What’s up with all the profanity from Hawaii politicians? One thing it’s not is accidental

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Updated: Nov. 21, 2018 at 11:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU, HI (HAWAII NEWS NOW) - Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard — who typically chooses words carefully — lit up the internet Wednesday with a scathing tweet criticizing President Trump for standing by Saudi Arabia’s rulers despite the murder of journalist.

The tweet, which included a profane word, has been liked more than 70,000 times and generated national headlines. And her office made clear that the tweet wasn’t a slip-up, but reflected her true feelings.

Political onlookers say it’s the latest example of a Hawaii politician, like those on the mainland, using profane and at-times crass language to try cut through the noise and make a point. U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, for example, said ‘bullshit’ during the Kavanaugh debate and told Hawaii News Now she calls it like it is.

And last week, during a Honolulu council meeting, Windward councilman Ikaika Anderson used words that describe group sex to criticize the council for inaction on homelessness.

“What all of this amounts to is not being able to move forward with something pertaining to one council district is sitting around in a circle jerk playing a game of grab ass," Anderson said, during an address to the full council on Nov. 14. "Now, if folks want to do that, Mr. Chairman, and dick around that’s fine.”

Anderson said his frustration is personal because his biological father was homeless in bushes next to Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo and avoided the streets or public parks.

"I've never been afraid to say what I want to say, but I wouldn't have used the words that I used, I don't think, if this issue weren't so close to my heart," he said.

HNN political analyst Colin Moore said the public is more accepting of curse words from their public officials thanks in large part to President Trump’s language.

"When you swear, it turns out people perceive your language as more honest, more forth right and of course it generates a lot of attention," he said.

Moore thinks Gabbard tweeted to become more visible in a potential presidential run against Trump in 2020.

Moore also believes despite the general acceptance, the political profanity is bad for democracy because it either shuts down conversation or ramps things up.

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