Friday, November 6, 2009

Hafa da' Haole?

Every time I hear about the "haole vote" I start to laugh. We're the fifth wheel of CNMI politics: almost irrelevant.

Haole is used here to mean 'someone from the States', which is not exactly what the Hawaiians originally meant. It's close enough, and that's the local usage, so I'll follow. I'll even answer to it if we're just funning.

Some politicians here never use the word. Political correctness I suppose, and I can cautiously like a sensitive guy or gal. Others don't say haole because the tone might give them away: a "haole hater", and we can't have that. Most fall in the middle and use the word. You have to read that tone, that body language and yeah there are a few adjectives that might tip you off too.

But what if he doesn't like me? Seriously? Show of hands... how many people obsess over that once they get out of primary school? Get over it. I've voted for a few haole haters; they were the best candidates.

Which nicely brings me back to the point. A couple of people who would gladly see me pack up my carpetbag have bailed me out when I had car problems. They were friendly and helpful: nothing personal.

Cue laugh track

Each of the four gubernatorial candidates has haole supporters. 'He's really very nice in person', they tell me. Really? Charming and running for office? How refreshing, he's got my vote. Yes, it's important to meet the candidates, but really. (I actually hadn't met Heinz Hofschneider until last week. We both thought that was odd. The meeting was for haoles who hadn't made up their minds and fancy themselves independent. I guess I qualified, barely.)

In the end, I expect the 'haole vote' to run pretty much the same as the overall vote, for many of the same reasons. Some have a job or expect to get a job. (No promises, understand, because all three challengers say they just won't work that way.):

Quite a few long-timers will vote for a friend or their spouse's relative-- not familia, mind you, but they just really know this candidate. Some are just too lazy to actually do a little homework.

Because, really, the four candidates have been around for a long time. They have records, and there are skeletons out there. It's easy to ask around, or Search through the files of the Marianas Variety and the Saipan Tribune. Federalization is a wild card. That aside, it's a mystery to me why the haoles will split their vote like everyone else.

They will.

No comments: