Asian American Tea Party?


Even before the results are in, the Tea Party has impacted this year’s mid-terms. 

But have you seen any Asian Americans in its ranks? 

I haven’t noticed any. Which leads me to wonder, how can you call yourself a TP and not have enough Asians in it to fill a teepee? 

Where are all the Asians?  Serving the tea?

As tea parties go, I’m a big fan of the first one back in Massachusetts when revolution was a white-on-whiter thing.  A lack of Asian presence was understandable back then. But today, when you consider how the TP’s rage is all about finances and deficits and out of control spending, wouldn’t the group benefit from our number crunching acumen?  

Perhaps the real takeaway for Asian Americans from this modern TP chapter in American politics is that any Tea Party comes with an empty pot. 

No one has exclusive rights to the metaphor of American rebellion. Nor does it have to be filled with extreme GOP/independent/conservative bile. 

You can fill it with any angry minority sentiment you like.   

If that’s the case, shouldn’t Asian Americans start a tea party of our own?

Of course, we could. But if we started our own Tea Party, exactly what would our political bent be? And who would bring the pork buns?

My first assumption is that Asian Americans traditionally tilt Democratic. But a colleague challenged me, and what do you know, there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of high profile Asian Americans on the right. 

There’s Bush torture enabler John Yoo,  disgraced Congressman Jay Kim, and former cabinet secretary Elaine Chao (spouse of  Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell).

Even in California, the leading challenger to Southern California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is a hard-charging conservative,  Van Tran, a California state legislator of Vietnamese-descent.

Asian Americans are more diverse in our views than we think.  Some of it breaks down by generation, some by ethnicity.  But it certainly would lead one to think we don’t really have a united group vision as Asian Americans now, do we?

Post-1965, there may have been a  common struggle for civil rights that helped to define us and form coalitions with other groups.

Back then, to say we were “Asian American” was truly to make a political statement. Now it seems to be a purely cultural/lifestyle handle as  the politics of the day turns from group empowerment to individual self-interest.

Are you voting this week because you want everyone to have a better economic future? 

Or are you pissed off about your own taxes, job security, sense of the future?  Or are you voting at all?

And what of being an “Asian American”? Did that make you want to pull the curtain and mark a ballot? Is there something  about being Asian American that still rallies the political spirit in you?

Here’s a sad thought: Maybe our Asian American tea party won’t be political after all. 

Maybe it’s really just a tea party.

Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
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The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.
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