Hawaii's New Senator: Why the White Guy was the Right Choice
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"The white guy? Of course the white guy," was my reaction to reading that Hawaii Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz had been selected to resume Senator Inouye's term in the U.S. Senate until 2014. I was miffed; why the white guy over the other two potentials—two women of color?
I mean, just look at him. He looks like a douche. He's just another white colonizer of Hawaii; he even went to that fancy, elitist white man's school, the Punahou School (where President Obama attended, n.b.). Of course the white governor, whose last name is "Abercrombie," picked him. Of course.
Rather than allowing my prejudice to get the best of me (as one of my students rhetorically stated, "Yo, professor, why you hate white men so much?"), I decided to do a bit of research into Schatz, who was chosen over Senator Inouye's death-bed-wish choice, Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
It turns out that, even though politics is politics (meaning that all potentials were Democratic Party insiders and loyalists), the white guy turned out to be the right choice...at least in my opinion.
Sen-elect Schatz supports and has supported same-sex marriage, which, even though it's a liberalist policy that sustains the institution of marriage, is still a homo-friendly litmus test for hetero-people.
More importantly, Schatz believes that the environment is the single biggest issue of this generation—a belief that I also share. During the press conference in which he was named Inouye's successor, he said, “I believe global climate change is real and the most urgent challenge of our generation.” Damn straight it is.
In the 1980s he was involved in the Save Sandy Beach movement. He then served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii, as well as Director of both the Makiki Community Library and the Center for a Sustainable Future. His active participation in caring for the environment and, in particular, the environment of Hawaii is renowned with its citizens. One commentor over at the Daily Kos even noted,
"The [Save Sandy Beach] movement was ultimately successfull in preventing the expansion of a private golf course and building of townhouses on land surrounding one of Hawaii's most famous beaches.
He also served as CEO of Helping Hands Hawaii, a non-profit Community Clearinghouse providing individuals and families in need with basic necessities, such as food, clothing, furniture, basic household