Saturday, January 20, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, January 20, 2001

Hawai'i watches as president takes office

Today is George W. Bush’s day, and Hawaii will join the nation in celebrating his inauguration as president of the United States.

While Hawaii cast its four electoral votes for Al Gore in the incredibly close presidential election, Islanders are unified in wishing nothing but success for Bush.

Repeatedly, Bush has described himself as a healer. And there could be no better role for the new president during his first days in office. Washington has been poisoned by bitter, take-no-prisoners politics that has destroyed far too many lives, hopes and dreams.

Once the confetti (did someone say "chad"?) is swept up and the tuxedos put away, Bush and his administration will have to settle down to the day-to-day work of running the federal government.

Hawaii will be watching closely to see how the Bush administration approaches issues of particular interest to us, including support for the military, environmental policies, trade and security policy for Asia and the Hawaiian self-determination movement.

The Clinton administration was broadly supportive to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Clinton signed an apology resolution and the Justice Department conducted a series of very sympathetic redress hearings in the Islands. Will the Bush administration take a different approach? Will Bush-appointed judges — including Supreme Court justices — be less tolerant of group-rights arguments than in the past?

These are issues that will become much clearer in the weeks and months ahead. For the moment, it is time for Hawaii to join the rest of the nation in congratulating its new president and wishing him Godspeed.

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