Over the past week, I read two opinion articles on Politico about why Asian-Americans should vote for Obama or Romney by Rep. Judy Chu and Lanhee Chen (Romney policy director), respectively. I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or frustrated that either of them were reaching out to me as part of some monolithic bloc. As numerous others already know, the Asian-American bloc is not aptly named. The differences among the various Asian countries are probably even more so than here in America by religion, ethnicity, income, standard of living, and a host of other characteristics.
I am, of course, happy that national politics is starting to recognize that Asian-Americans are the fastest growing group in America and that there is an untapped potential for our group to do something. It seemed like the only governments that were paying attention to Asian-Americans were those states which had a significant portion (i.e. California, Hawaii, and New York) and not in places where I currently reside (i.e. Indiana, making up less than 2% of its population). I don’t think of my ethnicity in terms of politics to often, but I know that it is important to understand and I am glad that politicians are slowly doing the same.
In my humble opinion, Asian-Americans are torn between Obama and Romney. We like Romney’s stance that personal responsibility should be a guiding post for how we live our lives. For those that are religious, we admire his devotion to his faith, unlike Obama who barely attends church. And as Chen notes in her opinion article, education is very important in general and we usually see it as the only way to move up in society. As a Filipino-American, I know more will vote for Romney over Obama. In general, we are more socially conservative and are more connected to the military, check marks for being more GOP-inclined. (Why Asian-Americans Should Back Mitt Romney)
I, however, am voting for Obama this time around. As someone who grew in the Asian-American, and more specifically the Filipino-American, culture, I think that Rep. Judy Chu stated perfectly that “[Obama’s] decisions reflect his belief in embracing the diversity of America – and fostering opportunity for all Americans”. As China and India became major powers in the world economy, technological innovation, and military supremacy, Obama will be the best prepared to handle the next four years for those here in the US and across the Pacific. Now don’t get me wrong, we tend to disagree with his stance on same-sex marriage, views on abortion, and the handling of the economy (albeit mostly inherited). However, Obama understands more under-the-radar issues that I think is needed in a President, especially now. He knows that the color of your skin will dictate how others view you, that your ethnicity may be both a blessing and a curse, and that your culture is so important to be irreplaceable. (Obama’s Commitment to Asian-Americans)
To be honest, I would have voted for Romney if ran for President like he governed Massachusetts. I admire that he ushered a statewide healthcare plan, worked with democrats in the legislature, actually believed in climate change and stopping it, and was fairly moderate in his social issues. I am disappointed that he moved so much on the issues that it’s hard to see what he would actually do. If I know where he stood, I would vote for him.
Obama, on the other hand, actually has done what he said he would do. He passed ObamaCare, for better or for worse. He finally said he was for gay marriage (even though we all knew he was already). He lowered taxes where he could and raised them on those he knew could afford them. I’m voting for him because he won’t run the country as a corporation. If he did, then that’d mean just working for the most profitable solution, instead of the best solution for all. How is FEMA or Social Security the best way to get money? Government does it because no one else will and it should look out for those that most need it, especially when they’re at their lowest point.
Don’t tell me that since I’m young I’ll just vote for Obama or any Democrat. I have not voted straight-ticket and will never. I make the vote in who I think will be best for the job and for me for both the short- and long-term. I hope you have made an informed decision to vote for who you think is best.