Imagine this: A Vietnamese-American runs for congress as a Republican in one of the safest Democratic congressional districts in the country. His candidacy is endorsed by the Alliance for Good Government, Bobby Jindal, the Family Research Council, and Pat Boone. He wins.
Sounds like the premise of a really good a sitcom, doesn’t it?
Well, believe it or not, it’s exactly what happened in Louisiana’s second congressional district last night. Anh “Joseph” Cao looks to have officially denied William “Freezer Cash” Jefferson a 10th term in the United States House of Representatives. The last Republican to represent this district in congress was Hamilton D. Coleman, who served from 1889-1891. Another interesting factoid: Joseph Cao will be the first Vietnamese-American to serve in congress.
Now, even though a Republican did take a Democratic seat, and even though the people of Louisiana’s second district will be represented in congress by a bona fide family values “social Conservative” for at least the next two years, I can’t help but be giddy about the whole situation. Why? Well, first, the whole trailblazing element of Cao’s candidacy is, by itself, inspiring.
There’s never been a Vietnamese-American elected to congress, and Asians in general are a rarity in the federal legislative branch. By my count, there are 8 in the entire 110th Congress (That means that only 1.5% of the seats in the House and Senate combined are held by individuals of Asian extraction), and they’re all Democrats. America is a diverse nation, and congress should reflect that.
Second, I may not like what the social Conservative movement stands for, but my dislike of corrupt politics is infinitely more intense.
William Jefferson has proven through his actions that he is not the sort of individual who deserves to be in Congress. He doesn’t embody the values of the Democratic Party, and, more importantly, he doesn’t embody the values of America. What his defeat proves is that people in America still care more about holding elected officials accountable and maintaining the integrity of our governmental institutions than they do about party affiliation, or even ideological differences.
After all, were integrity not present to serve as the foundation of our government, nothing else would matter, least of all party affiliation or ideological differences.