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December 2008

From the Editor...

 

Rochelle delaCruz

from the editor…

“We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for”

President Barack Obama. That has a nice ring to it doesn’t it? And not because Obama was born and grew up in Hawai`i – that has nothing much to do with it. Oh sure, we’re proud that he spent formative years in the Islands and graduated from high school there, but that was never the reason to vote for him. No, what I like is that he is not from the customary mold and that his name is different...like many of us. Finally there is recognition and acceptance that having such a name and viewing life through a different lens does not preclude you from attaining – in this case, the highest office in the land.

I read several Hawai`i newspapers a day online and am amused by the furious discussions that were taking place regarding Obama’s “Hawaiianness.” (Kermet wasn’t sure this word existed when he used it last month, but we all knew what he meant.) Bloggers argued back and forth about this, as if being born and raised in the Islands is not enough (which Roger tackles in this month’s Nā Mana`o.) Indeed, right before the election came a ridiculous Internet rumor that called into question the validity of Barack’s birth certificate. I even got a query from Florida, asking if we had printed his “birth announcement” and would I send a copy. I tried not to smile as I replied “No, we hadn’t,” and while it’s true that as a monthly publication we don’t chase much after breaking news, printing a birth announcement forty-seven years later would be… well, kinda late hah?

OK look. It’s true that Barack left to go to college and stayed on the Mainland, but so did many of us. This is where we think we can find better jobs and maybe even afford to buy a house. But I can confirm that readers of this newspaper are always gazing out to those islands in the middle of the Pacific and some of us are even planning to move back as soon as we can. And yet, we know of other islanders who couldn’t wait to get off “the rock” and look for all kinds of ways to disconnect from those islands we love. Can’t speak for Obama, but with so few role models, growing up African-American in Hawai`i still isn’t an easy thing these days; it must have been even harder back then. But Barack is someone who rises above and today, who can doubt his Hawai`i connections: He named his daughter Malia and visits his sister and her family who live on O`ahu; the ashes of their mother and grandmother are scattered in Hawaiian waters and their grandfather’s final resting place is Punchbowl.

Here are the facts: President-elect Barack Obama was born and raised in Hawai`i, and now he’s moving into the White House. Even if you didn’t support him, there has to be a tinge of pride that this nation did something amazing! Let’s savor the moment.

Happy Holidays and Mele Kalikimaka! ~RdC

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