by Cody Hensarling

As a proud citizen of the State of Hawaii, I was thrilled to hear that the Heritage Foundation was hosting an event in my home state. To my pleasant surprise, the event surpassed my expectations.

Those of you who were able to attend the panel on school choice know how impactful some of the stories told were. Jennifer Marshall, the Heritage Foundation’s Director of Domestic Studies, briefed us on the challenges and triumphs in the school choice movement, with particular emphasis on the popularized DC school vouchers issue. After Jennifer’s presentation, Sen. Sam Slom identified some of the eccentricities of Hawaii’s educational system and reiterated his commitment to bringing about reform to the public schools (or the “government schools” as he called them) that would put the family and the community at the forefront of educational decisions.

After the panel discussion, we were treated to a lovely selection of appetizers then fed a delicious meal. A far better memory than was left by the food was evoked by the stirring comments given by a number of patriots. In particular, Capt. Gerald Coffee & Grassroot Institute President Dick Rowland framed the Pledge of Allegiance and the Invocation with stories and ideas that will not easily be forgotten. All this was prologue to main attraction: Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza, president of the King’s College and noted author-scholar, walked the assembled audience through the thesis of his 2010 best seller, The Roots of Obama’s Rage. D’Souza’s premise, that President Obama’s guiding ideology most closely resembles anti-colonialism, provoked deep contemplation and a number of probing questions from the audience. Unlike many speakers, D’Souza directly engaged each of the questions presented to him and seemed to genuinely enjoy applying his thesis to a variety of hypothetical and real situations.

All in all, it was an inspiring event that left me excited for the possibility of future collaborations with the Heritage Foundation in Hawaii. For pictures of the event, go to our facebook page here.