Sovereignty picketsdid it the rational way

Last Saturday’s highway picketing in Anahola by Hawaiian sovereignty advocates

went off without the conflicts between demonstrators and drivers that police

feared. For that, the protestors and the motoring public deserve equal

praise.

Standing beside Kuhio Highway and waving signs proclaiming

“Exploitation of Hawa’i” and “This is not the U.S.A.” was an exercise

of the demonstrators’ right to peaceful assembly, ironically protected by the

very country that they contend is occupied illegally by the United States’

annexation of Hawai’i 105 years ago. There was potential, though, for hard

feelings between the picketers and the motorists it wanted to voluntarily stop

and accept printed information about the sovereignty issue. Not everyone who

lives on and visits Kaua’i agrees with the Hawaiian independence movement, and

even people with neutral feelings might have bridled at having their drives

interrupted by roadside strangers.

But the demonstrators didn’t overstep

their bounds. They were able to flag down some vehicles and hand out literature

explaining their claim that Hawa’i should be a sovereign nation. They also

garnered more news coverage of their position, as did a separate independence

group that was rallying at the same time in Po’ipu. There were no reported

signs, though, of any ruffled feathers other than simple differences of

opinion. Motorists either drove by without difficulty or took the

demonstrators’ literature with apparent grace.

Kaua’i Police officials who

counseled the Anahola demonstrators in advance can take some credit for things

staying cool. The biggest share, however, goes to the demonstrators themselves.

By keeping their emotions in check and obeying laws they say don’t necessarily

apply to them, they showed an ability to state their case without slipping into

negative behavior that could harm their relations with the rest of the island

and their hope for support.

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