Masquerade (Part one)

Even though the legislative session has not ended, politicians are already posturing in the newspapers and on the evening news so that voters will believe that “everything is alright”. This is part and parcel of the election cycle, where elected officials don their masks and pretend to be something that they are not. This post is the first in a series of how incumbents who control the media streams are trying to convince voters that everything is fine. Political insiders call this “window dressing”, while one particular conservative pundit might call this “lipstick on a pig”.

To much fanfare, legislators turned out en masse for the signing of Act 3 (2014) to proclaim January 23rd as “St. Marianne Cope Day” in the state of Hawaii.[1] The picture offered in the Honolulu Star Advertiser tells the entire story of this blog post:

It is quite clear that this image is not about St. Marianne Cope, but about the governor. My teenaged cousins would call this a “photo-bomb”. A better telling of the entire story requires one to delve into the Governor Abercrombie’s Flickr site in order to see who got the “coveted” invitation to the bill signing.

2014 Act 0003

Also on hand for the bill signing were (from left to right):

Rep. Karen Awana (D – Nanakuli, Maiili): Forced to resign as Majority Floor Leader amidst continued issues and complications with Campaign Spending improprieties.
Rep. Romy Cachola (D – Kalihi): Squandered more than $60k for the purchase of an SUV for campaign purposes, and subsequently abusing campaign funds for gasoline and insurance for the personal use of the vehicle. As of this post, no Special Investigative Committee has been convened regarding the conduct of this representative.
Rep. Karl Rhoads (D – Chinatown, Liliha) Enabled the passage of same-sex marriage in the state of Hawaii while verbally-abusing faith-based testimony in opposition of SB1. Killed legislation that would have strengthened 1st Amendment protections toward freedom of religion.
Rep. Mark Nakashima (D – Hamakua Coast, Hilo) Same-sex marriage supporter facing a tough re-election bid in a highly conservative district.
Rep. Faye Hanohano (D – Puna) Controversial representative reprimanded by the Speaker of the House for her remarks directed at a testifier during a committee hearing.
Rep. John Mizuno (D – Kalihi) “Christian” who lectured the House of Representatives on how Christian faith requires mandates support for same-sex marriage (House Journal, Nov. 8, 2013, p. 63) and opposed measures to strengthen religious liberties (HB1624).

All six representatives in the picture (and the Governor for that matter) are in dire need of “window dressing” in the wake of the last two years of the Legislature. Upon closer examination, this picture is beginning to look less like a celebratory picture and more like a mug-shot. Of particular interest is Rep. John Mizuno, who used his time to lecture members on how people of faith should vote on same-sex marriage:

“Mr. Speaker, my view is different from those in the LGBT and the churches against the same-sex marriage bill. Interestingly enough, they seem to disagree with this, that Jesus was silent on the LGBT community. I disagree and I’ll tell you why. Because when Jesus said, ‘you shall love your neighbor’, Jesus did not say, ‘by the way, we have conditions, you should only love your neighbor based on your neighbor’s race, sex, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability’ or he did not say, ‘if your neighbor is in the LGBT community’, he never said that.

I wanted to share my personal testimony about Jesus. Jesus represents complete love. This is what I call faith to change the world. Mr. Speaker, I’m just about ending it. I believe this measure, after we pass, will have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our sisters and brothers in the LGBT community, who will seek to have a relationship with my savior, with our savior.” (House Journal, Nov. 8, 2013, p. 63)

While the humanitarian endeavors of Marianne Cope are beyond reproach, this does not stop opportunists from taking advantage of her legacy for their own political survival. This extends to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who authorized the special session on same-sex marriage despite the lack of support in the House.

Ladies and gentlemen – welcome to election season.

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[1] While this blog believes that the humanitarian achievements of Marianne Cope are entirely worthy of recognition, it is lamentable that a noted humanitarian has been posthumously reduced to a political football for politicians to validate their faith-based credentials. While faith-based organizations openly supported HB239, this post tells the story that they could not tell.

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