Abercrombie And Absolutism

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s 2013 State of the State address was pretty entertaining, mostly because I don’t think a lot of people listening understood what he was talking about.

His delivery was superb and he was dressed well. He didn’t have too many lei on, and the “applause machine” worked well and on cue.

However, a couple comments need clarification.

In the opening paragraphs of his presentation, he mention something that had to go over the heads of the audience.

He said, “In Mahayana Buddism, we are admonished to renounce all evil, practice all good and save the many beings.”

He then asked the $64,000 question: “But when politics gets reduced to slogans and bumper stickers, what is right; what is good?”

What is good in politics has always been getting elected then re-elected, and outspending your rivals in political advertising.

Of course, most politicians can’t use their own money to win an election. Bodhisattvanaa has little to do with winning votes.

After the condescending opening, he went on to impress the friendly crowd with his reference to “the virus of absolutism now infecting the Congress of the United States appears to be seeping into Hawaii.”

I am almost certain that Hawaii’s politics have not witnessed any absolutism since the plantation owners ran the Legislature, wrote the laws, prosecuted those who did not comply and purchased large tracts of land on all the Islands.

If we have any absolutism in Hawaii today, it is the Democratic Party. Recent news suggests Hawaii’s absolute political environment is expanding with Tulsi Gabbard, a Hindu, appointed vice chairwoman of the National Democratic Party of the United States of America.

Bodhisattvanaa may be the dialogue for Hawaii’s future, even if only a small percentage of Hawaii’s eligible voters know what this kind of Buddhism is all about.