RABBIT RAMBLINGS: A wake up call


bioline_Chizu OmoriUncertainty is an uncomfortable emotion and state of existing, and we’re living through such times, what with the outcome of the elections. But we have to go on living and going about our business in our usual ways. What were we thankful for at Thanksgiving time? The bountiful tables and cheery dinners were as good as usual, and it was nice to be with friends and loved ones. And still, it wasn’t as cheery as it could have been, since we now face four years with a president that many have called unfit to hold the office. We are in for Orwellian times, where “fake news” and tweets pollute the atmosphere and make it hard to know what, exactly, is going on. I’m sort of a political junky, but there isn’t much joy in following the news these days.

I still find it hard to believe that so many Americans could have voted for this unprincipled, vindictive, mean-spirited man, who seems to be so totally uninterested in anything but his own self interests. I can only conclude that their hatred of Hillary Clinton was so great that it didn’t matter who was running against her, that anyone was better than Clinton. Over the years, there has been a steady campaign to discredit her and her family. She has her flaws, but in the big picture, she seemed very qualified for the office, one who could take on the complexities of world affairs with years of experience on her resume.

The person who was running against her happened to be a celebrity, a television personality who had been in the public eye forever. There is so much about this election that is so upsetting, that it is hard to know what to think. It makes me worried about our country and our institutions. One friend told me that he is losing hope in America, and that we are just going backwards. He happens to be an African American, and as a non-white person myself, I had to think that he has good reason for this pessimism.

We know that Clinton won the popular vote by more two than million, and that there are questions about the vote count in multiple states. Voter suppression is a real issue, and it is getting harder for many people to vote. Our democracy is being tested on so many levels. Already, expressions of racial and ethnic hatred are on the rise, and it would seem that President-elect Donald Trump has made it OK, acceptable even, to scrawl hateful graffiti, yell out the epithets, and to look upon targeted groups as outsiders who don’t deserve to be treated as fellow Americans.

So, it was heartening to go to the rally in San Francisco’s Japantown Nov. 22 to join with others in expressing our solidarity with those who might be targeted by the coming administration for scrutiny, harassment and possible deportation. We in the Asian American community know how it feels to be a target population. We know what can happen to people when they are singled out as members of a group that are vulnerable for reasons of ancestry, skin color and religion. Some dynamic speakers gave voice to these concerns and pledged to stand together to fight any and all attempts to curtail the rights of minority groups. Particularly gratifying was the participation of some young people who understood the stakes and are prepared to take leadership roles.

What a wake up call. We all need to take politics more seriously. This election showed that people can be easily swayed by a showman who knew how to appeal to the fear and anger of some and a simplistic promise to “make America great again.” We know what that means. It means to “make America white again.”

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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