The prevalent angle that much of the media has been spinning in the presidential election is their stress on the fact that, next year, we will either have a Black president or a female vice president. Either way – isn’t it fantastic how far we’ve come?
Don’t pat yourselves on the back just yet.
The fact of the matter is – even though the demographics of the candidates are, indeed, progressive – our duty as citizens isn’t merely to lazily sit back and remark on it as if we deserve an accolade for finally allowing a minority or a woman into the White House.
Why aren’t more of us voting? Why is American Idol ramming the U.S. general election into the ground in terms of numbers? Why have we come to care more about some talent competition over the future of our country?
This election year comes at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. We are the recent victims of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil. We are in the middle of a controversial war that has divided our country internally. We are still waiting to see the housing market bottom out. We’ve seen citizens attack other citizens based on ignorance and prejudice. We have been struggling with our changing sense of identity in this rapidly modernizing and globalizing world.
Something has to change – voting is the first step. It’s also the easiest.
Many of us are the children of immigrants who escaped to the U.S. because the country they were born in didn’t afford them the same liberties we are taking for granted. Think of all the tragedies they have experienced – think of how bad it had to have been for them to leave their possessions, their families – their lives — to start over in a new country with nothing. To them, the liberties we take for granted are actually meaningful.
Asian Americans are not known for being vocal, and we find excuses to justify this – our English is bad; we don’t know who to vote for (and don’t have the time to research); our votes and voice don’t really matter; voting will bring on jury duty.
Our race is not known for rocking the boat because we are too ashamed of being disrespectful. We are seen as too self-conscious. Too quiet. We’re submissive, and we have no point of view.
And is that really how we want people to see us? ♦