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Monday, August 12, 2013
KOS: Open Primary Forces Democrats to Discipline Lawmakers
By Selected News Articles @ 2:31 PM :: 5926 Views :: Democratic Party, Office of Elections

What Does the Democratic Party of Hawai`i stand for? Anything?

by Ann S. Freed, Daily KOS August 12, 2013

Yesterday’s only local daily, The Star Advertiser, published an article on the Oahu County Democratic Party hearing on complaints against Rep. Sharon Har and Sen. Mike Gabbard. And yes, the latter is Congressional Tulsi Gabbard’s father. Both of these state legislators are notorious for being anti-gay rights and anti-choice.

After heated and sometimes hostile debate The Oahu County Committee voted not to discipline Gabbard for authoring a bill that would amend the State Constitution to ban marriage between LGTBs. Then the complainant, Mike Golojuch who is chair of the Hawaii LGTB Democratic Party Caucus withdrew his complaint against Har after intense pressure.

Here are my published comments.

  *   *   *   *   *

This was overall a very good article that presented most of the scope of the problem for us as Hawai`i Democrats. However, the author missed the boat on the why and how we got here. Because of Hawaii’s bizarre primary system, in which non-party members are allowed to vote, the possibility of party grass roots disciplining people like Gabbard, through primarying him, is very remote. So filed complaints against those who walk far away from our platform are really the only recourse we have. Primary elections are supposed to be for the Party to select their candidates for the general election.

In Hawai`i everyone, including the extreme right, get to pick the primary candidates, skewing the entire process to the right. Not fair to those of us who put in the work for a Party that we expect to reflect our values. I was part of the proceedings yesterday and found Gabbard to be as smug about using the party for power as he has ever been.

I also need to point out bias in Milner’s characterization of those party members who create platforms as amateurs. (Neal Milner, University of Hawaii emeritus professor of political science)  I have worked on platform committees at the county and state level. Members have included sitting legislators, a former chief justice, retired military, college professors, union members and a variety of intelligent and dedicated folk. A better and less biased characterization would have been to call us grass roots, because that is who we are - the Party grass roots.

A final point, when injustice and inequity are pointed out to perpetrators, they invariable blame the victim. They say you should have asked nicer, you should have just waited longer; you should be more tolerant, blah, blah, blah. The idea of big tent was historically about civil rights. It was about including the disenfranchised. It was NOT and should not be about including those who are the perpetrators of intolerance and injustice. As a friend of mine once said during debate on these issues, if I hear big tent one more time, I am going to throw up.

Ann S. Freed

LTC US Army (Ret)

True Blue Democrat

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