The Asian-American Romance with Obama

iywLGqBQdsEAIt is perplexing to me that so many in my Asian American community remain enchanted with President Obama. What is it about him that they find so glamorous and appealing?

Perhaps it’s that “chip on the shoulder” feeling that many Asian Americans have, thinking they still do not quite fit in and that it’s the same with Mr. Obama. Subconsciously, they may relate to Obama as the non-conventional son of an immigrant, and think of him as an underdog, someone they need to cheer on.

Meanwhile, we all watch the media glorify Obama and his family with their non-stop parties, living the rock-star life, full of material wealth and goods.  This former nobody is now hob knobbing it with the rich and famous, playing golf with Tiger, and while lying to our faces he uses his charisma to slyly manipulate the waves of race to get what he wants.  Forget about the real issues.  On to more important things:  Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, Ireland, Africa and Spain, with pit stops in between to tell us, the American public, that the GOP politicians on the hill need to work with him to pass pertinent issues and not concentrate on gossip or “phony scandals”.  His words are especially difficult to swallow, considering this is a president who spends 1.4 billion of taxpayer money per year, purportedly 20 times more then the British Royalty.  (But as one has heard, the British Royalty is an antiquated old system so they don’t need to spend that much.)  It’s the pauper getting ahead of the King and now wearing the Emperor’s new clothes!  Who doesn’t love that story?

The majority of Asian American voters are financially stable, better educated, many running small businesses and up to 43% polled said that they veer Republican.  You would think this would have had some impact in the last election.  Unfortunately, according to polls, they did.  73 percent of registered Asian Americans voted for President Obama in 2012.

So why are they voting for Obama and voting for Democrats?  The excuses I hear are as follows:

“I’m a Republican but I really hated Bush.”

“He is a minority and he will understand us.”

“He was raised in Indonesia so he is part Asian.”

“He’s not really black.”

“He’s so handsome!”

I understand what the perception is.  All the other platforms such as immigration, education, and health care are not why they voted Democrat, because even the small business owners voted for this man. It was the perception that he would be able to enhance the popularity of the Asian American Communities through his Presidency and possibly more appointments within this minority group.  Indeed, Mr. Obama’s campaign was sleek but simple:  knock on their doors, ask for their vote, and give them a smile and a hug.  The Obama administration was able to acknowledge that this group is important; the GOP did not.

Since 1996, the Asian American vote grew 128 percent and they are the fastest growing racial minority in the U.S. according to Census Bureau data.  Although they only make up about 3 percent of the overall vote, the heavy populations of these voters in major cities and hubs make them a powerful swing vote for local and state elections.  What an attractive vote to maximize political gain in those areas.

So what have the Asian Americans gained?  The July 23rd headline in the Washington Post read, Asian American lawmakers to press Obama on diversity in administration.

Asian Americans love the finer things in life and I can say, as an Asian, we hate being wrong and are stubbornly prideful. I see my fellow Asian American citizens holding strong to their foggy belief that Obama is the man who can do no wrong and isn’t any worse then any of our worst Presidents.  What they don’t seem to see are the present- day scenarios:  recession, sequestration, Benghazi, IRS scandals, Department of State scandals, money being sent to terrorist organizations and more.  And almost every time something important arises, Mr. Obama and family head off to a beautiful vacation resort thus unavailable for comment.

When Mr. Obama won the Presidency in 2008, I admit I was hoping and dreaming that he might actually make some of the changes he promised, including change for the better for immigrant American communities and other minority communities. Perhaps because he won on the platform of race relations, there might be more cohesiveness on the subject and perhaps bridges would be built.  Unfortunately I have not seen nor do I ever see it coming.  On the contrary, what I have seen is Obama continuously putting his foot in his mouth, aggravating and dividing this country further and further.

So again my question is, what has Obama done that causes even the most educated and well-off Asians to continue supporting him?  My hope is that after all of the posturing and promises of more positions and more appointments to get their votes, perhaps the Asian community will finally start to see that this man is not looking at diversifying.  Nothing has been gained—unless, of course, you were a major donor and/or fundraiser….

Jin Ah Jin

Virginia PolitiChick Jin Ah Jin has been the lead in campaigns for many politicians, including Ken Cuccinelli for both State Senate and Attorney General and she was appointed the Honorary Chairman for the Fairfax County Asian American Coalition for the McCain/ Palin campaign. Jin also assists in local minority grassroots politics in her state of Virginia. She believes if we can elect and support good officials whose root is the care of their constituents, then we can change things. In her past, Jin worked as a volunteer fundraiser for Mercy Corps raising awareness and money for the health and poverty of women and children in North Korea. She was also a volunteer fundraiser for the Korean American Association of Greater Washington, D.C. area and led the Education Committee to teach English for newly arrived legal immigrants to the area. In conjunction, she worked with the office of former Congressman Thomas Davis, who took the lead on reforms in the welfare bill for legal immigrants. Jin was a former Vice President of Resources, board member and Fundraising Gala chair for the Korean American Coalition of Washington, D.C. in 2001. She was on the Scholarship Committee and the co-chair of the golf tournament fundraiser for the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce 2003-2006. More importantly, Jin is the mother of 6 children. She says her passion for service is led through her children's eyes: "I want change for my children. I want them to have a future where their dreams can become reality and where they can succeed without prejudice."

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