Categorized | News

Embarrassing Moment at DNC Roll Call for American Samoa All Right…

It Looked Colonial and Imperialistic!

People are upset about an incident that was intended to honor the US military during the roll call of the states at the Democratic Convention (By the way, that was more respect to Senator Bernie Sanders than Ron Paul got in 2012 at the Mitt Romney convention!) when American Samoa announced its delegate vote total (11 for Biden).

Here is the article from an American Samoa media source (HT to Breitbart) and here is an important highlight:

In the video of the DNC roll call, Aliitama Sotoa, the chairman of the American Samoa Democratic Party, cast the territory’s 11 votes to candidate Joe Biden in the brief segment. Standing next to Sotoa was Petti Matila, who serves as an executive assistant at the American Samoa Department of Commerce. The soldiers did not speak and were not acknowledged, according to a Samoa News staff member who viewed the video.

The two soldiers were behind the speakers in a serious pose and each wore a black mask.

I am sure the use of the uniform was not intentional. But I would think the real embarrassment is the setting: it looks like the soldiers, our soldiers by the way, were there to make sure the territory voted “right”. It is a totally colonial, imperialistic meme.

I have blogged on American Samoa and how our involvement is checkered at best. We refused to have an election on status and in 1930 there was a Congressional investigation, conducted by those who overthrew the Hawai’ian monarchy:

So what did the United States do – surely an election to determine the fate of their section of Samoa, right Sandy?  No, the US authorities banned the Mau leader from coming to American Samoa:

After World War I, during the time of the Mau movement in Western Samoa (then a League of Nations mandate governed by New Zealand), there was a corresponding American Samoa Mau movement,[7] led by Lauaki Namulauulu Mamoe, a World War I veteran who was from Leone village. After meetings in the United States mainland, he was prevented from disembarking from the ship that brought him home to American Samoa and was not allowed to return because the American Samoa Mau movement was suppressed by the U.S. Navy. In 1930 the U.S. Congress sent a committee to investigate the status of American Samoa, led by Americans who had had a part in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  (emphasis added)

Allowing the folks who overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii to oversee what should happen to American Samoa is like letting the fox watch the hens.  I’ll have more to say on this matter below.  But here’s a fascinating and potentially disturbing account of how the Navy suppressed independence in American Samoa.  There has never been a vote in American Samoa concerning its status.

And now there is this. OOPS! I doubt it is best for American Samoa to be independent. But the pose of the soldiers behind the delegates ought to be the embarrassing item in this story.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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