Hapa Happy Hour
A lively discussion and celebration of the mixed heritage experience.
Political Hapa

Hello blog readers and Hapa Happy Hour supporters! First a note: we normally publish new episodes twice each month… but this October 2008 we didn’t quite have our technical abilities at the ready… and, Lisa is celebrating her honeymoon, congratulations Lisa! So we have two blogs to offer, one from Rena and one from myself. We do have some really incredible podcasat episodes coming up so I hope you stay tuned.

Secondly a confession: I have never blogged before. I wasn’t planning to blog either until Lisa and Rena encouraged me… because I really wanted to talk politics before our big national election. So please read on if you’re interested, and as always, we are interested in your feedback: hapahappyhour@gmail.com. Thanks, Hiwa.

Barack Obama! Wow he has totally lit up our nation and our world; whether you decide to vote for him or not, I think that is undeniable. Part of his fascination is his ethnicity. I like this definition of ethnicity (from American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition) “Identity with or membership in a particular racial, national, or cultural group and observance of that group’s customs, beliefs, and language.” And when I read that definition the conclusion of ethnicity I reach for Mr. Obama is… American. He is truly an American. If you look at his customs, beliefs and language they are all American.

Fellow politicians McCain and Palin have been implying that Obama is un-American. What standard are they using? If it’s economics, and they are implying that Obama is a Socialist, which is not true, that would still be American. As a Republic we Americans can vote into office capitalists, socialists, any –ists. So what does it really mean to be an American?

It sounds like McCain and Palin think that being American is being like them. Which is not only narcissistic but also dangerous and ignorant. The white elephant in the room is that in the eyes of most people Obama is seen as a black man. (Although I hear people refer to his white grandmother and mother I don’t hear him being called mixed race.)  While McCain and Palin claim not to be “playing the race card” it seems obvious that part of the fear they encourage in their supporters and the undecided voters is the fear of Obama as a foreign, brown-skinned man.

Our war in Iraq (aside from the fact that we went in to Afghanistan to seek terrorists and conveniently-for-them Bush and Cheney added Iraq) over the last five years has added to the fear of foreignness, Islam, and brown skin and it is irresponsible and unconscionable that McCain and Palin should feed that fear. To say he is in league with terrorists is cultivating and focusing the energy of hate, when it would be of far greater public service to lead with integrity.

The office of President should be synonymous with the term public servant - alas it has been many a year since it has. As a leader and a senior citizen I would hope McCain would consider more thoughtfully his political strategy.

The economic recession, when it is not easy for some people to earn their living, should remind us all to treat each other a little bit better, not worse. At a time when people are being laid-off work, and not sure if they will be able to provide for their families, when tempers may flair, McCain should know better than to point an insidious finger at Obama. Aren’t they both fighting to lead and protect America? I trust, hopefully, that people know better.

And I’m so proud, not only that Hawai’i can claim Obama (and that I hope its patchwork quilt of cultures has influenced him).  I'm also proud that Americans have embraced so whole-heartedly a mixed race, intelligent presidential nominee. On a personal note I am validated with the belief that “you can do anything” when I see him campaigning. And he has been so inspiring moving beyond race so elegantly, knowing that it is the heart and minds of Americans that matter, that he is appealing to. Please go out and vote and we’ll “talk” with you again in November.

Category:blogs -- posted at: 8:39am UTC