Our Bowl of Rice

Would you like to know why I became a Democrat and have voted for President Obama?


I recently had the privilege of attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a delegate from Greenwich. 

When people ask why I’m a Democrat, I say that Democratic core values resonate with my heart and mind. 

Growing up in a devout Catholic family in Saigon, compassion, love, respect for the elderly, humility, education, sharing and unwavering faith in God were our core family values. 

Since a very young age, I believed that poverty and ignorance are the worst diseases on earth.  I wanted to devote my life to help people by choosing a career in scientific research and public service, and I believe the Democratic Party is most supportive of those goals.

Having survived centuries of colonialism at the hands of the Chinese and more recently the French,  Vietnamese people have demonstrated tremendous political stamina.  The famous Trung Sisters, perched on elephants, led an army of women and men to push back Chinese invaders in 40 AD. 

The success of our Vietnamese community has spanned from the continuing growth of small business to the prominence of a number of Vietnamese-Americans in arts, business, and sciences.

I have witnessed firsthand how Democratic legislators have fought for "our bowl of rice" in protecting and expanding social programs that provide economic security for millions of Vietnamese families, including seniors, students, and veterans. 

The Democratic Party has created a large tent for Americans from all walks of life.  Its policies of inclusion, social justice, and shared prosperity has allowed minorities to make giant leaps in their education and career growth.

Democrats want to continue fighting for a better quality of life for our community and want to prevent cuts (such as those in the Paul Ryan budget) that would adversely affect our community.

Although there is a perception that Republicans have been more aggressive in targeting the Vietnamese vote, Democrats have been working very hard to earn it.  Recently, Republican intolerance on immigration issues, and attacks on Social Security and Medicare have driven many Vietnamese away from the Republican Party.  The people whom I have helped to register to vote over the years have told me that they found that Democrats have done more for people of color.

I believe that war - causing untold suffering - should be avoided at all costs and only used as the last resort.  That's why I voted for Senator Obama for President in 2008, for his opposition to the War in Iraq and his promise of ending it if elected.  He kept his word in ending the war in Iraq and brought our troops home.  President Obama, Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden have worked tirelessly to help former service members getting training and jobs to ensure that military families have a prosperous life.

I learned a great deal from attending the Convention in Charlotte.  Our dreams, no matter how ambitious, can become reality.  I was fired-up from seeing so many "rags to riches" stories that were accomplished through sheer determination of individual spirit.

I don't have the words to describe the various emotions I felt while attending the Convention.  I cried and laughed, depending on what different speakers said.  One thing I felt for sure was gratitude.  Gratitude to God for having given me the strength to overcome adversity and leading me to the right path.  Gratitude to America for having adopted me into her loving arms and giving me political and economic security.  Gratitude to all my friends and colleagues who have helped me along my life journey.  Gratitude to my grandmother, Huynh thi Sang, and mother, Huynh thi Cuc, who have raised me with absolute binding faith in God and deep inculcation of strong work ethics, compassion and self-sufficiency.

In 2008, I was the Founding Chair of Vietnamese Americans for Obama to conduct voter registration and enlist our community support for Senator Obama.  Blessed with strong will and faith, our Vietnamese community ought to seize the moment to shape our own destiny right here in America.  I strongly urge you to embrace active citizenry and fully exercise your rights at every single election.

Whether  you're Democrat, Independent, or Republican, rich or poor, I urge all my fellow Vietnamese Americans to be engaged in the political process.  Don't consider politics a dirty business.  It's upon all of us to make politics clean and rewarding.  Get involved!

I will entrust my vote to re-elect President Barack Obama on November 6, 2012.  I urge you all to reach into the depth of your heart and ask yourself who has been fighting for your rights.

President Obama and Democrats have been fighting for "our bowl of rice."  It is just not the Vietnamese bowl of rice but the” AMERICAN BOWL OF RICE.”  Let us give them our heart and sweat in reelecting President Obama on November 6.

Dr. Vinh Cam
Greenwich, CT 06831

Dr. Vinh Cam is a former member of the Representative Town Committee, and a member of the Democratic Town Committee.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Margaret Callahan October 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I agree with Madaline. And this blog is a nice reminder of what the party stands for.
leora levy October 13, 2012 at 06:08 AM
With all due respect, you are repeating Democrat talking points that are not based in fact. The GOP is trying to save Social Security and Medicare to prevent them from going bankrupt. Democrats took $716 million from medicare to fund Obamacare; spending more than we take in will bankrupt these programs and our country. The debt we are leaving for our children is immoral. You speak compellingly about G-d, but your party voted 3 times for all the world to see, to cut G-d out of the Democrat Party Platform! Your fellow Democrats have substituted belief in "social justice" for belief in G-d. please see my next reply...
leora levy October 13, 2012 at 06:09 AM
I too am an immigrant to America; it is through my own hard work and self-reliance that I have succeeded, not through government programs or hand-outs. I too was a delegate, but to the Republican Convention. I too was inspired to laugh, to cry and to give thanks for this great country in which we both now live. However I was inspired by peopel like Mia Love, whose family emigrated from Jamaica, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz who like my family came from Cuba and Condoleeza Rice who grew up in the Deep South (as I did) at a time of great prejudice and social upheaval, yet accomplished so much, having reached the highest levels of power in our country. All of us praised and revered our country, our founders, our Constitution and our G-d given freedoms, unlike those speakers I heard in Charlotte who would not recite the pledge of allegiance or say the name of G-d. Sandra Fluke and Debbie Wasserman Schultz who chose to focus on the small issues in order to divide us rather than to inspire our fellow citizens with what unites us. I suggest you give the Republican party a more careful look rather than just buy into the democrat talking points.
Tim Knight October 19, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Splendid blog Vinh. A Republican President would be a disaster for the immigrant communities in America.
michael pope October 20, 2012 at 09:19 AM
what about one of the most important - if not THE most important- LIFE the fact that the democratic party not only has no respect for life beginning at inception, but has become a party that promotes abortion funded by catholic an catholic institutions makes your all your other arguments fall on deaf ears..this is the most important element of our faith and all the other " good", that is done is muted by those policies FYI we could have a debate about that for day, done by providing government largess to the poor poor people who need the government so much to help them to achieve their potential- because i think it hurts not helps - i believe in a woman's right to choose but the dems have taken it to a point that is completely opposite of the catholic church so go ahead and vote anyway u want but you cat claim to be a devout catholic in the purest sense and vote democratic


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