Friday, November 02, 2007

Political Process and Collective Shame

By Amy Wong Mok
Vice President
80-20 Initiative Board

Recently I had a conversation with a friend who works on a college campus. We talked about the 2008 presidential election and the involvement of Asian Americans in this process, especially the young voters. She shook her head and shared her concerns aboutthe negative impact on our community by the illegal political contribution of Mr. Norman Hsu to the Democratic Party. She has sensed some level of collective shame among the Asian American college students when this scandal is brought up. She is afraid that Asian American voters may not be as active and maybe overly cautious about making political contribution to both parties or to any particular candidate. Her observation worries me and here are the reasons.

1. The political process of election campaigning is an important means for us toachieve our vision for a better community. We cannot afford to diminish our involvement; unless we are willing to turn a blind eye to the injustices that we are fighting to eliminate.

2. We should not allow anybody to define all Asian Americans based on the misbehavior of one individual, even though he is an Asian American. Other people's definition of us should not become our reality. We know better and we are better.

It is very important for all of us to continue building our political strength. The future of our children depends on it. Please consider:

1. Get involved in the political debate and discussion at your precinct because your opinion and experience are just as important as others.
2. Get a seat to go to the state convention.
3. Get a seat to be a delegate to the national convention.
4. Attend the public meetings when the candidates sympathetic to our cause come to your area.
5. Contribute your time and resources to candidates who are our friends. We can make a difference and each one of us counts.
6. Participate in the 80-20 Initiative at a level that you feel most comfortable.
Upgrade the level of your membership.

Together we will increase the number of Asian American federal judicial appointments to represent fairly the Asian American population in adequate proportion. We should have 39 Asian American federal court judges. We now have only 6, a big gap to narrow down. We must increase the number of Asian American executives in public and private establishments in compliance with Executive Order 11246 that was signed by President Johnson in 1965. This order is meant to ensure the number of minority and women in executive positions in colleges/universities, government agencies and private businesses. Asian Americans have been left out in the enforcement of EO11246, in violation offederal law.

I truly believe in the observation: "The worth of a community depends on how the children are treated." In a democratic society, we can ensure the fair and just treatment of our children through our political strength. The Norman Hsu affair is no reason for us to retreat. It is a reminder to us all about how much we want to be treated like all others. Nobody rises to low expectations. Let us keep our aim high so that children will surely rise above us.

Become a member of 80-20 Initiative today and please share your political experience with us.

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Jing-Li Yu Treasurer
P.O. Box 527340
Flushing, NY 11352-7340 .
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