Interesting take in MANA magazine about the “Lind-Perkins debate” and the broader dialog happening in the Hawaiian community and social media about the Roll Commission and Hawaiian governance generally.
For many with friends or ‘ohana involved with Hawaiian politics, the OHA vote and Kana‘iolowalu reopening became unavoidable on social media. Facebook has seemed a natural forum for such discussion, though some of the conversations I’ve witnessed became heated. Many have seemed to mimic Perkins’ and Lind’s exchange, however, remaining respectful and informed in sharing their differing views.
One example is the MAMUA Facebook page “dedicated to providing a neutral and informed forum on Hawaiian governance issues.”
The article quotes Perkins’ sentiment that, “These types of debates were common during the heyday of Hawaiian newspapers in the nineteenth century,” and conclude:
Whether each of us decides to participate in the nation-building process from the inside, the outside, or not at all, these discussions will continue. Time will tell if they are the enriching conversations that Perkins alludes to. It’s just great to know that we have such a legacy to live up to.
Long-time readers of this blog will know that we have had some pretty good debates here in the past (in the old format, and before I shut down the comments for a while because they just became too much for me to manage). They were often heated but still within the bounds of civil discourse (although keeping them in bounds was what took so much to manage!). We’ve been carrying on the legacy of the old Hawaiian newspapers here on this blog, on many other blogs, on various email lists, and other online forums for many years. But it was often probably only the most engaged folks who were involved in these debates.
Now with the combination of the Roll Commission activity bringing the issue to broader attention and implication, and the role of Facebook in facilitating the sharing of information and commentary, the debate is just reaching people now who perhaps weren’t engaged in the various online dialogs before, but realize that it matters to them and they do have choices to make. It is a continuous process of expanding levels of awareness and engagement.
But that has always been the premise of this blog. Information is good. Education is good. Knowledge is good. Discussion is good. Then people can make up their own informed minds. This is the basis of a healthy democracy, regardless of what national political system it is happening within.
Edit: A note on semantics. Even the terms we use to debate are loaded, and how much we’ve been involved in the debate will largely determine how aware we are of the meaning and connotations for various terms. In this case, “governance” is used by the article and I use it myself, for in a general sense it is appropriate to talk about, but at the same time it is important to realize that this term in some contexts is also code for internal, domestic, native, something short of actual sovereign government. And the term “nation-buliding process” — first off, “nation” again implies internal, domestic, not a state/country, and the “building process” implies that it is not already in existence, contrary to what those who study the history often come to believe. I fall into using terms for convenience sometimes, but it is worth noting that even the terms we use for the debate can frame or limit the scope of the debate, and we are wise to choose our words carefully to accurate reflect history, law and what we mean to say.