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Letters for Thursday, August 11, 2022

Response to Aug. 7 letter of Joyce Ogmudson

Aloha mai Joyce,

Lincoln described democracy best as: “…government of the people, by the people, for the people.” If you are a Democrat the purpose of this government of the people is twofold: equality and social well-being.

Since the human condition thrives on conflict, there is disagreement over government’s goals. President Franklin Roosevelt claimed that Americanism is a matter of mind and heart, and not race or ancestry. But the truth is that these factors loom large in the of choice of what party or ideology you believe in. Beliefs that conflict make a person a stronger advocate for his/her democratic goals.

Hawai‘i nei (beloved Hawai‘i) is a unique place. Plantation oligarchs drew thousands of races from east and west to toil in the sugar fields. It was rule by a few and the anti-thesis of freedom. I grew up when the plantation era was still in full flower and the Great Depression ravaged the land.

Poverty had existed for decades in the islands. A depression was nothing new. The multiple races struggled to survive. This mix of races helped each other. It was huki like, pulling together to get through the dark times.

The plantations era is long gone, and we travel new economic seas. Joyce, do not worry about labels like “conservative” or “liberal.” The spirit of huki like exists in Hawai‘i nei and within its multiple of races. We can show America what it means to be Americans, people who live with each other without regard to race or ancestry.

William J. Fernandez, retired judge, Kapa‘a

Government 101; a lesson

To begin, we have one country, the United States of America, with one Declaration of Independence and one Constitution with its 17 amendments. The Constitution provides us three separate and independent branches of our government: the legislative (Congress), the executive (administration), and the judicial (Supreme Court). Our Constitution also provides us our 26 individual rights and protections.

Our Constitution is crystal clear that we are a constitutional republic. “Article IV, Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” And, our constitutional republic is structured as a federation of states, 50 individual and independent states.

We have many political parties where the two major ones are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The difference between the two major political parties is their political belief, or political ideology. The Democratic Party is identified as liberal (a supporter of policies that are socially progressive and promote social welfare) and the Republican Party as conservative (believes in traditional values, favoring free enterprise and private property ownership).

A democracy is a government where the majority of citizens are vested with supreme power and control and supported by the Democratic Party.

A constitutional republic is a government that cannot take away the inalienable constitutional rights of the individual citizen and supported by the Republican Party.

From this point, each party meets, discusses and adopts its platform, which is a set of principles, goals and strategies designed to address current political issues within their political ideology, where some platform positions could be similar, and others very different.

For us, the American citizen, we either believe that we are a constitutional republic or a democracy, and we go on from there.

James I. Kuroiwa Jr., Honolulu
Source: The Garden Island

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