Hawaiian pols pressing to erect statue of Obama

Perhaps smarting from having been snubbed by Barack Obama when he chose Chicago for the site of his presidential non-library, aka the book-free Obama Presidential Center (complete with basketball court), it looks as though Hawaiian politicians are seeking to get in on the action from memorializing the First Black President – and perhaps generate a few more tourists.

At least that is how I interpret a somewhat bizarre news item.

According to KITV television in Hawaii:

A state Senate committee in Hawaii is calling for a statue of former President Barack Obama to be erected in the state where he was born.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a resolution requesting that the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts commission the statue.

I don't understand how the erection of a statue relates to the Hawaiian judiciary, but the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts is a state agency, so it has to pay attention to pols in the state Senate, I suppose.

The resolution will be referred to the Hawaii Senate's Ways and Means committee for consideration.

The resolution calls for an art advisory committee to be formed that would select a location for the statue, review design proposals and select an artist.

It did not specify how the statue would be funded.

Presumably, the Ways and Means committee considers funding, yet there is no mention of how the statue would be funded.  So we so far have a bunch of pols considering finding somebody's money to commission some sort of statue to be placed somewhere.  And the senators who control the purse strings are telling a state agency to do so.

The official history of the state foundation indicates that it was set up to seek money from the feds:

The creation of a state arts agency made Hawai'i eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), newly established as part of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities on September 29, 1965.

The Hawaii state Senate has 25 members, all of them Democrats.  That's right: zero Republicans in the entire body.

Statues of Barack Obama (who, by the way, is still alive) do not have a promising history.  Recall this, from 2010, via the U.K. Telegraph:

The bronze statue, inspired by a childhood photograph of a 10-year-old Barack Obama in shorts with a butterfly perched on an outstretched thumb, was moved on Monday to the nearby school the US president attended as a child.

It had been targeted by critics since it was erected in the Jakarta park last December.

Detractors argued that an Indonesian hero should have been honoured instead, noting that Mr Obama still could pursue policies that hurt the interests of the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The black-oriented website The Grio speculates:

The approval could be taken as a subtle stand against the Trump Administration.space"> [sic]

There is a statue of Obama in Puerto Rico, however, and so far as I can discover, it is still there. From the AP in 2012:

Puerto Rican officials marked Presidents Day by unveiling bronze statues of U.S. President Barack Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson, pointedly noting that people who live on the island can't vote in the U.S. general election and lack other basic rights.

The two life-size statues are the newest additions to the "Avenue of Heroes," outside the capitol building in the U.S. island territory.  The statues honor every sitting president who ever visited Puerto Rico, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt.

Photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr.

Perhaps smarting from having been snubbed by Barack Obama when he chose Chicago for the site of his presidential non-library, aka the book-free Obama Presidential Center (complete with basketball court), it looks as though Hawaiian politicians are seeking to get in on the action from memorializing the First Black President – and perhaps generate a few more tourists.

At least that is how I interpret a somewhat bizarre news item.

According to KITV television in Hawaii:

A state Senate committee in Hawaii is calling for a statue of former President Barack Obama to be erected in the state where he was born.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday for a resolution requesting that the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts commission the statue.

I don't understand how the erection of a statue relates to the Hawaiian judiciary, but the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts is a state agency, so it has to pay attention to pols in the state Senate, I suppose.

The resolution will be referred to the Hawaii Senate's Ways and Means committee for consideration.

The resolution calls for an art advisory committee to be formed that would select a location for the statue, review design proposals and select an artist.

It did not specify how the statue would be funded.

Presumably, the Ways and Means committee considers funding, yet there is no mention of how the statue would be funded.  So we so far have a bunch of pols considering finding somebody's money to commission some sort of statue to be placed somewhere.  And the senators who control the purse strings are telling a state agency to do so.

The official history of the state foundation indicates that it was set up to seek money from the feds:

The creation of a state arts agency made Hawai'i eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), newly established as part of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities on September 29, 1965.

The Hawaii state Senate has 25 members, all of them Democrats.  That's right: zero Republicans in the entire body.

Statues of Barack Obama (who, by the way, is still alive) do not have a promising history.  Recall this, from 2010, via the U.K. Telegraph:

The bronze statue, inspired by a childhood photograph of a 10-year-old Barack Obama in shorts with a butterfly perched on an outstretched thumb, was moved on Monday to the nearby school the US president attended as a child.

It had been targeted by critics since it was erected in the Jakarta park last December.

Detractors argued that an Indonesian hero should have been honoured instead, noting that Mr Obama still could pursue policies that hurt the interests of the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The black-oriented website The Grio speculates:

The approval could be taken as a subtle stand against the Trump Administration.space"> [sic]

There is a statue of Obama in Puerto Rico, however, and so far as I can discover, it is still there. From the AP in 2012:

Puerto Rican officials marked Presidents Day by unveiling bronze statues of U.S. President Barack Obama and former President Lyndon B. Johnson, pointedly noting that people who live on the island can't vote in the U.S. general election and lack other basic rights.

The two life-size statues are the newest additions to the "Avenue of Heroes," outside the capitol building in the U.S. island territory.  The statues honor every sitting president who ever visited Puerto Rico, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt.

Photo by Paul Sableman via Flickr.