Jason Clayworth published a big feature on Christian Fong in Wednesday’s Des Moines Register. I recommend clicking over to read the whole thing before it disappears into the Register’s pay-to-download archive. Fong’s campaign strategy has always interested me, especially his efforts to sound inclusive while remaining faithful to conservative Republican views on social issues.
I was tempted to write a post here making fun of Fong’s balancing act on gay rights. He told Clayworth that after passing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage,
Iowa lawmakers need to make sure such rights as hospital visitation and estate planning are equal for same-sex couples, he said.
“If a constitutional amendment were passed, it would be irresponsible to throw up our hands and say, ‘We’re done.’ ” Fong said. “There are going to have to be steps that are taken to make sure we treat all Iowans fairly and compassionately. Gay people, too.”
So I’m thinking about how “fair” and “compassionate” it is to let conservatives’ religious views override a minority group’s civil marriage rights, and I’m laughing at Fong’s continuing attempts to advocate for discrimination very respectfully.
And then a sidebar (available only in the print version) stopped me in my tracks:
Christian Fong says he feels a special responsibility as a racial minority candidate.
Growing up, Fong used his middle name, Shun-Bok, given to him by his Chinese father.
When he was considering medical school at the University of Iowa, he was told he should consider going by something other than Shun-Bok because the industry did not need more Asians in medicine.
He’s gone by Christian–his first name–ever since.
That kick in the gut (dressed up as a helpful hint) got me thinking about the mixed messages minorities get from nice, polite Midwesterners.