Monday, June 05, 2006
Talk of Hawaii leaving the Union? Get ready to send in the troops.
merica's motto is "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one." Some U.S. senators seem to be reading it backward. This week the Senate will consider legislation that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. If the bill becomes law, it would create a racial spoils system that would hand special privileges to up to one-fifth of the state's population — including many with only a trace of Hawaiian blood. It could inspire mainland groups such as Hispanic separatists to seek similar spoils, should they ever gain enough political leverage.
The notion is the obsession of Sen. Daniel Akaka, an 81-year-old Democrat whose 16-year Senate record has been so undistinguished that Time magazine listed him in April as one of the five worst senators calling him "living proof that experience does not necessarily yield expertise." Mr. Akaka, whose term ends this year, faces a tough challenge in the September Democratic primary from Rep. Ed Case, and is thus desperate to show he is still legislatively relevant.