Hawaii grassroots politics, going virtual:
The reality of eDemocracy in Hawaii gains momentum as members of HawaiiConCon.org and Citizens’ Committee on ConCon call on citizens to join Hawaii’s newest open online community at HawaiiConCon.org. Over 70 Hawaii citizens including prominent political and technology leaders have already joined HawaiiConCon.org to “learn, discuss, and decide” on the merits of whether to hold a State Constitutional Convention. Former Congressman and co-founder Ed Case stated, “What we are trying to do here is to lay those pros and cons out and to have a discussion; a discussion that thus far hasn’t really occurred anywhere else in Hawaii.”
I was four years old when the last Constitutional Convention (or ConCon) was held. And while we last voted on whether or not to have one in 1998, I suspect I — like many residents — had no idea what a ConCon was. I do know, however, that Hawaii has changed a lot since 1978. And while the Hawaii State Constitution shouldn’t be fiddled with on a whim, it was also designed to be revisited at most every decade to adjust to changing times.
I don’t know whether having a Constitutional Convention in 2008 is a good idea. As with all ConCons, a lot of people see an opportunity for positive change, and a lot of people see potential for chaos or losing hard-won ground. Everyone from environmentalists to Native Hawaiian groups would have a lot at stake if a ConCon happens, and I honestly can see a strong case for continuing to work within the law and legislature rather than tampering with our state’s core document.
But what’s most important to me is that I, and everyone, understand the question. Perhaps no simpler than, “What is a ConCon?” Frankly, whichever way people decide on whether or not to have one, I want that vote to be an informed one.
And one key difference between 2008 and 1978, or even between 2008 and 1998, is the pervasiveness and power of the Internet. It’s power to educate, inform, foster interaction and connect communities is incredibly relevant to government, to “participatory democracy.” And that’s the spirit behind HawaiiConCon.org. Everything you need to know should be online. And conversations about power and process shouldn’t be limited to the halls of government (or the dining rooms at country clubs). Shouldn’t everyone have a say? Everyone can, through the power of the web.
I’m excited to be a part of growing HawaiiConCon.org, as much on the geek side as on the political front. I love talking about the social web, about “Web 2.0.” It’s a whole lot of fun. But it’d sure be nice to see these tools used for something more fundamentally important to life in Hawaii. If you already blog or vlog, podcast or tweet, if you already spend time learning and playing on the web, I think HawaiiConCon.org deserves a good look.
Sign up, ask questions, study, and spout off. It’ll be good for you, and hopefully everyone, to grow this information and conversation.
- Maybe it will take a ConCon to bring democracy to Hawaii (Larry Geller)
- A Historic Opportunity for Hawaii’s Tech Community (Peter Kay)
- Battle of the Studies (Hawaii House Blog)
- Two panels to review ConCon cost factors (Honolulu Advertiser)
- ConCon gone wild! (Doug White)