Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Excuse-Making, Hawaiian Style

As exotic as Hawaii is, with its moon-god chants and quasi-mythical presidential birthplace tales, its present-day politics are only too familiar -- the governor has vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex civil unions:

"I am vetoing this bill because I have become convinced that this issue is of such significant societal importance that it deserves to be decided directly by all the people of Hawaii," Lingle said.

"The subject of this legislation has touched the hearts and minds of our citizens as no other social issue of our day. It would be a mistake to allow a decision of this magnitude to be made by one individual or a small group of elected officials."

"And while some will disagree with my decision to veto this bill, I hope most will agree that the flawed process legislators used does not reflect the dignity this issue deserves, and that a vote by all the people of Hawaii is the best and fairest way to address an issue that elicits such deeply felt emotion by those both for and against." [emphasis mine]
The ways of Hawaii's ancient forms, social customs, and verbal idiosyncrasies may elude many contemporary readers -- there, "flawed process" and "small group of elected officials" appear to be valid descriptors of "democratically-elected, open legislative bodies passing laws by a majority vote."

The nature of the flaw becomes clear a little further down the article:
When the bill passed in April, civil union supporters cheered in the Capitol rotunda. But Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said at the time lawmakers shouldn't have approved the measure.

"If the legislature wanted to establish the equivalent of same-sex marriage, they should have put it on the ballot for the people to decide," he said then.
Oh wait, no: I was wrong to say the flaw becomes clearer; the same nebulous so-called flaw gets reiterated by a different politician. The flaw then was the same as the one cited presently: it came from a majority of elected legislators, and everyone -- not just the keepers of Hawaii's esoteric traditions -- but every decent person knows that legislative majorities shouldn't be passing laws on matters that people care about.

The governor of Hawaii is manifestly a coward, having declined the opportunity to uphold the simple principle of legal equality. Worse, she actively quashed it, and then went hiding behind the vox populi.

While I have my druthers, it doesn't matter how the people of Hawaii decide this ballot measure: equality under the law for all citizens will be the right answer even if is voted down by 100% to zero.

On roughly this same theme, I keep hearing people say the etymology lesson presented in this video is a revelation. It shouldn't be -- this material should be widely known (besides which, Louis CK is hilarious):

It is worth noting that the etymology of faggot suggested in the video is controversial, but what the character says is worth hearing anyway.


Sheldon said...

Ah yes, let the bigoted masses decide! That way I can save my ass from their wrath!

Dale said...

Sheldon, of course! Everyone knows it would have gone so much smoother and better if we had left segregation up to the popular vote throughout the south. Heck, we should have left slavery up to the vote.

Of course.