(Specific) Taiwanese American Worries About a Trump Presidency

I want to clarify something for those people who wondering about my unending rage and fear about the election, as if it needed to be substantiated further.

Not Black, Muslim, Latino, or LGBT, why you so angry and worried Bessie? Just so upset over an authoritarian danger to our country built on hate? An unqualified sexual predator beating out the most qualified woman in history, who actually did win?

Well there is one more wrinkle, I’m Taiwanese-American.

Taiwan is a functioning vibrant democracy, an island off the coast of China, one that is in fact a few legislative sessions away from legalizing Gay Marriage and a female President. Irony.

Keep Taiwan Free protest in NYC. Image from here.

Taiwan really only exists as not subjugated by China, although China constantly threatens us, because of post WW2-era Defense Agreements with the US, they don’t take the next step. Taiwan was known as “Free China,” though its people were hardly free, and used as a staging ground in the Vietnam War by the United States.

Taiwan became something else than the People’s Republic of China, aka China, after the remnants of the Kuomingtang or Nationalist government lost the Chinese Civil War, went there and took over, and after decades of struggle against that authoritarian rule, Taiwan is a liberal democracy that in many ways resembles the Nordics. This is a long complex history here that I’m trying to shorten into a few sentences.

Taiwanese Students protesting. Taken from here.

If Trump scales down US obligations in Asia, as he’s threatened to, we could cease to exist as a people. China would come and subjugate us, and that is exactly as horrifying as it sounds.

And that is my flesh and blood, and despite all my Americanness — I was born and raised in LA and am now a proud NYC resident, blood is thick- Taiwan is my friends and family, everything I came from. So maybe there is an added wrinkle in my fear, because it’s two nations that I’m fearing and fighting for now.

So don’t quote from Hillbilly Elegy and expect me to pull empathy from my heart after what they did.

I’ve heard a lot from immigrant like like me stock mock them these “White Working Class folk” (this is a false profiling of the Trump vote by the way, which would not have been won with the support of well-off White people and that ignoring non-Working class White people did not do the same) in frustration (now you know) and anger at their racism and willingness to act on it.

“They got beaten out by people who crossed oceans and deserts, some with no money and no English, who managed to carve out their American dreams.”

And now they could threaten those we left behind in the old country too? Can you blame me for being being like, fuck that and fuck them? The only reason why I’d advocate for policies to help them is insurance to pacify them so they don’t ruin everything.

So now you know.

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Why the debates don’t matter

I can’t help but be cynical and think the debates won’t end up mattering too much. Those of us people living on the prosperous edges of the country along the Acela corridor or California coast have too much faith in that facts and reason are convincing when they are not important to a lot of people. We also underestimate the narcissism of those voters on the left who’d rather risk the republic than vote for Clinton because they believe she’s just the lesser of two evils.

Note this is not factually true, but it doesn’t matter.

Tribalism and fear usually win out. Nice coastal liberals are usually shit in a fight and haven’t woken up that hardcore Trump supporters are a danger and need to be stopped with our votes and will. There’s no convincing of deplorable people. Their poverty and lost of an imagined past is no excuse. There’s no demographic blue wall and the belief that things will turn out okay and that your fellow citizens are smarter than that been has proven wrong over and over again in history and of late, look at what’s happened to the UK and Philippines.

You can call it the remnants of third world survivalism or being hood or whatever signifier you want, but I haven’t had enough cycles of generational safety and prosperity in my story to let my guard down and be complacent of such things. To realize that people will be violent bullies because bystanders do nothing. That such instability is a possible cycle of ruin that can spread like a virus.

You ever wonder why gun control can’t be solved? Because you have a fragmented coalition of people who otherwise outnumber those who won’t give an inch, but those devotees are united in an identity and narrative that no amount of facts or policy vision will convince. Only a more determined and united coalition can stop them. One cohesive identity group of only a sub-sect of gun owners continues to nullify lives in this country because they are one narrative and one voice versus a large vague cacophony of appalled people.

Clinton’s fragile coalition of American others have no binding narrative, nothing close to the Hope message of Obama or even Bush’s folksy everyman cloth. This has been the failure of the campaign, to confuse policy and facts with a binding narrative against a fascist mad man who has precisely that.

People like me care about policy points, facts, and numbers. The rest of this country, whether you think it is okay or not, needs a narrative of a villain and a hero. A national culture to believe in and to belong to. Only one candidate is offering that, and he’s offering it to people who would at best consider my existence as stealing their job and at worse who cheer on George Zimmerman. A page out of a very old playbook as America plays out its remix of Weimar Germany.

