequences. Hawaii should be the state with the cheapest energy because volcanic activity on the larger islands would be a good source for geothermal power. The volcanoes remain underdeveloped because of the resistance of Native Hawaiians who fear power stations will bother the goddess Pele. In the summer of 2007, Pele worshipers celebrated an anti-geothermal victory after stopping development in Puna, on the big island of Hawaii. Hawaii may be the only place on earth where geothermal energy is sacrificed to religion.
There are other cultural clashes. Most whites think sharks are a dangerous nuisance, but early Hawaiians worshiped, cared for, and protected sharks as ‘aumakua, or ancestral gods, while others depended on them as a source of food and tools. There are other sharp disagreements, since ancient Hawaiian beliefs can be dredged up to oppose just about anything whites take for granted: telescopes, taro plant research, ferry services, etc.
All of these conflicts feed the independence movement, which has added a kind of guerrilla theater to its mix of pressure tactics. At the 2006 Statehood Day ceremony, for example, protesters heckled speakers at the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, calling for secession and restoration of the monarchy. The police kept their distance, and tensions mounted. A few politicians continued with the ceremony, but the band walked off early.
One of the protesters was clearly high. When a female reporter asked him about his dilated pupils, he explained, “I can smoke ice if I want to. I belong to the Kingdom of Hawaii.” He then dropped his pants and exposed himself to the reporter and several children.
Some would say Hawaii is already on the road to insurgency. The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement has its own flag, its own legal foundation, its own religious interpretations of the “Promised Land,” as well as Internet-based propaganda (see Hawaii-nation.org). In 2006, the University of Hawaii at Hilo surveyed Hawaiian natives and reached disquieting conclusions: “While fewer than 6 percent thought violence was justifiable in pursuit of sovereignty, over 53 percent expressed the belief that it was inevitable. Of interest is the finding that less than one fourth of the sample reported that they think that the desire to gain sovereignty will not result in violence in the future.”
Congressional apologies only encourage extremism, and the federal government continues unwittingly to aid insurgency. The State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of two state agencies that serve only Native Hawaiians, openly boasts there are more than 160 federally funded programs exclusively for natives. How were those programs established? For decades, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka served on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. These were curious appointments, since there are no Indian tribes on Hawaii. Whenever bills came before the committee for special favors for Indians–housing, welfare, education, medicine–the two senators from Hawaii quietly added “and Native Hawaiians” to the bill.
Multi-culturalism gives Native Hawaiians the moral authority to agitate for independence, and permits no reply from whites or the federal or state governments. Lawmakers wrapped up in the cult of white guilt are about to recognize a separate Native Hawaiian government that would be able to organize and direct subversive action. To this end, Sen. Akaka is hard at work on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, the House version of which has already passed.
Supporters claim that a Native Hawaiian government would be no different from the tribal councils that run casinos on New England reservations. They are far off the mark. New England’s Indian tribes were smashed centuries ago, while Hawaiians are building towards a full-fledged separatist movement.
Many whites fail to realize it, but many Native Hawaiians hate them. On Oahu, the town of Waimanalo is becoming a no-go area. As the Los Angeles Times noted in 2005, “‘Haole [white man], go home!’ and variations of whites-aren’t-welcome are occasionally shouted from front porches as a reminder that this isn’t Waikiki. It’s a different world. Locals rule here.”
Locals rule in more and more areas, though mainlanders who go only to the tourist spots would never know it. Many Americans got their first inkling of anti-white hostility only when MTV reported that when the musician Jewel lived in Hawaii for a few months as a child she was beaten up every day because she was white. Whites can live in peace in Hawaii if they attend private schools and live in secluded suburbs. One Hawaiian white told me that “you really can’t go to the public schools. The schools really just teach a gangster mentality.”
Schools have a tradition called “Kill Haole Day,” which means beating up whites on the last day of school. In 1999, when the state legislature considered hate-crimes legislation, the law was nearly derailed because of Kill Haole Day. Legislators noted that it was a long-standing tradition in some schools, and that unless it were completely eliminated, tough hate-crimes legislation could make the state liable for attacks on whites. The bill was gutted.
A particularly nasty attack in 2006 was linked to Kill Haole Day. Non-white students from Keaau High School on the big island skipped class to attack students at the Waters of Life Public Charter School in Hilo. First they broke into the Girl Scout office and attacked a manager. Then they broke off a door and invaded a classroom where Waters of Life students were taking the Hawaii State Assessment exam. The Keaau students punched teachers and students, knocking them to the ground. A victim later wrote, “We were vulnerable and defenseless against such an unthinkable, senseless, brutal assault. We are in shock. We are scared. We were terrorized.”
In February 2007, a family of Native Hawaiians beat an Army sergeant and his wife unconscious in front of their three-year-old daughter after a fender-bender in a parking lot. The man’s windpipe was crushed, and he went into convulsions. In January of this year, on the big island, men described as “Pacific Islanders” beat up nine white campers in a beach park and told them to get off the island. In all these cases, the Hawaiian police either moved slowly or didn’t get involved at all.
It is a serious matter when a large part of the population of a state is not of the founding stock, and where leaders are claiming territorial sovereignty. Wars of insurgency are fought by slowly expanding areas that are outside government control. What Bernard Fall wrote about Vietnam in 1965 is a description of a classic insurgency: “Saigon was deliberately encircled and cut off from the hinterland with a ‘wall’ of dead village chiefs.” This is by no means the case in Hawaii, but no other state has the same potential. The time will come when pro-statehood Native Hawaiian politicians–already rare–will have to watch their backs.
Insurgency is the most common form of war–and the most bitter. Insurgencies don’t end with a neat treaty; their fires are beaten down to embers that can alight in the future. The British have had trouble in Ireland for nearly 700 years.
A Hawaiian insurgency could certainly be contained. The state is still packed with soldiers and Marines, as well as the Pacific Fleet. Even if the state and local police were overwhelmed, troops could quickly restore order. The feds should have a plan for this, and Hawaii should not be on the base-closure list.
At the same time, Hawaii should under no circumstances be allowed to accept a substantial number of refugees–especially Asians–who could spark a crisis. Lebanon’s civil war began when thousands of Palestinians were dumped in the area, overwhelming the social structure.
Some whites would argue that Hawaii should be shucked off and given independence, along with largely non-white Guam and Puerto Rico, but there are several arguments against this. First, Hawaii has great strategic value. During the War in the Pacific, it was the front line for half of 1942, and Hawaii remains a key link in America’s outer defenses. It is a power-projection platform that supports American interests in the Pacific and Far East, and it has radar stations, sonar networks, and radio listening posts that endlessly search the Pacific for hostile activity.
America has three major rivals in the Pacific: the Japanese, the Russians, and the Chinese. Today, relations with Russia and Japan are peaceful, but there is potential for a clash with China. Hawaii will be an important part of any American military effort if there is conflict in the Far East (though the presence of large numbers of highly intelligent and potentially hostile Asians could complicate a major campaign). A small, weak, Asian-run, independent Hawaii could even align itself with China.
A successful Hawaiian independence effort could also bring out copycats in the Southwest, where immigration has been stoking separatist sentiment for years.
If the United States intends to keep Hawaii, there should be a major effort to settle the state with North American whites. Whatever policies we pursue, the entire national conversation about Hawaii needs to change. The anti-white slant that colors the Federal Government’s outlook is supplying, cartridge by cartridge, the ammunition for a future fire fight. It is high time we thought about how to turn Hawaii away from that “dark and bitter road” Sen. Gorton foresaw for it in 1993.