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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Senate honors Hawaii’s 50 years of statehood

Advertiser Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring Hawaii’s 50 years of statehood Tuesday after some confusion was settled the day before over the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth there, which was mentioned in the language of the resolution.

On Monday, Hawaii’s Health Department confirmed that Obama’s Aug 4, 1961, birth certificate was official, quashing claims by some conspiracy theorists — also known as “birthers” — that the 44th president was born in Kenya and not qualified to be president.
“The state of Hawaii has been a rich cultural addition to the United States thanks to the ancient culture of the Native Hawaiians, the diverse multiracial society created by generations of Asian and European immigrants, and the stunning natural beauty of our tropical climate,” Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday.
Inouye made a point of noting that “Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, was born and raised in downtown Honolulu.”
Hawaii’s congressional delegation is working to pass legislation written by Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, that would create a process for Native Hawaiian self-governance.
And that was touched on Tuesday.
In his floor speech, Inouye pointed out a central tenet in the argument for the Akaka bill, namely that Hawaii was once sovereign and that the United States has officially apologized for the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893.
That apology was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
“That kingdom was overthrown but the Congress of the U.S., realizing that the takeover was not done in a democratic fashion, issued an official apology to the people of Hawaii,” Inouye said.
The state was admitted to the union on Aug. 21, 1959.
Akaka, a Native Hawaiian, extolled the virtues of the Aloha spirit in his floor speech.
“Everyone who comes to Hawaii embraces the Aloha spirit,” he said. “Aloha seeks to do good with no conditions attached. ... This is the meaning of Aloha.”
Akaka alluded to his own legislation when he said the United States has a “sacred trust with the indigenous people of Hawaii that still remains to be fulfilled.”
A House resolution honoring Hawaii’s 50th anniversary, written by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, passed 378-0 Monday night.
The line in the House resolution that read, “Whereas the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961 ...” appeared to be construed by birthers as a thinly veiled attempt to get Congress to affirm Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
That created a buzz on the Internet, but was largely ignored on Capitol Hill.