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Why Hawaii should be more like… Iraq?

Dr. Keanu Sai says the U.S. government in Hawaii is illegitimate. It’s made up of “insurgents,” he says, who have occupied the territory for far too long.

His solution: Make Hawaii more like Iraq.

By that he means the United States should appoint a transitional government and then help the territory create a new form of government, one based on royal law.

“Things can change and things will change,” he said. “It’s inevitable.”

Sai, who is a professor at the University of Hawaii, brought up these and other points about Hawaiian history in a recent interview in Honolulu. If you subscribe to his worldview, it is illegal to vote in the Aloha State because the U.S. never signed a treaty with Hawaii to transfer the territory to the United States.

“You can’t vote in an occupied state — you can’t,” he said. “If you vote in U.S. elections you would actually be in violation of Hawaii law and international treaties. You can’t vote.”

One of his students, who I met in an American-style diner in Honolulu, where ESPN was playing on the TV, agreed. “That’s not our country,” he said. “That country is 2,000 miles away. The capital of that country is 5,000 miles away. So, are we really American?”

For most people in Hawaii, the answer is yes. I met a prince from the Hawaiian royal family who told me that people in the state can and should participate in elections. But the messy history of Hawaii’s overthrow certainly complicates efforts to boost voter turnout and to convince people they should participate in democracy.

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