Browsing articles in "Politics"
May 3, 2011

American Ignorance and Immigration /Update


Now we have an Indian Miss American, An Asian runner up, a Black President, a Black Attorney General … oh, what is white American to do???

by Gloria Garvey
American Citizen since October 12, 1949

Several months ago, in an article entitled “How Dumb Are We?,” Newsweek reported that 38% of “real” Americans had failed the U.S. Citizenship test.

It is a well known fact that Americans are ignorant about their government: our general ignorance about anything that affects our lives in any substantial way has put this country in the precarious position it now finds itself.

It’s not hard to believe that the people who elected Eric Cantor and his ilk now give Congress some of its lowest marks in history. They’re surprised Congress wants to get their hands on their Medicare? And all of us who voted for Obama: did we really think he could make the changes he promised? We are not merely ignorant. We are willfully ignorant.

I have had some direct experience with the U.S. Citizenship test, and it is not difficult. My Canadian husband became a U.S. citizen in 2007 — prompting second-generation-me to read materials he printed off the INS part of the Federal Government website.

At that time, preparation for the test included 100 sentences that the citizen wannabe might be asked to speak or write down during their interview. None of them were hard. Instead, the sentences were shocking in their presumption that all immigrants are uneducated and poor. Maybe it’s preparation for becoming a real American. Continue reading »

Apr 28, 2009

Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Governor Lingle should veto the new taxes on tourists — that goes for the increases in the TAT and also for the car rental taxes buried in the highway bill.

One of my first jobs in Hawaii was at the Sheraton Waikiki. Our administrative offices were on the fourth floor and every day I rode the elevators, envious of visitors smelling like coconut oil. They seemed oblivious to the hideous Dorothy Draper interior design, and thought Waikiki unbelievably cool.

That was in 1973. A lot has changed in the last thirty five years, but one thing hasn’t: our absolute dependence on tourism to keep these islands going. The first time the legislature levied the “TAT,” we didn’t live our lives online. This time, we live our lives online and loyal visitors who follow Hawai`i know what we do when we need more money. We tax them, and hope they won’t notice. Continue reading »

Sep 3, 2008

Hawaii Should Come First

Bleah Hawaii. Finally, we have made the New York Times editorial page. Not so ironically, the editorial piece on Hawaii was third in a list – the first being The Wrong Priorities and the second being Great Wall of Fluff. That pretty much sums up Hawaii’s current dilemma.

Now we hear that “sewage spills are not unusual in U.S.” — that Los Angeles has had more than 4500 sewage spills in a 10 year period, that Louisville and Jefferson County have been dumping sewage and storm water into the Ohio River totaling “billions of gallons each year.” Well – as the Church Lady would say on Saturday Night Live: “Isn’t that special?”

This is a whole new twist on Hawaii’s age old worry that things are better on the mainland. In a real life demonstration about the old adage of birds not pooping in their own nest, Hawaii has done that and more. Never mind that we made the right decision to direct the stuff in the (recently cleaned up) Ala Wai Canal, we have made the wrong decisions year after year after year. Hawaii is the home of “if we can’t see it, it won’t hurt us.” Continue reading »

Dec 3, 2005

Look How Far We’ve Come

Update:  I  wrote this when Barack Obama wasn’t even a Senator, when “only” 2500 of our men and women had been killed in Iraq.  Never mind Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and on and on. Plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme.


Sixteen years ago, editor Anne Harpham sent reporter Vickie Ong to interview me about my 11 year old son being stuck in Saudi Arabia because Iraq had invaded Kuwait. He was visiting his father who was working at ARAMCO in Dhahran, and initially, they were oblivious about Kuwait. I was terrified. CNN was just ten years old and was still a legitimate 24 hour news network. I knew plenty about the invasion of Kuwait, and the U.S. drumbeats for war in the Gulf. My son and his father knew nothing.

When he arrived in Saudi Arabia, “the Saudis” had taken Ian’s passport (for safe keeping?) as they had taken his father’s, and when Iraq invaded Kuwait they weren’t giving them back. Because his Dad was a physician, they would not be among the first to leave the country. Continue reading »


Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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