I was born and grew up in Hawaii, and didn’t move to the mainland (what I guess other people call the “lower 48”, although that’s an absurd misnomer) until I was 19. Since moving away, I fairly often have to parry assertions that Hawaii is not a real state. The obvious answer is that of course we are, and the rest of the US needs us – otherwise they’d have an inelegant 98 senators and a horrendous 49-star flag to deal with. The obvious mathematical importance of the 50th state is still lost on plenty of people: of the 38% of Americans who doubted that President Obama was born in the US in 2009, fully 10 percentage points were aware he was born in Hawaii – 6 percentage points thought Hawaii was not in the United States and 4 points “weren’t sure”. That’s 10 in every 100 Americans doubting that there are 50 states in the US. Forget geography – let’s teach counting in schools.
So it is with great pleasure that I learned that the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, took his oath of office today (HST) in Honolulu. Of course he did – he has to be sworn in here in the United States, before we ship him back to our overseas possessions to serve out his term of service there. We can’t be letting the territories think they have self-determination, can we?
Hat tip: Evan Herrnstadt