"Yes We Can" Win the Obama Presidential Library, Says Hawaii | Bleader

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Yes We Can" Win the Obama Presidential Library, Says Hawaii

Posted By on 09.01.10 at 08:00 AM

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University of Hawaii officials traveled to Washington this week to lobby reps from the National Archives about locating the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum in the islands instead of Chicago or some other hibiscus-deficient place. This was just the latest step in a fight for the library that began within weeks of Obama's swearing-in ceremony, when "early bets" called it for the University of Chicago campus. Undaunted, the Hawaiians have been using Internet technologies to try and win this thing.

The University of Hawaii has teamed up with community groups to create a fancy website outlining the benefits of building the library in Obama's non-Kenyan birthplace. Hawaii is multicultural, they point out, with a thriving tourism industry, a unique geographic location, the original Matsumoto Shave Ice, and plenty of aloha:

In his Philadelphia address on race, Barack Obama called for Americans to move beyond the "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years" and to recognize that "out of many, we are truly one." With its ethic of aloha and no-majority demographics that anticipate the future of the country, Hawai'i embodies this unifying vision more than any other state. It encourages Americans not to wallow in the divisions of the past but to come together to meet this century's challenges.

In addition to the university and its allies, the Hawaii state legislature also supports the project, passing a resolution earlier this month that asked Obama to please, please put his library in their state. There's a Facebook fan page dedicated to the cause. And Obama library advocates such as Virginia S. Hinshaw, chancellor of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and chair of the University's pro-library steering committee, have made YouTube videos articulating their position:

Why does her hairdo seem familiar? Oh, right:

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While Hawaii pushes it real good for building the library there, what has Chicago been doing?

Officials from the University of Chicago have "studied the benefits" of locating the library on-campus, and last fall reached out to Obama administration officials, but seem to have put the campaigning on hold for the moment. They might be saving themselves some time—Obama's not ready to make any decisions yet, and has also floated the idea of creating a virtual library, which would make the current debate moot.

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