Yes, we can. Yes, any one of us can.
The people we are electing to political office no longer fit the antiquated mold of the candidate of by-gone days. Race is slowly meaning less and less when it comes to who we choose to represent us in government. Anyone of any background can contend in America's political jungle, and Louisiana is among the states breaking new ground.
We may not even fully realize yet just how historic of a time this is. Just look at what we've done here in Louisiana. First, we elected Bobby Jindal, the son of immigrants from India, as our governor. Then 2nd Congressional District voters chose Anh "Joseph" Cao, the first Vietnamese-American to serve in Congress.
Cao seems to be an unlikely political figures. Yet the soft-spoken refugee from Vietnam has plenty going for him, like his degrees in physics, philosophy and law. Voters in the district went for a fresh face, turning away nine-term incumbent William Jefferson. So much for the status quo.
There used to be a time when a full-blooded Indian man and a Vietnamese man had virtually zero chance of ever getting elected to such positions. Well, those days are officially over.
Cao's win shocked the world, as his upset victory made headlines in several foreign countries. Even Vietnamese-Americans across the country were caught off guard and shocked by the outcome.
We are all living in the midst of a sea change in our collective thinking. And it's about time.
We should embrace this new world we are entering. Now is the time to shrug off the old way of thinking. For too long we've shunned certain people in our society when it came to them taking an active political role, and it's been done for no good reason.
It wasn't that long ago when voters in Louisiana had to choose between Edwin Edwards and David Duke for governor. Edwards ended up in prison, and Duke degenerated into a staunch racist, touting ignorant ideas one wouldn't fault a Neanderthal for entertaining.
We've certainly come a long way from that. No longer must we chose between the political equivalent of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. We are ushering in an era of diversity, and naturally, along will come a better quality of candidate as more and more people get involved.
Such victories as Cao's will brighten our future, as up-and-coming candidates won't have to second guess themselves just because they don't happen to fit the mold of the candidate of yesteryear. Now a wide variety of people who have the desire and ability to serve will be able to not only throw their hat into the ring, but also stand a chance at winning.
The people have spoken, and they've done it through the American way. We went to the voting booth and said we want the best person for the job.
What could be wrong with that?
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