Danny De Gracia: Hawaii Republicans Should Follow Up On Tardy Stand Against Violence - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.

Last week was one of the most shameful and difficult moments to endure in American history. The mob that raided the U.S. Capitol during the Electoral College certification and left five persons dead and numerous others injured, is a stain on our national honor that will not be easily bleached in the years to come.

Hawaii locals, like the citizens of so many other states, were glued to their televisions and mobile devices in horror as the certification came to a sudden halt when the Capitol was breached and placed on lockdown. But what caused our collective stomachs to drop was the sight of one of our own residents – and a former Hawaii Republican candidate for state representative, no less – among those who paraded through the shattered halls of Congress.

Now throughout our history, Hawaii has, as if by divine design, been the belly button of world events. Whenever history heaves, Hawaii’s people always seem to be there at the center. When the Imperial Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Benehakaka Kanahele and Kealoha Kanahele captivated the world by being ordinary locals who showed extraordinary courage in fighting off a downed enemy aviator.

During the Korean War, Anthony Kaho’ohanohano and Herbert K. Pililaau, both Hawaii locals, fought off whole North Korean forces singlehandedly on separate occasions and won the admiration of an entire nation. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, the world mourned the death of crewmember Ellison Onizuka, a local from Kealakekua.

We could go on and on about Hawaii locals, but one gets the sense that when our residents do something, they always bring great honor to their state and inspire Americans to know that aloha is an awesome force to be reckoned with. That tradition came to a screeching halt last week, when our state was shamed to find a local Republican among the Capitol mob.

To their credit, the Hawaii Republican Party showed quick thinking in issuing a joint statement with the Democratic Party of Hawaii in denouncing the mob and any form of political violence, but as I always tell my friends, context matters. For the last four years, local Republicans have wasted their political influence on enabling wild conspiracy theories and promoting a cult-of-personality rather than conservatism that uplifts Hawaii residents, and now we are all paying the price for it.

Local Republicans should take a stand against conspiratorial thinking instead of pouring gas on the flames. Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2021

Just days before their magnanimous joint statement with the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the Hawaii Republican Party issued a letter to Vice President Mike Pence calling for him to “reject all electoral votes from these six states” contested by President Donald Trump. The letter further characterized President-elect Joe Biden as “the wrong person … being certified into an office he was not rightfully elected to hold.”

This kind of denialism and alternate reality thinking is not a glitch of local Republicans — it has been a feature under the Trump administration. When the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in Hawaii last year, local Republicans also did residents no favor by making themselves the one-stop shop for obstructing attempts by county and state leaders to contain the pandemic. Some Republicans even spiritualized non-compliance to the pandemic, which made an already unbearable crisis intractable.

And when we see local conservatives routinely attacking Gov. Ige online with language that sounds patently QAnon-like, with claims that he has somehow “committed crimes against Americans, and will pay” or that he is “perpetuating the greatest fraud the world has ever known with COVID-19,” we need to have a serious discussion about the direction Hawaii Republicans in general are headed. These are not innocent, meaningless beliefs or statements. There is a toxic culture of conspiracy that is radicalizing locals, and it needs to stop.

We can’t have a meaningful policy discussion, moving forward, if one half of the local political establishment is obsessed with post-democratic dictator worship and filled with so-called Evangelicals who believe false prophecies about their leader-in-exile.

We are in the middle of a dangerous pandemic, an economic meltdown, a national revolution and our restless populations are already in a volatile mental state. What is needed right now from the party of Ronald Reagan is maturity and calm, not conspiracies and grievance hucksterism. Hawaii Republicans need to stop pouring more troll gasoline on the fires of our burning republic and be leaders by example.

Former President George W. Bush, days after the attacks on September 11, 2001, told the nation, “Americans are asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children … I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.”

Hawaii doesn’t need conspiracies right now. She needs comfort. Hawaii needs stable, level-headed parties that bring out the best values, not the worst behavior in their membership. We have not yet seen the end of Hawaii’s and America’s woes, but today, we need to see the end of Republican nonsense.

This week is going to test American citizens even further. This is a time for all of us to come together to save freedom at a moment of great peril. Hawaii Republicans need to eject the QAnon-types from their midst, denounce conspiratorial thinking, and return to being a party of ideas and moral authority.

Read this next:

Tough Questions For The Hawaii Department Of Education

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About the Author

Danny de Gracia

Danny de Gracia is a resident of Waipahu, a political scientist and an ordained minister. Opinions are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Civil Beat's views. You can reach him by email at dgracia@civilbeat.org or follow him on Twitter at @ddg2cb.

Latest Comments (0)

So it's been a constant thought of mine how in the end when shown the lack of competence of the trump administration it's supporters would handle it. How strong was that kool-aid anyway? Vituprious counter mongering seems to be the defense of the day. At least for now no sudden flash of recognition available. Takes time like everything else, takes time to heal the excesses of pride. Trump himself reset the standard for losing. Along with so many standards that changed in four years it's hard to see who we were before. Now the pandemic sears the divisions that wouldn't have been then. We would've hunkered down and did what was necessary. Time will only tell for what reasons it was tantamount to resort to name-calling, false accusations ( what is the radical left anyway, it's straight from the 70s. Radical? ) and mind bending that got us here. Is there an Antifa? Where? Who's their leader? How did the Russians play into this? Played us all and we went for it. To me, the one thing that could begin to heal is to go back to the beginning and pardon Reality Winner. She's the most forgotten saint in this whole power grab. Due to her patriotism we know at least how it happened .  

youknowyouknow · 2 years ago

A good subject for Mr. da Garcia to address is the west coast big tech and  their influence on access to open discussions.  An recent interview with Elon Musk regarding the approach social media sites have taken to censor discourse.  The big tech companies also are being condemn around the world, Germany, France, Norway, Australia, Mexico, governing body of the UE and the dissident party of Russia.  All declaring it is censorship and troubling.Most of these nations have experienced this type of censorship and have lived the results of undemocratic censorship.  Many referred to the same actions taken in Russia and China to control the narrative and thereby the people. Germany and France were concerned that private companies could control the speech of anyone.  They seemed especially concerned since the big tech are very active in the borders.  Also universal surprise it is happening of all places in America.Maybe America should take notice.

ndpndnt · 2 years ago

I condemn violence by any group, but to single out the Republican party for the recent incident at the capitol building but not holding the Democratic party for not speaking out when all the violence and destruction was happening around the country last year and certain media were defending it as a peaceful demonstration is the height of hypocrisy.

incredibles2 · 2 years ago

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