NOVEMBER 2002

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Politicians Should Know When to Advance and When to Retreat
From Singtao Daily
October 5,2002

It is certainly wonderful that the Chinese community finds itself more politically active with each passing day. Both Chinese voters and candidates are growing in number. However, in the game of politics, only one contender ultimately triumphs. His or her success requires coalition-building, one of the more important points upon which democratic government rests.

With less than a month to go until elections, we urge that the Chinese candidates of Assembly District 22 form an alliance as quickly as possible. The collective vote will only allow for one victor; let us settle upon one individual for now, and throw our support to another the next time around.

We are well aware of the qualifications of the various candidates. Those who do not stand a chance of being elected at all, yet persist in fighting it out to the end not only meaninglessly exhaust themselves, but also shatter their dreams while wasting precious votes.

Perhaps a few of the candidates believe this to be their last chance at achieving political office, and thus refuse to give up. But if failure is the predicted result of this ‘last chance’, is it truly a meaningful opportunity?

These candidates are among the societal elite – why should they continue to hurt others’ chances without necessarily benefiting themselves?

We Chinese-Americans should take heed of the way politicians in mainstream society behave. This year New York State is electing a new governor. When gubernatorial candidate Cuomo (D) realized that he was falling behind in the polls and had no chance of winning, he decisively withdrew from the race and threw his support to his contender, McCall (D). When city comptroller and mayoral candidate Hevesi lost last year’s Democratic primary, he not only endorsed the victorious Mark Green, but also joined the latter on a fundraising visit to heavily-Chinese Flushing.

An old Buddhist maxim asserts that one is capable of gain only if he is capable of sacrifice. Hevesi proclaimed his support for Green then; now, the Democratic Party is backing his run for state comptroller. Our Chinese candidates should be capable of grasping this example. Their fervor in battling it out until election day is not only distressing to all, but may ultimately cost every one of them any chance of running for office again. Indeed, the tension this race has wrought may rule out the possibility of any cooperation between these candidates in the future, which would be a true loss to the community.

We believe that if any one of them were to pull out from the race right now and direct all of his or her energy towards promoting a fellow candidate, he or she would not only augment the chances of electing a Chinese person to the state assembly and help make New York history, but also relish the gratitude and respect of all Chinese-American voters.

We are waiting for this individual to step forward. Time is of the essence, and he or she should act now.

Translated from Chinese by Kelvin Wu.


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