Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gen. Shinseki & Asian Ams. as Cabinet Secretaries

News: Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, A Japanese Am. was chosen as the Veterans Affairs Secretary. As the Army Chief of Staff, he told Rumsefeld the truth -- needing more boots on the ground in Iraq -- & earned Rumsfeld's wrath. Had he been listened to, the Iraq war and our nation would most likely have fared better.

Question: Is having an Asian Am. Cabinet Secretary important?

Answer: Before 2000, YES. Then, we wanted the historic first Asian Am. secretary for its symbolic significance. After 2001, NO! We are way beyond wanting a token Asian Am. Cabinet Secretary now.

In 2000, Norm Mineta made history by being the first Asian Am. Cabinet Secretary under Pres. Clinton. President Bush invited 2 Asian Ams into his cabinet. Mineta made us proud. He insisted on no racial profiling in airport checks during those emotional days following 9/11. At the end he proved to the nation the worth of his judgment.

Elaine Chao was a different story.

She taught us that having an Asian Am. cabinet secretary does NOT necessarily benefit our community.

Q: How did Elaine Chao disappoint or harm our community? Give facts please.

A: In 2001, 80-20 approached Sec. Elaine Chao about the apparent non-enforcement of the Exec. Order 11246 for Asian Ams. Her Labor Dept. was explicitly charged by Exec. Order 11246 to secure equal opportunity in workplaces for ALL Americans. She used various excuse to avoid discussion.

In 2005, 80-20 presented irrefutable data, shown at the end of this email that had been read into the Congressional Record by Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware. It showed that

"Asian Ams have the least opportunity to enter management and the slowest rate of progress towards equal employment opportunity, despite having the highest educational attainment."

She still refused to enforce the law although it was her duty as the Labor Secretary*.

Q: Could Sec. Chao be right and 80-20 be wrong?

A: NO. She could have held a public hearing to examine the merits of 80-20's request. Note that 16 Democratic presidential candidates including John Kerry & Joe Lieberman in 2004 and Barack Obama & Joe Biden in 2008 have agreed to this 80-20 request.

Her Deputy Sec. Steve Law sent comments intended to refute the our argument. Instead, when 80-20 researched to verify their validity, we found facts diametrically opposed to the comments. Why the Labor Dept. didn't seek the validity of its own comments before sending them to 80-20 was a puzzle. It seemed to suggest an unprofessional way the department was run.

For details visit
Go to "6. Frequently Asked Questions," where 80-20 EF answered all the questions sent by the Labor Department under Sec. Chao.

Q: So what did the lesson teach us?

A: As George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to 
repeat it." We don't just want an Asian Am. Cabinet Secretary. We want

"qualified Asian Am. Cabinet Secretaries and/or any Cabinet Secretary who share our community's rightful concerns. "

Q: How do we ensure that the lesson learned will benefit us with the Obama Administration?

A: Ever since Obama's victory, 80-20 has worked hard to ensure that we have qualified Asian Am candidates who will share our community's rightful concerns. President-elect Obama's Transition Team has been most helpful.

Remember the past! Don't worship Asian Ams with impressive government titles. Such worshipping betrays a servile and feudal mentality. Respect them only if they serve the nation and our community well. Otherwise reject them.

Respectfully yours,

S. B. Woo
President, 80-20 Educational Foundation.

* 80-20 seriously considered suing Sec. Chao. We instead decided to go through the political process with presidential candidates which would be less time and money consuming.

View the full-page Washington Post ad (September 6, 2006)