Some people are uncomfortable with calling so much of the country deplorable. I’m sure some of these people would be polite to me on the road and aren’t bloodthirsty racists in the put on a pointy white hat sense. I don’t question that some people supporting Trump as an expression of valid grievances with the government, in the way that even non-White Britons voted for the Brexit because of real unhappiness with the EU outside of immigration policy. However, going along with racists to get your piece on the agenda is the definition of complicity.

Those of us the other side, people who aren’t interested in voting, you are even more complicit. There’s a material threat here to fight. I use to like to say, at the end of the day this election isn’t really about you and me, it’s about the vulnerable. Not people like us who go to the farmers market to buy organic on weekends. I would actually venture to say I’m wrong, and he and his supporters are a material threat to all of us. History’s worst atrocities happened because of a determine and united group, even if smaller than the others, with a sense of aggrievement, false victimhood, and people to blame.

Give your money. Give your time. Go vote. Don’t give me some bullshit about living in a non-swing state, do you not realize there are other items on the ballet that can actually affect your life more than the the president? Get it together America.

PS: Also, maybe unlike a lot of you, I know what my life could be like if I wasn’t American. Maybe the American dream is more out-of-reach than it use to be, but there’s a reason why immigrants come here, want to become American, and succeed beyond our wildest dreams. If you don’t like how things are going, do something other than wax poetic about “not compromising for the revolution.” That is some bullshit excuse to avoid the hard work if what it actually takes to make change and you know it.

Trump’s ‘Losers’ of Capitalism Army

Some scary as shit from NYTimes: Voices From Donald Trump’s Supporters Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 12.16.40 AM.png

I have to wonder if there is some dark side of capitalism and structural change when mixed with an entitled group if people fall behind. The unsympathetic side of me would say these racist losers who probably have no skills for the 21st century deserve to be poor and forgotten. After all, isn’t our system supposed to reward those who work hardest (in theory)? If people can cross oceans and deserts and care out better lives than them, why the fuck should I give a shit about them? Full disclaimer if you couldn’t tell already from the blog title, I’m an Asian person. I could make the argument I probably pay tons of taxes for their welfare and they probably hate seeing someone like me living a much better life than them or god forbid a Black president who was the son of an immigrant. But then the on the flipside, they literally are a flaming trash fire of danger to everyone including themselves. I also generally believe in alleviating the suffering of the downtrodden, if not to just to save my own skin with keeping society stable.

The United States is hardly the first country to have seen a middle class get gutted because of mechanization, globalism, and other structural changes. I have to wonder though if the natural conclusion and human nature is to blaming other people and turn against each other when you live in a diverse society. It’s not as if middle class people in other developed countries haven’t started facing salary crunches long before the United States did, but it spurred renaissance of small businesses and people finding other ways to live, even if obviously is not ideal (I’m thinking particularly of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong here) and cope. In the West, we have resurgent xenophobia, racism, and the strange economic and political self-immolation with actions such as the Brexit and supporting an unstable demagogue. Once you get entitled people in a frenzy, fearful, and desperate, they’ll believe anything someone says. Also, while these people aren’t anyway near a majority of the country, it’s not as if vengeful and prejudiced minority groups haven’t exercised tyranny over entire countries for significant and devastating periods of time (the Serbs in the Balkan wars, White South Africans, upper classes in South America, the KMT-in-exile in Taiwan, colonialism the world over). Unfortunately, generally educated peace-loving cosmopolitan people are shit in a fight and slow to wake up and stand up to barbarism. Just saying.

Thoughts on Sadiq versus Trump and the rise of ‘Others’ in the West

I’m a little late to this party, but it seems that the Western world is facing a reckoning, will it let the the people imported for essentially subordinate labor rise in meritocracy? Are people willing to face reality, history, and an integrated future as equals?

It’s easy to imagine London, possibly the most cosmopolitan and global of cities electing Sadiq Khan (sorry New York). It’s harder to imagine the masses of Europe or the United States be nearly as accepting (maybe Canada?).

A particular proclivity of these multicultural countries is joyfully celebrating token celebrities and successes, yay enjoying Beyonce and Barack on TV, cheer on Mario Balotelli and Zidane Zidane, but secretly hating accountability for history and non-White male superiors and ideologies that don’t place past practices and power as supreme.

In the United States, our reckoning has come. It’s everything from Black Lives Matter to the Bernie Bros.  We’re at a strange moment in history, White anxiety and racism versus the cacophonous rise of ‘the other America’ and everything in between. (See the disconnect between those thinking minorities wanting token unmerited representation versus those of us who are sick of seeing our talent and work denied in favor of upholding White mediocrity). It’s going to be a rough one.