It's Hawaii's birthday today, but no residents or visitors would know that. There is no parade, no fireworks, no birthday cake, no candles, no political speeches, no additional red, white and blue flags flying high, and definitely no acknowledgement by Hawaii's political leaders that 46 years ago, Hawaii became America's 50th state. There is just a sad, embarrassing silence.
The complete void of recognition and celebration of Hawaii's union with America wasn't always so in the islands -- there was once tremendous pride in Statehood Day, now referred to as "Admissions Day."
So sayeth the glum patriots over at The Hawaii Reporter. Why so blue? Because "sovereignty," in the form of a bill that has passed the committee stage and is headed to the Senate floor, is potentially just around the corner. And the bill's author, Democratic Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka, is all over the islands' newspapers backtracking from his Tuesday statements on NPR that the Akaka Bill "could" be a Trojan Horse leading to Hawaiian Independence. Rush Limbaugh is all over this story like poi on finger, but the bill wouldn't be where it was if it weren't for the contributions of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, Arizona Sen. John McCain, and in fact the 2004 Republican Party Platform.
I'll have more on this Monday, but in the meantime, I'll throw this chum out to you sharks: Assuming there was strong popular support -- which may very well be an incorrect assumption, but just for the sake of the exercise -- why shouldn't the islands secede? Isn't it finer to be a 49er?
UPDATE: Commenters hashed through the pros and cons a year ago, too.