Contributed by Special Guest Author, Ed Lin
You may or may not know this, but I will never be the President of the United States of America.
I never made the right connections at college. I never worked the right summer jobs or ingratiated myself with the right people. I never showed that I cared.
The main reason why my site is “www.edlinforpresident.com” is that “www.edlin.com” was taken by a woman whose last name is my entire name. Also, I like the upbeat, optimistic “for president” angle. It’s perennially optimistic, as am I.
I actually did run for student council and club positions, including president, but the only position I ever won was president of the high-school German club, and that was only because voting was compulsory (it was German, after all) and my opponent was the top student and widely despised for being so. There were no debates, speeches or campaigns. It was just, check this or that. Well, if anything, it was a win for my college application.
As ridiculous as that election was, the contest we are witnessing now stretches the limits of hyperbole to describe. On top of all the trumpeting, this is the cycle that saw an Asian Pacific American at the debates. Undercard, yeah, but some of his highlights still made the news.
Unlike me, Bobby Jindal has an impressive resume, the kind the CEO of the United States should have. Led the Republicans group at Brown, check. Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School acceptances, check. Baptized as a Catholic, check. Interned with a U.S. Representative, check. Climbing up through “the system,” serving in Louisiana’s state government, becoming a U.S. Representative and then capturing Louisiana’s governorship, boom.
Despite all that, he fell far short in his Presidential run. Why? That affected Southern accent (that he didn’t have 20 years ago) for one thing. His race was another. The Left pummeled him for being the same shade of brown as the undocumented immigrants he railed against. The right wing judged him to be too geeky. Racists across the spectrum, of which there were many and who weren’t going to give him a chance, anyway, left comments such as “ISIS training camp” on a photo of a Jindal family hunting trip.
In addition, his second term as Louisiana’s governor was as hapless as the worst aspects of Jimmy Carter’s term. In fact, The Economist noted that Jindal’s approval rating in Louisiana had slipped to 32% last May – a breathtaking 10 percentage points lower than President Obama’s rating in that anti-Obama state.
What will it take to get an Asian Pacific American President? As far as circumstances are concerned, the economy will have to be booming, so sentiment and political rhetoric against job-stealin’ Asia subsides. As for the candidate in particular, she will have to be someone who has served the country (to remove any doubts about loyalty and patriotism) and who is charming even when delivering unpleasant truths. Tammy Duckworth combined with Aziz Ansari. Eric Shinseki melded with Russell Peters.
We’re talking about pretty much anybody but me. That’s all right. I’d rather be writing than President, anyway. I zone out during meetings. I don’t need your vote, but please remember, I do need your support. Read more books. Thank you.
Bio: Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014.