Monthly Archives: September 2004

Better the Lives of All People

An important thing I have learned in politics, or what I consider people science, is the understanding of human behavior. My heart is open to all kinds of people from all walks of life. I try to put myself into the shoes of others whether they are professionals, in alternative lifestyles, or in the struggle trying to make ends meet.

I have been a strong advocate for women and this stems from hearing the stories of girls who survived rape and violence. A majority of the stories I heard were not reported to the police. I know Governor Lingle disagrees with me in appropriating state funds for certain women's programs, but I am just speaking from my heart. In 1997, a lady who claimed to have a psychic gift told me to never forget what drove me into politics. That helpless feeling of not being able to do as much as I wanted for the girls who entrusted their stories of struggle to me was one of the things that got me determined to enter politics. Many of these girls were afraid or ashamed to go public. As a politician, I am as public as it gets, and I will do all I can to speak on behalf of those who feel alone.

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Unifying Our Country

I was just thinking of some of the challenging experiences I went through, in particular racism. When I went to Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, I saw what it was like to be a true minority among a population that was probably over 97% Caucasion. The people were conservative, religious, and mostly in the lower social/economic bracket. Politically, this area was once represented by former Democratic U.S. Speaker of the House Tom Foley. It is now represented by Republican U.S. Rep. George R. Nethercutt Jr. who defeated Foley by campaigning on term limits and is still in Congress breaking his promise.

The law students I became friends with were of all types of ethnic backgrounds. We would often get stares from the general public. Sometimes service would be bad at restaurants and stores. Inside, I was hoping it had nothing to do with us being minorities.

Throughout Spokane, Native American Indians would come up to me and talk. When I was in elementary school, I used to read all the books on Native Americans like the Sioux and Nez Perce tribes. One Native American shook my hand and told me “I understand the suffering of your people.” Likewise, inside, I wanted to tell him that I felt for the wrongs our country had done to his people. One Native American woman told me how U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye had done so much for Native Americans throughout our country.

One racist situation occured to me when I was hanging out with a Korean American friend at a bar next to my run-down apartment. These Caucasion guys were telling me that I needed to wear cowboy boots and started talking with racial overtones. Then they told me to go fly fishing with them that night. They kept encouraging me to drink more. Of course I didn’t because they wanted me to get drunk so they can convince me to fly fishing with them. Inside, I was thinking, do they think I am crazy to make such a decision. I told them first, you come with me to Hawaii and surf in some rough water. I left with my friend very disturbed. I would later bump into one of those guys alone and I told him what was on my mind sternly with my Filipino law school friend from California behind me. I guess I must have¬†looked angry because my friend thought I was going to fight.

On another occasion, an attractive blonde Caucasion girl gave me her phone number. My Caucasion law school friend who was raised in Spokane kept telling me to date this other Asian girl in law school instead. I think he felt uncomfortable about me dating someone from his own Caucasion ethnicity.

Our country has a long way to go. Right now, the country is so politically divided. In the mainland United States, the Democratic Party is diverse with people of different ethnicities, religions, and social/economic backgrounds, and they are from cosmopolitan areas. In contrast, the Republicans are mostly Caucasion, of Christian faith, and from rural areas.

I heard that ethnic minority members of Congress get death threats. Getting assassinated for bettering your country is the sacrifice politicians are willing to face. I would love to someday influence national policy to unify our country. And maybe in the 2040s, our country will be ready for a minority president?

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