Monday, October 18, 2010

Where Was Anh "Joseph" Cao?

This morning I was proud to stand behind my friend and colleague, Lucas Diaz, Executive Director of Puentes - New Orleans, at a press conference in protest of a repugnant and reprehensible campaign ad mounted by Sen. David Vitter about illegal immigration. The Press Conference got some good local media coverage and there was a great diversity of representation present in that audience and on the stage. One of the attendees in the audience was Cedric Richmond, the Democratic candidate in the race to represent Louisiana's US Congressional District 2 on Capitol Hill. Richmond was a great legislative ally in the Louisiana State Congress last spring when it came to confronting anti-illegal immigration legislation in Baton Rouge. I won't forget his clear position of opposition against this legislation. At this press conference, Richmond didn't seek out the spotlight. He didn't try to coopt the event for himself. He was just another citizen sitting in the audience in support of our grass-roots efforts to protest Vitter's campaign ad. That means something to me.

And guess who wasn't in the audience: Anh "Joseph" Cao. Cao should have been there. He could have been there. And as an immigrant from Vietnam himself, his presence would have been a strong symbol to Vitter and the Republican establishment backing him up that such vile demonization of immigrants is unacceptable regardless of partisan affiliation. But Cao wasn't there, and I'd bet any amount of money he wasn't there because it would have cost him among his GOP support base. Cao could have made a principled stand against the racist pandering and demagoguery of Vitter and the party that supports him. But he didn't. And that's just about enough for me in making up my mind come election day in November. It's a stark reminder that the "R" behind Cao's name makes him untrustworthy when it comes to standing up to bigotry that reflections poorly on what that "R" stands for. It's a wake-up call about the nature of partisanship in this current environment and that even someone like Cao is not immune to its pernicious effects.

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