PHILADELPHIA — A Hawaii delegate who was kicked out the Democratic National Convention after making an obscene gesture during roll call said the majority of the criticism she’s received is from the Aloha State.
Chelsea Lyons Kent told The Garden Island Thursday she stands by her decision, saying she had strong support in Philadelphia. But she said she received a lot of flak in Hawaii, where many people, including the Democratic Party of Hawaii and Gov. David Ige, said her decision to stick her middle to the camera was not reflective of the state’s spirit of aloha.
“I heard that a lot,” Lyons said. “I don’t see how you can say that it’s not in the spirit of aloha. It’s OK for them to call me a dumb (expletive), ignorant (expletive) and a stupid (expletive) and to attack my children? They have called me every name in the book and yet I am the one who has no aloha? Is it aloha to sit down quietly when you know that this election was completely rigged?”
Kent said people in Philadelphia are angry, too, but not because of her actions.
“All of the Bernie supporters in Philadelphia are so angry about what’s been done in the DNC,” she said. “No one is upset about what I did.”
Kent calls her gesture during the DNC roll call a “spur of the moment” decision, one in which she was trying to find a way to protest the Hillary Clinton votes. Like many Sanders’ supporters, she said she feels cheated.
“I did not expect at that moment to be on camera or to be in that position at that time,” Kent said. “I thought at that time that I wished I had a sign to hold up, but I didn’t. So I just reviewed what my options were, and it seemed like the only one.”
She said the DNC asked her to apologize to Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, but she declined. She did, however, offer to personally apologize to the people she offended in her delegation, she said.
“But I do not apologize to the DNC and I do not apologize to the representatives who voted against the people of Hawaii who voted 70 percent for Bernie and yet our super delegates went for Hillary,” she told the DNC chair.
A representative of the Democratic Party of Hawaii told TGI Wednesday Hawaii delegates are assumed to have a certain decorum and Kent did not reflect the state when she made the “inappropriate gesture.”
Dylan Hooser, a Kauai delegate who was standing beside Kent at time she made the gesture, said he was shocked and embarrassed by Kent’s decision to show her middle finger to the camera.
“I do not support such behavior nor do I condone it,” Hooser said. “I chose to conduct myself with aloha by showing shaka. I was born and raised in Hawaii and this was supposed to be a special moment for all of us in that picture and for everyone back home. If I had wanted to flip the bird, I could have. But I chose not to. Instead, I conducted myself with aloha. We were representing more than ourselves at that moment. We were representing Hawaii.”