Hmong Leadership Continued to Stumble
Dr. Christopher T. Vang
Hmong Americans are waiting for the new leaders with great desperation. Their hopes and dreams seem to be diminishing as their memories of the last great Hmong leader is fading away slowly. Perhaps, the uncertainty could be overcome soon.
In the meantime, many Hmong Americans are wondering about all the public propagandas involving Hmong leadership movement in the US. Nowadays, there are many groups with sound, strange, new, and malicious ideas. The overall concerns are bogged down to this question: What group seems to have the right vision, mission, and leadership for Hmong Americans? Perhaps, they all have, depending on what one likes to see; however, how sustainable are these groups? Who knows, and only time will tell.
Several groups of organized individuals have emerged over the years and have put together their public and political agendas to court Hmong community to try to revitalize the lost leadership left behind by General Vang Pao. However, so far, no group is able to demystify all the misperceptions and confusions involving the cultural warfare in the Hmong-American community. The process of rejuvenation is stalling, leading toward a parody of leadership.
Public mystification involves old politics and old mindsets of Hmong tribal philosophies. For the most part, these groups are pretty much familial-oriented, not public-based approach and community-driven effort. In other words, they promote themselves to be self-made leaders since they are educated, rich, self-sufficient, and individualized-driven to fulfill their self-actualization. With these mindsets, they seem to stumble along the way and relegate to the century-old politics that has scarred Hmong leadership for years. In other words, these individuals need to have familial politics detoxification; otherwise, they have not changed themselves from the inside out.
Searching for the lost leadership left behind by General Vang Pao is not going to be that easy as these groups have initially pondered ever since his death. Hmong Americans’ dreams and hopes have been shattered over and over again because of all the broker promises, mistreatments, foolishnesses, and ill-wills caused by the so-called leaders who lack the necessity of leadership capacity to help reorganize the leadership for Hmong people. In other words, the vast majority of today’s problems involve the ongoing conflicts and infightings of Hmong leaders who cannot compromise their individual differences. For instance, the lawsuits filed in Fresno, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and elsewhere have a lot to do with personal greed, corruption, irregularity in policy and procedure, and social envy. Most importantly, most Hmong leaders today are so dishonest.
For years these tribal conflicts reveal how the familial-political blood in the Hmong community is heavily soaked with toxins and vindictive menaces. The new groups need to overcome these travesties by reframing their visions in searching for the democratic leadership that embodies the last Hmong leader’s proposition to end cultural corruption, bribe, dishonesty, and treason. Otherwise, Hmong leadership is still far away from reach.
Moreover, these insipient groups have some new ideas; however, their mindsets and hearts are not different from the previous leaders who are now inactive in public life. With respect to their diligent efforts, it is obvious to acknowledge that most of these individuals are not passionate enough to show their love, caring, and support for the Hmong community. They are driven by their familial agenda to fulfill their personal quest without considering what is best for the greater good of the people as a whole. For instance, no doubt in mind that they are somewhat committed, but the content of their character and leadership still lacks democracy, equality, and gender roles. Even if these individuals are considered to be westernized leaders, their mindsets, hearts, and attitudes are truly century-old platitudes with boastful mentality. At least they have to consider changing themselves internally and spiritually before trying to change the Hmong community.
So far, these propagandas appear to be cultural debacles, unless these groups take the time to rethink what they can do best together for the Hmong community as a whole rather than concocting a hidden agenda to fool the public for support. Hmong community does not have to relive the diabolical life in which the leaders make all the decisions without following written policies and procedures, or without considering different aspects of life, especially for not having shared and respectful governance.
Lastly, these groups must show respect for one another if they should wish to see leadership in the Hmong community. Let’s say that no group is perfect, or no group has had all the right ideas. As far as the public is concerned, all groups are playing familial politics to sabotage one another along the way, and these tribal exploitative initiatives have stalled the development of Hmong leadership. Remember, what the public is waiting for is to see someone who has a honest-kind-loving heart that will not dupe Hmong way of life again.