About the Author

Sally Kaye

Sally Kaye is a resident of Lanai, an editor and former prosecutor. Opinions are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Civil Beat.

Opinion article badgeWhen I turned 21 in 1970 and could vote for the first time, one of my political science professors tried to persuade me to register Republican. His thinking was that if we, as a country, wanted to ensure a robust two-party system — primaries were closed back then — registering with Hawaii’s minority party was the way to go. So I did.

Over the next several decades I found little reason to change: being a registered Republican allowed me to vote to weed out the crazies at the primary level, making general elections more balanced events. Or so I used to think.

But as the Republican Party became more Orwellian (“Orwellianism isn’t just about big government; it’s about authoritarianism coupled with lies” according to Gordon Bowker, biographer of the infamous “1984” author), I gave up.

After all, Republicans say they are all about freedom and limited government and don’t want to regulate business or guns, but some of them keep insisting they have the right to regulate my womb and would like to force my children to pray. I could no longer ignore the schizophrenic-ness and hypocrisy the party had come to represent.

Rs have a tough road to navigate in our state, but with more than 60 of them on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election, it’s worth a minute or two to review some of their publicly stated positions.

“Your Liberty To Swing Your Fist Ends Just Where My Nose Begins.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Starting with the party itself, the platform “acknowledges the truth, that life begins at conception and ends with natural death … no matter the physical or mental diagnosis given before or after birth.”

Duke Aiona, left, is the Republican nominee for governor after defeating rivals BJ Penn and Heidi Tsuneyoshi in the primary. Aiona will face Democrat Josh Green in the Nov. 8 general election. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

Lofty sentiment that, but I didn’t see any offer by the party to front the costs involved in keeping and raising an unplanned child, which recent estimates place at $310,605 from birth to 17 (an average of $18,000 per child, per year) or the costs involved in dealing with a medical condition in either the mother or child that once was sufficient cause to end a fatally flawed pregnancy.

Nor did I find any commitment to assist with the costs incurred by those wanting to adopt an infant resulting from a forced pregnancy, which — according to Vince Berger, who founded Adoption Services Inc. in 1985 — can run from $45,000 to $75,000 these days. In fact, Dr. Berger told me in an interview that adoption “has slowed all over the country, it’s the lowest it’s been in 45 years.” He thinks this is because women have been able to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

What Some Of Our Republican Brothers And Sisters Want For Us

To be sure, like their Democratic colleagues, Republican candidates have a lot to say about homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, lack of housing and the high price of paradise. But some of them reveal a shocking lack of appreciation for the freedom of others when it comes to freedom of choice, and freedom of (and from) religion:

  • Bob McDermott, who wants to replace U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, says he’s all about Red Hill, but in 2017 he opposed a bill insuring broader access to prenatal care information, and tried to end the freedom to choose whom to marry by amending the state constitution to ban same-sex unions.
  • Conrad Kress, who wants us to vote out U.S. Rep. Ed Case, thinks government “does not give us rights as parents; they are our natural rights given to us by God and as such, cannot be removed.”
  • Antoinette Fernandez, running for Senate District 24 against Jarrett Keohokalole, wants to give “God-given rights back to the people to have choices. God-given inalienable rights were taken from the people, forcing our people to come under tyrannical government.”
  • Joe Akana, who will take on Jill Tokuda in November for U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele’s congressional seat, says his “mantra is faith, family and freedom. Faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, protecting and safeguarding our families and children, and defending our freedoms.”
  • Sylvia Luke will face Seaula Tupai Jr., who, as I pointed out in a previous post thinks protecting a woman’s right means forcing her to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term –– no exceptions listed — and favors putting abortion on a special ballot so “countless men” have a chance to weigh in on a woman’s right to choose.
  • In state senate District 7, Sen. Lynn Decoite will face Tamara McKay who believes a one-party system is a “pathway to socialism” (I assume she will feel free to give up her Social Security benefits in due time) and it’s up to the “voices of the people” to respond to the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, by which I assume she, too, wants to have a go at ditching Hawaii’s 1970 abortion law.
  • David Alcos, who will face incumbent Matt Lopresti in District 41, wants to keep “God in our schools & state,” although he doesn’t elaborate on which (or whose) God he means.
  • Lorene Godfrey, who will challenge Sen. Glenn Wakai in District 15, said her “one big idea is to bring prayer back into the schools.”
  • Theodene Allen, who faces Gregg Takayama in District 34, agreed, “If I could reinvent Hawaii, I would encourage focus on faith and family first. As a result, I would bring prayer back in schools.”
  • Michael Wilson, running for state House District 17 against incumbent Dee Morikawa, said he will “Count on the lord Jesus to bring people together for the benefit of ‘we the people’ whom we serve.”

I don’t know about you, but the above candidate positions seem entirely oblivious to the stunning increase in those of us who profess no religious affiliation whatsoever. According to Elizabeth Drescher, an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University, if those selecting “none” were a religion, they’d be the largest religious group in the U.S. in light of results from a Pew Research Center poll last year.

Flawed History, Misinformed Voters

I recently told a young Maui police officer how alarming it is that so many candidates want to force prayer back into the classroom; he stunned me by saying he was all for it. When I asked him what he would say to those who are Jews, Buddhists, Muslims or atheists, he said, “They can opt out. After all, our founding fathers were all Christians.”

This is plainly a selective reading of history; it was complicated back then and our esteemed founding fathers were not a one-size-fits-all bunch. In fact, they were all over the place when it came to state-sponsored religion, prayer and the like. And let’s not forget: a woman’s right to choose wasn’t even on their radar, since women (and Blacks) weren’t considered real people that had any of the real rights or freedoms afforded to white men.

Remember when the country was afraid John F. Kennedy would impose his faith on everyone? Remember when he famously said, “I am not the Catholic candidate for president, I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic.”

Some of Hawaii’s Republican candidates have turned this on its head: They appear to be fundamentally devoted to their religious beliefs – and perfectly comfortable with forcing them on the rest of us – who just happen to also be running for office. And that is pretty scary.

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About the Author

Sally Kaye

Sally Kaye is a resident of Lanai, an editor and former prosecutor. Opinions are the author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Civil Beat.

Latest Comments (0)

Hawaii is slowly becoming a place that's harder to live each year thanks to our single party dominated political system. But's it's a great place to live for Democrats who complain about politics as usual every election!

elrod · 1 year ago

Something else to add to conservative hypocrisy.. smaller government is better as it allows people to embrace personal freedoms so long as their choices do not infringe on the rights of others. Yet conservatives generally back government efforts to oppose the legalization of marijuana and gambling, both of which are business ventures that epitomize an individual's freedom of choice, just as they should be able to drink multiple big gulps on a daily basis to give themselves diabetes.Of course there's hypocrisy among liberals too. Criticizing conservative ideology which they feel doesn't do enough to help (often) minority groups facing poverty and other difficult situations, calling such ideology "racist". Meanwhile these liberals support preferential support/subsidy to these minority groups over other groups, which is the textbook definition of racism.Pick your poison.Frankly we should be voting on the individual candidate, not the party they represent, but society has a need to categorize people/things to make it more digestible.

basic_citizen123 · 1 year ago

I will be waiting for the "Why I'm No Longer A Democrat" article. Thank you.

KeolaRichard · 1 year ago

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