Do We Make a Difference?
In life we encounter many injustices. Some of us ask the
question, “Do we do something about it or not?” The general response is that
we CAN do something about it. However, we will let the next individual do
something about the injustices because WE are too busy. So, this cycle of
wanting to make a difference and not doing much about it continues.
At what point do we personally take action? What moves us
to make a difference? Does it have to be some momentous experience? Or can it be
waking up one day and telling ourselves, “I’m going to make the world a
better place today by at least one conscious action of making the world a better
place to live!”
Do We Care about Politics?
Chances are most people don’t care about politics. Asked if they care about issues, a different response is
given. This is definitely the case with women I think, at least according to a
survey at iVillage.com.
Since we don’t care about politics but we do care about issues, what issue is important enough to you that you are willing to do something about it?
Who Makes the Decision for YOU?
The other night I placed a phone call to invite some constituents of the district to a house meeting to meet
a candidate running for Congress. I asked the person if she was available to attend. She answered in the negative.
I asked her if she supported the candidate. She paused, hesitated and responded with “I have to talk to my husband.
He makes those decisions."
To say the least, I was aghast at this response. The woman was in her 40’s according to the call sheet
that from which I was making the calls to invite people to this house meeting. How is it that a woman in this new
century has to ask her husband to tell her how to vote? What ever happened to equality and Women's Rights?
Did this end when the calendar reset to double zeros? As a man, I must protest that some people still think in this
manner. I do not believe that anyone should ask someone else how they should vote. It is one thing to be informed.
It is completely another matter to base one’s decision on another’s. Who makes the decision for YOU?
Can We Make a Difference?
It is important for our Vietnamese American community to get as many people
involved as possible, in any capacity that is possible. I've been living
by a harsh reality, "Don't complain if you're not involved". (It's
actually don't bitch if you don't do anything about it; however, I thought I
should tone it down a bit). In order for us to have the right to complain,
we have to do something about it.
The American way of life is a unique one. There are indeed the "have's"
and the have "not's". This is true in any country. The reality is that
in America we can actually do something about it. We do not have to be silent
and feel that there is no upward mobility for us nor rewards of other form,
freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the pursuit of happiness.
The Vietnamese community is like many other communities when we speak about
statistics and why some people may want to be involved and others may not care
or just plain apathetic towards the system. Many of these people are
apathetic because they feel over time they don't make a difference. A lot of
these people haven't made a difference because they never really bothered to do
so. That's the true statistic.
The Vietnamese experience cannot and must not be like other communities. We did
not come to America because we had a choice. Many of us came here as a result of
the political system with which we have a MAJOR problem. We disagree with
the political system in Viet Nam. We bitch about this or that with Viet Nam. We
fled Viet Nam! My question now becomes "If we took a major step of showing
our displeasure with the Vietnamese political system by escaping that country
with nothing, why should we not now take the effort of driving down the street,
voting and expressing our opinions to our political leaders in the US who are
willing to listen to us and willing to make a difference on our behalf?"
We have to continue to make a difference. Our Vietnamese community is unique
because of our background. We must not become so inculturated into a society
that is apathetic towards speaking out and expressing our opinions to efficate
This is not the spirit of Nguoi Viet who have survived for centuries. We
were lead by the great King Hung to victory. The Trung sisters led us to
victory. We've survived almost 1000 years of Chinese rule. We've survived the
western colonialization of Viet Nam. We escaped an oppressed Viet Nam to
continue our way of life. We are now willing to give up every thing that our
predecessors have fought to give us this moment to be breathing and to make a
difference for ourselves and our future. This makes no sense.
We hear about hot new companies, the Internet, the latest trend, etc. -- There
are Vietnamese Americans out there who are making a difference. Ezenia (EZEN),
GoLinq.com, OnDisplay (ONDS), MagRabbit and many others out there. We have
Vietnamese Americans involved in beauty pageants that is not aimed only at a
Vietnamese American audience but one that involves a diversity of cultures and
ethnicities. In fact, a recent pageant queen of the Asian American Pageant is
Vietnamese. The building blocks of a Vietnamese cultural center in San Jose, CA
is being set. I can come up with so many more examples of how we as a community
are represented out there. You too know of many exemplary examples. Let us
spread this word of our accomplishments.
I challenge all of us to spread the word and to remind our fellow brothers and
sisters who we are as NGUOI VIET! We are at a point in our civilization
where we will be deciding that we are indeed different or we are like everyone
else. Do we make a difference or do we not?