The land of pineapples and Aloha is usually reserved as a honeymoon destination for the majority of Mainlanders. Like most vacation destinations, it’s oft forgotten about as a place where people actually live. And yet upon closer examination, Hawai’i is a good forecast of where other, more politically influential, states are headed.
While California is generally looked to as the cultural canary in the coalmine for the rest of the U.S., there’s a conservative nudge within California that sometimes effectively slows down the Golden State’s worst impulses.
But Hawai’i has no such contrary undercurrent. We’ve only had one Republican governor in the history of the state, and two elections that cast our 4 electoral votes to a Republican (Nixon in '72 and Reagan in '84).
Long before Obamacare was mandated, Hawai’i functioned under the same method of providing healthcare to all within its borders. And before Virginia allowed for abortions up to the point of birth, Hawai’i was the first state to legalize abortion (before the Roe v. Wade decision). The Guttmacher Institute lists Hawai’i as one of the “freest” for abortion access using the same vague language of “health of the mother" as a factor that was so shocking when it passed in Virginia.
With zero restrictions on parental notification, waiting periods, or public funding, it’s unsurprising that Hawai’i is on the top ten list for states that spend the most on publicly funded abortions despite being fortieth in the U.S. for population.
While our laws may be reason enough to reconsider moving to our state, our open corruption should seal the deal.
This year the FBI has labeled the number of investigations into Hawai’i as “unprecedented.” In just the most populous county in Honolulu alone, there are investigations into the Honolulu Police Department and the Chief Prosecutor individually as well as his whole department. In addition, they are currently fighting off a variety of potential FTA investigations into the mysteriously disappearing funding for a boondoggle of a rail system that has increased into the $9.2 billion range (though likely much higher) for a track that only had a potential projection of 20 miles in length.
Hawai’i’s Department of Education is uniquely a state department, and one of the largest, receiving somewhere in the realm of $3 billion. Despite a spate of local probes into HIDOE’s reported corruption and crumbling infrastructure (a majority of classrooms do not even have air conditioning in this tropical climate), the department has not been audited in the last 50 years.
Homelessness is in the public conversation nationally, but Hawai’i has been living with rising homeless persons, very often the mentally ill or drug-addicted, in public parks and business district streets for many years. Attacks on pedestrians and tourists are ramping up, with HPD blaming low arrests on the difficulty in locating attackers, and citing mental illness as their reason for sending violent attackers to the hospital instead of jail — only to be released back on the streets within an hour or two of capture.
Looking from the outside, Hawai’i may still seem far away. But how does the Hawai’i state government get away with so much abuse for those who call Hawai’i home?
The Hawai’i State Legislature is effectively a single-party body with only 5 Republicans of its 51 members and 0 of 25 in the Senate.
The Democratic Party is supported by the highest rate of unionized employees and the lowest voter turnout in the country. Voter registration does not require any identification — there isn't even an address requirement (you may describe landmarks in the area in which you claim to reside).
On June 24th, our governor, David Ige, announced that he does not intend to veto a bevy of bills that will further harm the civil liberties of residents of the 50th state. These bills include:
- Expansion of our aforementioned weak voting protections by expanding absentee voting statewide and even allowing electronic voting for disabled persons, making them more vulnerable to abuse.
- Removal of firearms before a hearing based on the request of another person (anyone from a family member to a vague "colleague") who deems a person mentally ill and prone to violence.
- A ban on the importation of firearms for anyone under the age of 21.
- Gender transitions to be legally changed on state licensure (we already allow birth certificate changes) including to a third gender of "X."
- A ban on therapy if it concerns "gender conversion" without religious exemption.
With only 4 electoral votes, Hawai’i may be the last state you worry about, but we are usually among the first states to push the boundaries of civil liberties for the more influential states to follow.
This article has been corrected to include Nixon's re-election along with Reagan's as one of two times Hawai'i has ever cast its electoral votes to a Republican.