COMMENTARY - The Southwest strike has given me renewed hope that Americans have not become complete doormats. In recent times as a society, we seem to be more concerned about tiptoeing around China, whether it’s bad to call it “China virus”, instead of actually solving the problem of a worldwide pandemic.
We were also fine with giving up our liberties to a government that promised safety but failed to deliver. The public gave its blind trust, and became obsessed with political correctness, signaling confused priorities.
But what was the reality? What started as a two week stay-at-home shutdown, has now dragged on two years later, with the government interfering in every aspect of our lives, even if they’re just making it up as they go along. Yet, everyone stayed quiet for the most part, despite numerous inconsistencies and transgressions. The silence was deafening, and it was randomly, the Black Lives Matter movement that made the most noise last year, signaling that America still had a pulse or remnants of a rebel spirit.
There are many parallels between today’s America and Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China last century. The government wanted blind unquestioning worship of leaders, erased history by tearing down statues and burning books, and killed private enterprise by seizing businesses. They also used their own citizens to turn against each other for simple differences of opinion. COVID gave us a preview of what’s to come, but in America, they didn’t do it so heavy handedly, understanding we are fundamentally an individualistic culture. They did small things to test the water and took our non-reaction to their transgressions for compliance and acquiescence. They pushed too far by taking away our livelihood if we didn’t get vaccinated. Remember, many who are protesting now have themselves taken the vaccine, but do not believe in their colleagues being mandated to take it. After all, many rank-and-file people sincerely believe, “my body my choice” and want that for their neighbor. That is fundamentally American and beautiful.
How did we get to this point where the government and big corporations are even trying to enforce and mandate such a personal decision on its employees? It’s amazing what affluenza and complacency do but it was also a concerted Chinese effort.
I’ll turn this inward to Asian Americans and analyze why this group, formerly the most fervently liberty-loving, in barely a generation or two, have turned into unthinking compliant sheep. I have seen white people go this same route, especially ones in the cities and suburbs. But the younger Asian generation shift was much more dramatic due to the rags-to-riches effect. They are now so removed from the last generation’s immigrant struggle, they are openly embracing Communism, which is what their parents fled.
With China’s mass purchase of our media outlets in 2012, it wasn’t just their outlets like World Journal, but acquiring mainstream publications like Los Angeles Times that promoted a collectivist mentality. There has been a consistent but subtle drumbeat in our media of conformity and political correctness, transmitting Communist values like a virus. This has shaped public opinion and behavior to be deathly afraid of confrontation and differences of opinion, a form of psychological warfare. Overfocus on race and identity has made all Americans feel “othered”, and they became focused and obsessed with superficial issues like mean tweets and ignore the important ones like lost lives, crime and rising costs of living.
Nothing is more apparent than the reaction to COVID. It is my fellow Asians who are mask obsessed, hand sanitizer crazy to the point of ruining their hands, and staying at home out of fear of a disease, robbing themselves of family time and the peace of mind to live their lives like they used to. Even the #StopAsianHate movement was wrought with a “poor me” attitude, something I worked hard to combat with my own community events around that topic, focused on solutions, self defense and to transcend victimhood. But the fact it even happened shows that we have gotten soft, the way China wants us. Thankfully, I do see the same blind trust for government replaced with an awakening to betrayal.
From Biden’s low approval ratings to mass protests and strikes after the most draconian vaccine mandate we have seen, it has finally hit home as we see mass layoffs or firings of the unvaccinated, such as threatening the employment of quiet hardworking Americans, like Filipino American healthcare workers. The silent majority, which never got political, are starting to realize how it’s directly affecting their lives and are protesting out on the streets.
Even in the movies, I wrote about how Shang-Chi’s ban in China, despite an all Asian cast, shows how uncomfortable China is with stories of self empowerment and independent thought. America embraced this story by breaking box office records. China won’t even air it. Our cultures are fundamentally different. While we can all embrace elements of other cultures, let us not do it at the expense of our shared American culture.
There is a danger in quiet compliance. Americans, especially Asian Americans, it’s time to make some noise. Celebrities like Nicki Minaj and even basketball players like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are pushing back against the heavy handed mandates. When it’s your body, it starts getting personal. Even Bill Maher is tired of the overall political correctness at the expense of smart discourse.
If you do not question, you will perish, literally. Let’s never lose this questioning or our rebellious spirit. Asians, now is the time to really learn from our parents and why they fought tooth and nail to come to America. Government, stay out of my body. China is not even mandating vaccines on its people. China’s communist values, stay out of my America.
(Marc Ang ([email protected]) is the President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance in Orange County, co-chair of “Recall Gascon Now”, was the Director of Outreach for the “No on 16” campaign, a community organizer in Southern California and the founder of Asian Industry B2B who specializes in race relations and the minority conservative experience. His book “Minority Retort” will be released in late 2021. Marc is a regular contributor to CityWatch.)