The old story goes that if Santa Claus thinks you’ve been naughty during the year, you’ll get no gifts, just a lump of coal, and so it looks like Christmas came early to a few Hawaiian lawmakers this year.
All 19 House Representatives in Hawaii who voted ‘No’ on same-sex marriage got an early, and unusual, delivery in the mail last week: a black box filled green tissue paper and a red pouch with a hard black lump of coal. It also came with a message:
"You left a piece of your heart at the State Building when you voted on SB-1..... Your lifestyle choice of judging others and ignorance is very unfortunate. Good luck in the next election."
Some lawmakers got the joke, er, irony, of the gift and others did not.
"Yeah I think the message is that I have not been a good boy this year, I have been naughty, not nice. Well I'm afraid some people feel that way about me right now."—Representative Marcus Oshiro, a Democrat who voted ‘No.’
"We got lickins when we weren't doing what we were supposed to be doing. I guess kids on the mainland that's actually a better thing. I would rather get a piece of coal in my stockings then lickins."—Representative Richard Fale, a Republican naysayer.
Some of the 19 weren’t amused and took their lumps to the House Sgt. At Arms to dispose of them.
There was a tracking number that shows the boxes were sent from Hilo and that the sender actually went to the counter to mail it. But since it's not illegal to send a lawmaker coal, authorities won't go to the expense of looking at surveillance to see who it was. And that doesn’t sit well with Congressman Fale.
"I feel sad for this person. That's what it tells me. This individual I hope gets some kind of help or assistance. There is something missing in their life."—Representative Richard Fale
Well, Congressman, what’s missing from their lives might have been lawmakers who think everyone should be treated equally.
But some lawmakers didn't take it as a threat or a cry for help:
"It is very unusual. It made its point and for me it’s a keepsake that I will hold onto for a long time. I just want to thank the person who sent it to me anonymously, Merry Christmas, mele kalikimaka, hauoli makahiki hou."—Representative Marcus Oshiro
The boxes were not sent to the four State Senators who voted ‘No.’
Or maybe Santa’s running late to their offices?