A Republican paid homage to Captain America to send a powerful message.

The first time Lan Diep ran for San Jose City Council, he says, he lost by 13 votes. The next time around, he won by 12.

All photos via Lan Diep, used with permission.

Diep, who is the son of Vietnamese political refugees and a Republican, is used to things not coming easy. He spent years as a civil legal aid, fighting back-breaking cases for little payout, and battling on behalf of low-income workers with the Vietnamese American Workers' Rights Project.


So when he finally earned a seat on the city council, he had more on his mind than doing the Republican Party proud.

He was there to represent everyday Americans.

Before attending his first council meeting, Diep took the oath of the office. He brought a special prop with him to symbolize his mission: Captain America's shield.

The clip of Diep, who is a self-proclaimed comic book nerd, being sworn in while holding the shield of Captain America went viral and has made its way far beyond the city limits of San Jose, California.

In it, he vows to defend the U.S. Constitution and to protect its people from "enemies, both foreign and domestic."

His peers grin in the background, and as the swearing-in comes to a close, the room erupts in applause.

Diep held the shield proudly while taking the oath.

While Diep mostly brought the shield to create a lighthearted moment, he admits that as a hero, Captain America is deeply meaningful to him.

"Captain America is a guy from World War II living in the modern world. He has this set of morals and beliefs that he believes represents the heart of America," Diep says — things like justice, equality, and fair play. "He doesn't serve any administration or president."

It's no secret that many of today's GOP leaders are failing miserably at the simple promises they've all, like Diep, sworn to uphold.

Though Diep is a Republican, he doesn't see party affiliation as a part of his job.

"I'm not going to close my eyes and just vote down the ticket," he says. "I'm more concerned about the person holding the office and the temperament of that person to reach out to people who don't agree with them and work together."

Today, it sounds radical. but that's exactly the simple idea America was built on.

When it comes to his own city of San Jose, Diep says there's plenty of work ahead of him.

"There's going to be a lot happening under this administration in terms of immigration," he says. "I look forward to addressing those issues as they arise from the federal level to make sure our residents are safe."

Diep represents the next generation of Republicans. He proves you can believe in smaller government and fiscally conservative policy without being a racist, xenophobic hate-monger.

It may be a low bar to clear, but that's exactly the kind of hero we all need right now.

Watch Lan get sworn in here, using a surprisingly good superhero voice, to boot:

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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