Why Asians Don’t Always Vote for Barry Wong

Raise your fist in the air and scream it with me now: “BARRY WO-O-O-O-ONG!!!”

Here’s my latest post over at Change.org:

Why Asians Don’t Always Vote for Barry Wong

Are you asking yourself: who the heck is Barry Wong? My friend asked himself the same thing the other day while we were driving, and I — for no apparent reason — gripped the steering wheel with both hands and screamed the name “Barry WO-O-O-NG” at the top of my lungs. My friend nearly jumped out of the car in surprise.

Across the country, elections are just around the corner, and that means one thing: it’s campaign sign season. Here in Tucson, these signs touting the names of candidates like Barry Wong grace almost every street corner, sprouting like multi-colored weeds from the fertile sand of abandoned lots, construction sites and traffic medians.

In a state where Asian-Americans represent less than 3% of the population, it often feels like I’m the only Asian American in a two-mile radius. For that reason, I feel an electric thrill whenever I see a Barry Wong sign. Barry Wong was, and is, the only Asian-American in Arizona state politics, and he is running for re-election this year for Arizona Corporation Commission. (Don’t know what the the Committee does? Don’t worry — neither do most Arizona voters.) Nowadays, it’s a ritual for me to scream out my “support” for Barry Wong every time I pass one of his campaign signs — in part because they are hilariously over-sized, and in part because I feel a sense of pride and kinship seeing a fellow Asian-American run for office out here in crazy, crazy Arizona.

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