RABBIT RAMBLINGS: Making America hate again

bioline_Chizu OmoriI guess you could say that we’re living through interesting times, with so much going on on so many different fronts. I never thought I would live to see our country so roiled, so buffeted by so many conflicts that our very foundations seem to be threatened. One aspect of democracy with the one person, one vote philosophy was the danger that we, all of the people of the U.S., could vote in a president that would undercut many of our institutions, flout so many of the understood rules of governance to the point where the whole world feels destabilized.

I am particularly incensed at our president’s cancelling the DACA program. It makes no sense. It doesn’t bring him more allies, and I wonder if it even pleases his base. In fact, it reinforces the feeling that this president wants to enhance hostilities between the whites and the non-whites in the country. We non-whites have all experienced situations where our skin color and national origin had a negative impact on our lives, and we were made aware of the fact that, indeed, we are minority persons in this country.

There are vast areas in the U.S. where the population is almost totally white, and their experience is living with others who look like themselves and who share a history almost devoid of non-whites except for Native American reservations. You would think that watching television, seeing movies and reading newspapers and books would make them aware that there are lots of Americans who look different and have different histories. Maybe as soldiers they served in various areas in the world, and have met and interacted with all kinds of people. Still, it seems difficult for them to accept the idea encoded in our laws and Constitution that we are all supposedly equal before the law and in our lives.

There is so much hypocrisy in the DACA situation. American business has depended on undocumented immigrants for a long time, needing them to keep agriculture going, poultry and meat packing businesses processing chicken and meat, in construction, and people have used undocumented immigrants to do child care, housework, gardening, dishwashing in restaurants, etc. So, the government in the past generally looked the other way concerning immigration. I know because I grew up in a farming community in Southern California that assumed that this labor would be available.
Immigration has been the life blood of growing an economy. The demographics show that societies that don’t allow for new blood stagnate and slowly decline. Japan is the prime example.

I believe that we need to create a path to citizenship for these people who have been doing the hard, dirty work in our communities for so long. And, I would like to form coalitions of us non-whites to fight against these forces that would like to make us feel that we are not American and don’t deserve a chance to live decent lives in this country. If it comes down to a power struggle, which it is, then whites will have to accept the fact that they are going to be a minority group in the near future and should share power. It doesn’t have to be an us versus them mentality. As a nation, we are rich enough to allow decent lives for almost everybody, and why that isn’t understood is a crying shame.

There’s a wonderful cartoon by Edward Sorel, which is appearing in the latest New Yorker magazine. It shows former presidential aide Steve Bannon holding a sign that reads, “Make America Hate Again.”

That’s what we seem to be coming to.

Chizu Omori, of Oakland, is co-producer of the award-winning film “Rabbit in the Moon.” She can be reached at chizuomori@gmail.com. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

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