Dear reader, My original topic for this article was “Best Affordable Sushi Restaurants in LA.” But with recent events, I felt the need to voice my opinion as an APA and as a US citizen.
When it started to become alarmingly clear during Tuesday’s elections that it wouldn’t be Donald Trump stepping up to the podium to concede, but Hilary Clinton, my initial reaction was utter disbelief. I could not wrap my head around the fact that we had elected a xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, uneducated, and hypocritical sexual predator to the most important office in America.
Trump becoming president had always been such an irrelevant issue, something most took as a joke. But Tuesday night, the unthinkable became reality.
It’s shocking and deeply disheartening that for the next four years, this man who is against everything America stands for, our ideals and beliefs that make our country so individualistically great, will be making executive decisions for us all. I’ve never been very invested in politics, but just by having eyes and ears it is clear as day to me that Trump is neither suited nor deserving to be America’s president. Yet he now has the power to bring America back 50 years, with his bigoted anti-LGBT views, disdain for racial minorities, complete lack of respect for women, and inability to take others’ standpoints into consideration.
We are already beginning to see the repercussions of Trump’s ascension to presidency. The racism that so many of us had thought had simmered down is rising back to the surface: fellow Asian American students at USC being called “chinks,” people of color being told to go back home, when to them home is America, Muslim parents telling their children not to wear a hijab, a woman being sexually harassed by a group of boys yelling “Grab her by the pussy!”. My heart aches with pain and anger when I hear of these acts of idiocy, these uneducated imbeciles thinking that their racist acts are suddenly justifiable because of the change in presidency.
But one shed of light I could find from this election was the increased presence of the Asian American community in the electorate. Because of Trump and his ridicule-inducing behaviors, our community has realigned in political allegiance, as more and more of us are identifying as Democrats.
Asian Americans are still a minority in America, but we are the most quickly growing, both politically and economically, out of all others. We still have much to work on, such as our under-representation in Hollywood, but overall we have made so much progress—progress that other minorities have not yet been able to make. Now that we have gained privilege, we must use it to help the less privileged. Protect those that can’t protect themselves. Help those that will be facing consequences of this election much deeper and horrific than ours. Support one another, care for one another, love one another.
Above all, remember that we the people are what matter most. We control our own cultural contexts. We make the difference in the lives of our friends, our neighbors, and our community. We exercised our right to vote, and now we must exercise our right to have a voice. So be brave, speak out, and fight on.
Best, Yunji Lee