Okay, so my husband is very carefully non-political. He argues that his people were "never politicians" and when they were drawn, against their nature, into that arena, they were sorely used and abused. That continues still. Instead, 'Iokepa Hanalei 'Imaikalani's every spoken word is directed at the cultural resurrection of his Native Hawaiian people. His voice is strong; his passion is unquenchable; his work is unending. He does not identify himself in word, deed, or government issued ID, as American. He is a sovereign Native Hawaiian working toward the resurrection of his occupied nation. So obviously he does not vote in American elections.
And, by proximity, I am (in public) careful, as well. I realize that my opinions may tarnish the purity of my husband's message. We have friends and supporters from every single corner of the American political spectrum. Because our work is cultural and wholly inclusive, there are no known litmus tests for our audiences.
So I write this with no real expectation of making it public. I woke up this morning with a head and heart full of unspoken words, and I fear that if I don't at least try to commit them to a page, I will suffer my own hypocrisy (I have called myself 'outspoken') - and disloyalty (I am fierce in the defense of my friends). So I write, and I will see where this takes me.
Confession. I am a political junkie. Really, no secret there. As a print journalist for so many years, I reported on Capitol Hill, the U.S. State Department (under the newly-relevant Secretary Henry Kissinger), a presidential campaign (Jimmy Carter's), and a war in Southeast Asia. When I moved away from the city to a distant rural outpost to write independently - I spent an exorbitant chunk of my income subscribing to the daily Washington Post. (Way before the internet existed as a a much cheaper, easier alternative.)
Further confession (if it is not already quite obvious). I am a contemporary of Hillary Clinton. I am a feminist. (Though under 'Iokepa's people's tutelage, that word has taken on a much-broader meaning.) I am a self-identified progressive.
For these last three months, 'Iokepa and I have been speaking the Hawaiian cultural experience up and down the east coast of the U.S. We go home to Kaua'i next month. Nowhere have we escaped the presidential primary elections.
Strangers buttonhole us with some regularity. They are uniformly Bernie Sanders enthusiasts who are certain that 'Iokepa and I are kindred spirits - that we would agree with their choice of candidate if we were inclined to express a political opinion. It's an easy mistake to make.
What's not to like about Bernie? He's made the word "socialist" (which after all is the core of all tribal life - no less so Native Hawaiian), newly acceptable. He is a man of impeccable integrity. He, too, is a contemporary of mine, who was on the same side of the picket lines, opinion polls, and 1960s youthful drama that I was. He's not a stranger to me. He is just a couple years ahead of the generation that has held tenaciously onto its youthful ideals. (And yes, I know that Millennials have heard more than enough about the Baby Boomers.)
But I am more than just a part of that generation, parent to Millennials, and wife of an aboriginal Hawaiian. I am an educated and opinionated woman. (See the post before this one - and listen to the musical anthem to smart and opinionated women everywhere.)
And though there may be no over-riding reason for subsequent generations to know the true and relatively recent history of the subjugation of half the American population by reason of gender - I feel compelled here (by reason of loyalty) to explain.
Bernie Sanders is a good man. Feel the Bern! But do not - do not - make that passion an indictment of a truly fine woman. Do not regurgitate (with no sense of the who invented those words) the language of the Hillary haters. Those haters are not your friends or allies. I have heard their words for almost thirty years. I have heard them directed at me, and at every other smart and ambitious woman who threatened their primacy.
Hillary Clinton has been, for almost thirty years, my safety net. She took it for me. She absorbed (and continues to absorb) the slings and arrows directed at "uppity women" everywhere. It is no accident that women of my generation support her. We know this woman. We know the volleys of hate directed at her every time she opened her, 'don't talk back to me' mouth. We know her courage in the face of it. Hillary Clinton made my way easier. And by God, she deserves this acknowledgment - without Hillary Clinton, fewer of our daughters would be lawyers and doctors, mechanics and Special Forces.
I have heard her called "arrogant." Listen closely, young women and men. "Arrogant" speaks to someone else's presumption of hierarchy. And listen closely, young men and women - there is a very good reason that in this country no woman has ever seriously been considered "ready" for the American Presidency. Give me a break. There are hired forces preventing that from happening.
So please feel the Bern and support this very good man who touches your heart. But do not - within my hearing - blaspheme this fine, intelligent, accomplished, strong-beyond-my-imagining-in-the-face-of forces-greater-than-many-of-you-have-been-conscious, but all of us have experienced.
Do not drink the spewed Kool-Aid of salaried haters. For thirty years, they've painted the bulls eye on Hillary Clinton's back. But make no mistake - you are their real target. Do not repeat their lies.