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Koji's Column

An Asian American President?

This year’s presidential election is exciting because for the first time in our history, a woman or a person of color has a real shot of being President of the United States. I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime. All of this excitement has got me thinking: Could an Asian American ever become president?

The cynical (smart money) answer is no. I think to the vast majority of people in the United States, Asian Americans are still martial arts experts, geishas, good at math, hard working, dragon ladies, nerds who like to lust after blond-haired blue-eyed beauty queens.

The hopeful (long shot) answer is a maybe. The caveat is of course the right candidate at the right time with the right look and with the right message. In other words, think Barack Obama but with an Asian American surname.

I have put together a list of current Asian American politicians that I have singled out as folks to keep an eye on that I would actually vote for. Maybe, just maybe, one of them will be running for president soon.

First on my illustrious list is Gary Locke, former Governor of Washington. But according to his Wikipedia page, Mr. Locke “in 2007, declined a bid for the office of President of the United States.”

Okay, that’s the entire list I could come up with. Everyone else is too old or too young or hasn’t held a high enough position in government yet. When I did a Google search on Asian American politicians, most of the names I found were people who weren’t even born in this country and therefore are not eligible to run for president.

This is depressing. I was hoping to discover a possible candidate that I hadn’t known about. Someone I could get behind and keep my fingers crossed for. Instead, this is just confirmation that I need to run for President in 2012. I am relatively handsome (at least my mom and wife think so!), with an above average intelligence (six years of Kumon!), a winning personality (ask anyone!), and best of all: Asian American. I have four years to prepare. Can I count on your vote?

© 2008 Koji Steven Sakai

About this series

“Koji’s Column” is a column series contributed by Japanese American National Museum staff member, Koji Steven Sakai. His column explores Nikkei identity and culture from the standpoint of a second- and fourth-generation Japanese Americana American male from Southern California.