My Immigrant Parents' Response to the Trump Administration

Trump’s Presidency has softened the hard heart of my immigrant parents. I’ll explain.

My parents have never been the type to be very involved in politics.

When it came to environmental protection, they would deny climate change with the fact that the skies are still as blue as the day they immigrated to America.

When it came to the homeless, they would look down on them, saying that are too lazy to work for their own being. Of course, being immigrants from a warring country, they find it hard to believe that their unfortunate situation was because of the government.

Only when it had affected their daily life, like rising gas prices and L.A. traffic, would they share their distaste of the government and how “it’s all Obama’s fault”. With what little knowledge they know of how the American government works, it was only natural for me to silently sit back and listen to what they have to say instead of trying to start a firey political argument. As strongly as I felt about these matters, I made sure to keep my opinions to myself. To simply put it, I would otherwise be fighting a losing battle.

I want to give some background on my parent’s immigration story. Both of my parents were children of the Vietnam war; at the young age of 17 and 19, they risked everything they had to escape the Communist government that was slowly taking over their country. They rebuilt their lives on the little English they knew in a foreign land. Unsurprisingly, their conception of the way the world works became very conservative over time. That age-old idea that the glorious “American Dream” is achievable through hard work, is ingrained into the minds of my parents. In other words, they believe those who are successful have earned it through hard work and those who are not, deserve it because of their incompetence.

I thought that I would never be able to adequately explain to them that times have changed dramatically since the 70’s and that the “American Dream” no longer applies to 21st century America. Luckily, Trump has done it for me-- by basing his entire candidacy on that same cruel concept. That selfish concept that my parents saw no fault in, suddenly became extremely real and wrong.

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When my dad asked me what I thought of the Trump administration, I was taken aback. I knew that he was concerned and wanted to hear what I had to say, but hearing someone who has had much more political warfare experience asking for my opinion seemed ironic. This was a first. In short, I explained to him that the future was very bleak for young adults like me-- especially on the topics of environmental protection, immigration and warfare. After a prolonged silence, I expected my dad to refute back with the same “the sky's still blue” arguement. His response was unexpected, yet understandable. He asked me, "what should we do now?" And for the first time, I could not think of a way to answer my dad.

For many immigrant families today, the question is clear,-- “what do we do now?”  There are many things that we can do: we can protest, we can get involved in politics through grassroot campaigns, and we can have our voices heard. We should not give up. But then it boils down to the question of, "will it work?"  I'd hate to say it but, I honestly don't know.