Senator Akaka has announced that he will not be running for reelection at the end of his current term. For his years of service to the Islands, we thank him and bid him a fond farewell.
However (and you knew this was coming, didn’t you?), the fact that Senator Akaka is a nice old guy who’s retiring doesn’t really change anything about the legislation that bears his name. Senator Akaka’s retirement should have no bearing on the future of the Akaka Bill. Since his announcement, it has not become a better idea, less divisive, or more constitutional. It is still bad for Hawaii. And yet, believe it or not, you will hear (and already have if you read the Maui News) the argument that we should push for passage of the Bill as a final salute/gesture of respect to the retiring Senator. When you think about it, it’s hard to come up with a more absurd reason to support legislation. One wonders if that argument could possibly change anyone’s mind. (“Sure, I thought it was a flawed and bad law, but since he’s retiring, heck, let’s do him a solid and pass it anyway.”)
In fact, here at 4HawaiiansOnly, we’ll make the counter-argument. Senator Akaka has provided many years of service to Hawaii, which we respect even if we didn’t agree with his political positions on some issues. But let’s not sully his legacy with a knee-jerk passage of a law that will become a hornet’s nest of litigation, constitutionality questions, and economic and racial strife for Hawaiians. He deserves better than that.
And on a slightly different note . . . am I the only one wondering what we’re going to call the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act once Senator Akaka has retired? (Because there’s way too much money and political power at stake for the bill to retire along with the Senator.) Maybe we could have a naming contest for it. I suggest either “The Slow Deterioration of Hawaii Act” or maybe just “Bob.”