Sally Kaye: Why I’m Not a Republican Anymore

When I turned 21 in 1970 and was allowed to vote for the first time, one of my political science professors tried to persuade me to register as a Republican. His thought was that if we as a country wanted to ensure a robust two-party system—primaries were closed 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: As a registered Republican, I could vote to root out the lunatics at the elementary school level, making the general election a more balanced event. Or so I thought.

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

Finally, Republicans say they’re all about liberty and limited government and don’t want to regulate businesses or guns, but some of them insist they have the right to regulate my body and would like to make my children pray. I could no longer ignore the schizophrenia and hypocrisy that the party has come to represent.

Rs have a tough road ahead of us in our state, but with more than 60 of them on the ballots for the November 8 general election, it’s worth taking a minute or two to review some of their publicly expressed positions.

“Your freedom to swing your fist ends right where my nose begins.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Beginning with the party itself, the platform recognizes “the truth that life begins at conception and ends at natural death…regardless of the physical or mental diagnosis made before or after birth.”

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

I have seen no offer from the party to pay for the cost of caring for and raising an unwanted child, which recent estimates put at $310,605 from birth to age 17 (average of $18,000 per child per year) or the costs related to the management of a maternal or child medical condition that was once sufficient cause to terminate a fatally defective pregnancy.

Nor have I found a commitment to help with the costs incurred by those who wish to adopt a child due to a forced pregnancy, which Vince Berger, who founded Adoption Services Inc. in 1985, says today ranges from $45,000 to $75,000 be able. In fact, Dr. Berger in an interview that adoption “has slowed across the country, at its lowest level in 45 years.” He believes this is because women have been able to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

What some of our Republican brothers and sisters want for us

Of course, Republican candidates, like their Democratic counterparts, have a lot to say about homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, housing shortages, and the high price of paradise. But some of them show a shocking lack of appreciation for the freedom of others when it comes to agency and freedom of religion:

  • Bob McDermott, who wants to replace US Senator Brian Schatz, says he’s all for Red Hill, but in 2017 he opposed a law that would ensure wider access to information about prenatal care and tried to promote free choice of who to marry , by amending the state’s constitution to end banning same-sex partnerships.
  • Conrad Kress, who wants us to vote US Rep. Ed Case out of office, says the government “doesn’t give us rights as parents; they are our natural rights given to us by God and as such cannot be removed.”
  • Antoinette Fernandez, who is running against Jarrett Keohokalole for Senate District 24, wants to “restore the God-given right to people to have choices. God-given inalienable rights were taken away from the people, forcing our people to come under a tyrannical government.”
  • Joe Akana, who will take over from Jill Tokuda for Rep. Kai Kahele’s congressional seat in November, says his “mantra is faith, family and freedom. Believe in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who protects and protects our families and children and defends our liberties.”
  • Sylvia Luke will be up against Seaula Tupai Jr., who, as I mentioned in a previous post, believes that protecting a woman’s rights means forcing her to carry an unwanted pregnancy — no exceptions listed — and herself advocates putting abortion on a special vote. “Countless men” have the opportunity to influence a woman’s right to vote.
  • In Senate District 7, Sen. Lynn Decoite meets Tamara McKay, who believes a one-party system is a “road to socialism” (I suppose she’ll feel free to give up her Social Security benefits when the time comes) and it’s up to the ” Voices of the People” in response to the Supreme Court ruling that Roe v. Wade, which I assume she also wants to try to overturn Hawaii’s 1970 abortion law.
  • David Alcos, who will be running against incumbent Matt Lopresti in District 41, wants to keep “God in our schools and our state,” though he doesn’t elaborate on which (or whose) god he’s referring to.
  • Lorene Godfrey, who will challenge Sen. Glenn Wakai in District 15, said her “one big idea is to get prayer back in schools.”
  • Theodene Allen, who faces Gregg Takayama in District 34, agreed: “If I could reinvent Hawaii, I would encourage it to focus on faith and family first. As a result, I would bring prayer back into schools.”
  • Michael Wilson, who ran for State House District 17 against incumbent Dee Morikawa, said he will “count on the Lord Jesus to bring people together for the sake of ‘we the people’ that we serve.”

I don’t know about you, but the candidate positions above seem to completely ignore the amazing increase in those of us who do not profess any religious affiliation. According to Elizabeth Drescher, an associate professor at Santa Clara University, those who selected “none” would be a religion, making them the largest religious group in the US based on the results of a Pew Research Center poll last year.

Faulty 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 amazed me by saying he was all for it. When I asked him what he would say to those who are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or atheist, he said, “You can opt out. After all, our founding fathers were all Christians.”

This is clearly a selective reading of history; it was complicated back then and our esteemed founding fathers were not a one-size-fits-all group. In fact, they’ve been everywhere when it comes to state-sponsored religion, prayer, and the like. And let’s not forget: A woman’s right to vote wasn’t even on her radar, as women (and black people) were not considered real people who had any of the real rights or freedoms afforded white men.

Remember when the country was afraid John F. Kennedy would impose his beliefs on everyone? Remember his famous quip, “I’m not the Catholic presidential nominee, I’m the Democratic Party presidential nominee, who also happens to be a Catholic.”

Some of Hawaii’s Republican candidates have turned that on its head: They seem fundamentally devoted to their religious beliefs — and feel comfortable imposing them on others — who also happen to be running for office. And that’s pretty scary.

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