Lately I haven’t been able to sleep. After Women’s March, it seemed like things just kept on getting worse each day.
I immigrated to the US from Taiwan 30+ years ago; back when one couldn’t openly criticize the KMT government. We’ve all heard of stories of someone who knew someone who mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night. I remembered adults whispering in hushed tones when they were dissatisfied with certain policies. Back in the early 80’s, Taiwan was basically a one party country under martial law. The US was a beacon of light for the world.
I became a US citizen in college. I remembered being so proud that day during swearing in: to belong in a country where one feels safe to speak her mind; where anything is possible if one works hard enough.
I want my daughter to feel this freedom and pride about her, my, our, country to eternity.
Now 30+ years later, Taiwan flourished under democracy. People voted in their first Taiwanese female President. People are open-minded and free to criticize the government, though sometimes perhaps too enthusiastically. Citizens of Taiwan are working on legalizing gay marriage. Progress!
And what has become of my adopted motherland, the United States of America? Executive power has grown over recent years, and no president highlights the risk of this increased power than President Trump. We should take actions to maintain the balance of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches that is fundamental to our government. Our Founding Fathers had put in the checks and balances system for a good reason. And what has become of “building a wall of separation between Church & State”, as famously stated in a letter by Thomas Jefferson addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802? That is the kind of wall we need; not a wall between neighboring countries! The First Emperior of China, Qin Shi Huang, had already built The Great Wall of China more than two thousand years ago. Emperial China in isolation has already proven self-destructive.
We need to learn from history. We need to speak out for one another. With the dizzing array of presidential cabinet nominees, conflicts of interests, family ties, financial ties, we are playing whack-a-mole at a lightning speed. It seems as though we are traveling and swapping roles back in time. Whoosh, whoosh!
My Republican mother-in-law said to give The President a chance. She was vehemently against Clinton because of Monica Lewinsky. I did not point out to her that it was Ms. Clinton that was on the ballot; nor did I point out the obvious difference between consensual sex in an unfortunate adultery case versus flagrant sexual assault against innocent beauty contestants and women at large. I let the communication drop, because my heart broke for her. I really hope she will not regret her choice one day. My Republican neighbor said The Donald is going to be able to balance America’s checkbook, “look at his wealth! He’ll know how to fix America.” I now park my car on the other side of the street. For someone to only look at their pocketbook and their bottom line while turning a blind eye to racism, sexism, misogyny, bigotry, and exploitation, that shows me who they are as a family more than what they tell me who they are.
My relatives and friends living in the “Red States” told me how lucky I am that I live in California. “Your senators and your representatives are already working for you!” They are right! I see Kamala Harris on the news, telling listeners her office number and whom to call to help them with the new immigration ban. I see Elizabeth Warren on the news, closely examining the nominees and speaking her mind. I see Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich, Ted Lieu, Tammy Duckworth. I see the millions of women marching around the world just last month! I am profoundly grateful for all those who marched, who protested, who cared. Together we need to speak out for our fundamental human liberty and civil rights!