Emil Guillermo: Robert Hur, Ke Huy Quan, and MLK
Robert Hur is the AAPI Person of the Hour. Maybe for the next couple of years. For Fox News Republicans drooling over any potential Biden misstep, Hur will be seen as their go-to guy as they seek to bury the president.
That’s what happens when Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints a special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents found at a former office of President Biden, as well as the president’s Delaware home.
Hur appears to be a straight shooter when it comes to his legal work. Politics is irrelevant. He’s all facts, no fluff.
Born to South Korean immigrants in New York, Hur, 49, went to Harvard College and Stanford Law. He clerked for former Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.
He’s smart, conservative, and based on his resume, unabashedly evenhanded.
Hur was in the Trump Justice Department as the top aide to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But he made his name in Maryland leading the U.S. Attorney’s Office. There he focused on everything from drug cases, fraud, and violent crime to national security and cybercrime.
One notable case involved a white supremacist group called The Base, a group that plotted to kill “leftists in general,” including politicians, journalists, and professors, according to news reports.
I don’t think we have to be worried about any bias on the part of Hur.
“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial and dispassionate judgment,” the newly appointed special counsel said in a released statement. “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform the service.”
Hur could become as famous as Robert Mueller, the special counsel of the Trump/Russia probe. And, of course, he’s sharing the limelight with Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating the Trump/Mar-a-Lago documents case.
But Hur should have an easier time. The number of documents is a fraction compared to those in the Trump case. And Biden is also fully cooperating.
Trump? He just denigrated Smith as a “terrorist” and “Trump hater” on social media.
In Hur, the country will see an Asian American face representing the search for what should be democracy’s common ground–truth and justice.
Just what America needs right now.
IT’S MLK WEEKEND. THINK OF IT FROM AN ASIAN PERSPECTIVE
I’m still marveling over Ke Huy Quan’s acceptance at the Golden Globes this past week when he won for Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
First of all, I grew up in San Francisco and had a pal named Waymond, the name of Quan’s character in EEAAO. The family of another neighborhood buddy, Albert, ran a wash and fold laundry. I saw them all in Quan, who played an Asian American everyman you root for to win. And when he did, his remarks at the Globes captured the emotion of dreams finally fulfilled. Quan was a childhood star in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and thought he was on his way to stardom, until he wasn’t.
He reminded me of every Asian American in any line of work, waiting for their moment to recycle upwards. Only it took decades until Ke got another big opportunity with “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
And when it finally came, he won a Golden Globe.
Watch his speech here.
Quan, 51, said he’s vowed to never forget where he came from. In showbiz terms, that would be getting discovered as a child by Steven Spielberg.
But geo-historically, it means Saigon, Vietnam, where Quan was born in 1971. His family became refugees in 1978 when he arrived with his father and five siblings in a Hong Kong camp. At the same time, his mother and three siblings sought refuge in Malaysia. A year later, in 1979, they were all reunited in the U.S.
Ke Huy Quan could give a Golden Globes speech for the miracle of his life.
MLK’S ASIAN AMERICAN SPEECH
Quan’s Vietnam saga is worth contemplating on MLK weekend. Though some will gravitate to “I Have a Dream,” my go-to MLK speech, the one I call his Asian American speech, was delivered at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967.
It is the speech in which King makes the connection between civil rights and the peace movement. He advocates for the end to the war in Vietnam, which he called “madness.”
“We must stop now,” King said. “I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leader of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop, it must be ours.”
Just reading one graph, you can hear King’s voice.
He was speaking of the American people. But he spoke of the Vietnamese too.
“Because it is clear to me,” King said, “that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.”
Now decades later, many of those people are here, like Ke Huy Quan and his family are in the U.S. Thriving and heard.
When you remember Dr. King this weekend, think of his Riverside Church speech. It’s his most Asian American speech.
NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com.
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