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Japanese Congressman Leaves Rich Legacy of Accomplishment

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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:05 PM
Original message
Japanese Congressman Leaves Rich Legacy of Accomplishment
<NEW ORLEANS I know with the sudden and untimely passing of Congressman Bob Matsui there will be many discussing his contributions, some by people who were closer to him or knew him better than I. I met him when I was a law student and he was a Sacramento City Councilman, and supported his campaign for Congress in 1978. I worked with him when I was a civil rights lobbyist and served on his campaign staff when he explored a race for the U.S. Senate.

Bob was a highly respected member of Congress. He was a national leader on issues like social security and trade, but he was steadfast in his support of civil rights and programs to protect the poorest and weakest in our society. He explored opportunities for higher office, but it was in the House of Representatives that his greatest talents found expression. He was a leader in Congress supporting issues of free trade and protecting the social security system.

I am sure people like President Clinton and Leader Pelosi will speak to his considerable legislative skill. As a Japanese American and a Sansei (third generation Japanese American), I want to address what he meant to me and my generation in the community.

He was the first of our generation to achieve election to Congress. He grew up in an environment in which Japanese American self-esteem was deeply affected by the imprisonment of our community during World War II. I remember him once describing how he and a friend once talked about how they wished they werent Japanese. That discussion resonated with me. How many of my generation at one time or another confronted the psychological burden of the wrongful incarceration, or the ongoing burden of feeling the need to prove ones Americanism?

He worked with others in Congress to do something about that, with the Supreme Court and U.S. history still holding that the concept of racial suspicion justified wholesale internment. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 did more than any other act since World War II to remove the unjustified mantle of Japanese American guilt and, more importantly than that, sent a message that America could be wrong and was willing to correct that wrong even decades later. That legacy will, I hope, continue to counter the irrational tendency to target those whose ethnic or racial roots coincide with our enemies of the moment, a tendency that runs against our most precious national principles.>

http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?articl...
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Bummer! I hadn't heard about Matsui!
I just heard the other day that Shirley Chisolm had passed and I said .."why do all the Democrats have to go?"
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. wow, i can't believe you didn't hear about it
it was a total shock to most of us. i didn't see the memorial on cspan but many others did and they said it was very nice.

i think Matsui and Chisolm died on the same day, or at least we heard the news on the same day.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. That's why..cause I stayed away from
my computer for awhile and all this went down then..and I never listen to news on the radio or tv.

I know everyone dies but it seems like it's only the good people!
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. yeah, Matsui especially was too young to die
i think he was in his early 60's.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I found this..it tells what Bob Matsui
died from..and he was only 63.

"He had pneumonia, a complication of myelodysplastic disorder, a rare stem cell condition that made him vulnerable to infection. The disorder was diagnosed only months ago.

At his death, Matsui was the third-ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and among the highest-ranking Asian-Americans in House history.

He had been interned in a detention camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II and later pushed through a bill hoping to redress the psychological damage of internees.

In recent years, as the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security, he battled against President Bush's proposal to allow people to direct some of their mandatory Social Security contributions to private retirement accounts."



More at..
http://www.startribune.com/stories/466/5165261.html
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