“Feelings, nothing but feelings” goes the sappy song and is also the theme song of those who oppose the constitutional convention.
I called up one of the opposition groups and asked the spokesperson what proof they had that it will go badly and she said, “We have no hard facts, only a feeling it will be detrimental.” There’s those feelings again.
After researching the con-cons held in 1968 and 1978 and seeing the overwhelmingly beneficial laws they passed, I have to say that the groups opposing it are not only paranoid, they are crazy paranoid. I’ll show you what I mean.
There are five main groups opposing the convention, and the past con-cons either actually created those groups, or passed laws supporting what they all stand for. Here are the organizations. I will cite the amendment numbers as I go.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, OHA opposes it; strange because the 1978 Con-Con created OHA! — amendment No. 28. It also passed laws to fund Hawaiian Homelands, No. 27, and protect the rights of Hawaiians, No. 29. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.
Next, the Sierra Club opposes it when the last convention passed laws, protecting natural resources, No. 23, regulating ag lands, No. 24, and protecting marine life, No. 25.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes it, when the ‘78 con passed laws prohibiting gender discrimination, No. 20, and created ethic standards for lawmakers, No. 30.
The Hawaii State and Hawaii Teachers unions oppose the con-con, which is baffling because the last convention formed the Board of Education, No. 19, and the 1968 con ensured collective bargaining for all unions, especially teachers, No. 20.
And lastly, the Democratic Party opposes it, which is totally insane because almost all convention delegates have always been Democrats. Con-con delegates are elected and when all these Democrat delegates propose new laws, they go on the ballot for our all Democrat-heavy state to vote on. It’s a pretty safe bet you will like the outcome.
The opposition’s stated fear is that the con-con will be “hijacked by entrenched interests and dominated by current office-holders using offshore politicians.” Sounds scary but where are these sinister people entrenched? Under Gov. Ige’s desk? And what is an offshore politician? Someone floating on a raft off Diamond Head? Come on.
It is obvious, this is pure McCarthyism, imagining secret evils behind every bush. Instead of commies in the government, this time it’s “connies,” con-con supporters. Nothing is there, don’t be fooled by the Chicken Littles, the sky is not falling.
With the 60-year-old con-con process strongly in place, there is no chance that some fictitious, dark money thugs will slip in the back door and steal our rights away.
Convention laws have always been good, from making Hawaii a state, to creating OHA, and strengthening teachers’ bargaining rights. The laws passed by the people have improved the legislature, environment and everyday life.
Hawaii con-cons are completely endorsed by the public. People have always voted yes 3 to 1 to have the con-con.
I know of a country that is, of the people, by the people, and for the people. That country turned out pretty good, maybe it could work here in Hawaii.
It’s just a feeling I have.
Dennis Gregory writes a bimonthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at email@example.com