By Perly Viasmensky
According to the editorial of the Review-Journal, August 12, 2021, “Nye County Commissioner Donna Cox’s recent rant against Governor Steve Sisolak’s wife can’t be forgiven as merely quirky or off-center.
It was inappropriate, inexcusable and xenophobic.”
The whole episode came from Ms. Cox saying that Mr. Sisolak’s wife is Chinese. The definition of Xenophobia, which is the latest word in the media to describe racism, is the exhibited hatred of foreigners, and/or people from different cultures. I don’t believe there is any racism, “xenophobia,” and/or lack of respect, in saying that Mrs. Sisolak is Chinese, because in fact, she is a descendant of her Chinese forebears.
The RJ editorial finishes: “Ms. Cox’s comments were just plain dumb and hurtful. She owes the governor and his wife an apology.” For what? I ask. For saying that Mrs. Sisolak is Chinese? Is Mrs. Sisolak embarrassed because of her race?
In last week’s Las Vegas Tribune, Ed Uehling, in response to an article published by John L. Smith, wrote: “John, you appear to believe that the governor’s wife arranges low-cost financing of billions of dollars in public ‘projects.’” In fact, she was given the job last Tuesday (August 3) of hitting up Wall Street bond buyers for Three Hundred Fifty million dollars so the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) can cover up its annual operating losses: “The combination of Wall Street being awash with the earnings of future generations and Mrs. Sisolak’s (Ms. Ong on paper) incomparable skill at negotiating interest rates should produce record results. But will she tell Wall Street what the money is really being used for? Will she tell us how much she will collect in commissions? Is it coincidence that a former head of both SNWA and LVVWD was Mr. Sisolak himself and
that during that time he did nothing to cure the endemic corruption and waste of SNWA/LVVWD? The awarding, last month, to Mrs. Sisolak’s firm, 6-year contracts of $150,000/year by LVVWD and $250,000/year by SNWA are not atypical in the environment he created. Do you, John, support this bald-faced $2.4 million stretch of Governor Sisolak’s influence far beyond his one term in office? Bad as the above picture is, it barely scratches the surface of the abuses of the public by our two water agencies.”
In my most humble opinion Mr. Uehling’s comments were not very flattering for Mrs. Sisolak when he wonders if Mrs. Sisolak will tell us how much she will collect in commissions from the money coming out from Wall Street and that the bail-out money will not used for a new water public projects.
Apparently, Mr. Uehling contradicted himself from one moment to another because in a conversation, which I perceived as very offensive, and in defense of Mrs. Sisolak, he said that Mrs. Sisolak is much more American than I am.
Really? What makes Mrs. Sisolak more American than me? Because she is embarrassed to be called Chinese, as her father was, and expects everybody to apologize to her?
I am very proud to be an American, but I am also extremely proud of my nationality and that of my ancestors. My parents, grand-parents, and great grand-parents were all from Spain. On my father’s side of the family, everyone came from the old country and I am especially proud of our Basque origin, our food, dances, and dialect. Basque culture has been a part of Nevada since the 1800s, and its impacts can be seen throughout Northern Nevada.
What Mr. Ed Uehling doesn’t know is that I was born on international waters, which makes me as American as Ms. Ong or Mrs. Sisolak. It also makes me Chinese, even if I don’t have almond eyes, and it doesn’t make me better than anyone else and I don’t expect apologies from anyone.
Apparently, Mrs. Sisolak is the only person who is not proud of her ancestors. Italians are extremely proud of their origin; Jews never denied their Jewish faith; my dentist who happens to be Chinese is very proud of the land of her parents; and I am very proud of my ancestors. Is Mrs. Sisolak ashamed of her origins?
Another fact that Mrs. Sisolak cannot be more American than I am is that I am an American and a proud Republican.
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at email@example.com