November 7, 2000 Election Day
Although I’m not convinced that my vote really counts, I cast my ballots this morning. I voted for President of the United States, Hawai`i’s Board of Education (BOE) members, and U.S. Senators and Representatives, but skipped the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) part.
This year, for the first time, non-Hawaiian members were allowed to vote for OHA trustees. I can kinda-sorta understand why the federal courts of our nation declared OHA elections open to all residents of Hawai`i, but in more ways, I cannot. I don’t really know much about OHA, nor do I think I have to. The way I see it, OHA was created to help the native Hawaiian people, and that it is a privilege that should be afforded to them.
I certainly can “feel” Hawaiian, as I know of nothing else. I was born and raised here, and Hawai`i is the only place I could ever call “home.” My great-grandparents immigrated to Hawai`i from Japan almost a century ago, and although it was a wonderful experience to “find my roots” there, Japan is still a foreign country to me. But although I feel Hawaiian, I am not Hawaiian in the context that OHA was intended for. I respect that, and so I didn’t vote.
Actually, I hadn’t voted for a long time. I never felt educated enough to. If not for my cousin, an attorney who encourages me to vote, turn in my census surveys, and comply with my duties as a good American citizen, I probably still wouldn’t vote. After changing addresses and even my name in the past year, registering to vote was a very conscientious process for me. But I did it, and exercised my right to vote this year.
With this right came a responsibility to understand the issues and candidates that would appear on my ballot. As I study to become a teacher, my greatest concern was the Board of Education vote. First of all, it seems very strange that the public is given the responsibility to choose the BOE members. I think it should be the right of the Governor, or the State Superintendent, or education experts and consultants-anyone but the general public. But that’s another issue. Knowing that I would have to vote for somebody, I asked my professors at UH, our guest speakers, and made my decision that way.
Tonight all the television stations are broadcasting the election results. It’s 7:15 PM now, and some races look too close to call. Perhaps my vote will actually count this year.
|Susan Sensei’s English Lesson #54（スーザン先生の英語講座）
For two years I taught English in Japan, and was “スーザン先生” to my students in Ikaho town, Gunma Prefecture. I will try and introduce new words and phrases for the Japanese visitor to Hawaii. Here is this week’s situation:
“May I put this on hold until tomorrow?”
“I had something on hold. Could you get it for me?”
|Loco Girl’s Profile（ロコ・ガールのプロフィール） Born in Hilo, I grew up going fishing with Dad, shopping with Mom, and trying to be a good “big sister” to a younger sister and brother. A Waiakea High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa alumni, I taught English in Japan for two years on the JET Program, and am now employed at PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. I love doing a lot of things-shopping, reading, lettering, making jewelry & crafts, watching Friends-and that’s just the start of my list! I like being busy, and am active with the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) and the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC.) My family and friends are, of course, very important to me, and are why I live a very typical, happy, local-style life in Hawaii and will never leave!|