These days, the troubles that seem to plague the new presidency here in America have been unrelenting. Steadily more disturbing, harder to swallow. Encouraging a sense of fear in the gut. So contrary to the belief, that these are but fringe outcries (supremacists and Nazis and ultra rightists…), and the real America will eventually win out. But as each day, week and month that this president continues, these ‘fringe’ groups seem to be more real than people care to admit. And, these are the voices that he actually listens to more than others.
When the children came here, we had so many misgivings. Our doubts stemmed more from the fear that they would not be sufficiently cared for, not by the American system but by other, more personal people. But, since it was America, and, though some of our nightmare scenarios did come true, the fact that the children have come through them has made us think it was all worth it. So far. Because we never really know what can happen in the future. We are thankful that they are now adults, with their own lives, independent and leading normal American lives.
But this does not make us truly at peace since we know that this administration is lifting the race and color issue up from the muck of the past. Stipulating that if America becomes more brown than white, the country will be in peril of losing the very core of its American-ness. And all the while, we thought that America’s diverseness was what made it great. We thought that America did not have to be “Great Again” because it already was. Was because as long as this president does not realize that he is eroding America’s credibility in the global sphere, the chances of America staying on top of the heap is becoming dimmer. Lately, we see Putin in the news asking for dialogue and diplomacy in place of “fire and fury” rhetoric, concerning North Korea. And, while we realize that this must also serve some agenda on the Russian front, it also spotlights the ineptness of the “Leader of the Free World.”
Lately, we were made aware of a bill in 1924. Whether it passed or not, we don’t know. But by the mere existence of such a proposal tells us something. In this bill, immigration was going to be limited only to Europeans, and excluded Asians to be specific. This was because they, at the time, thought that America was becoming less white than they thought it should be. This has come up again because the present Attorney General of the United States of America brought this out in a radio program a few years back. His basic premise being that, allowing immigration to hold off other non-white races and admit only European whites, until the white population is replenished enough? so they occupy a higher percentage of the population? Will we see this bill’s resurgence? Is this the New America?
Since my children are Americans now, this comes as very sad news. The fear that they are brown skinned has never been something we were even conscious of. Now, it becomes an issue. And, while they are not really worried about it, we always go back to the memory of president Obama saying, “Trump will not be president.” Like the people will not allow such a person to represent them. So, is this the America that is truer than we thought possible?
The children have carved out their lives in this country, on their own terms. We know how they have assimilated and cannot even imagine themselves living back in Davao, or anywhere in the Philippines, for that matter. It sometimes, breaks our heart to think that we have lost them in that sense.
That’s why we felt another unwelcome stab of dread when the same Attorney General announced on TV that the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was going to be terminated. And while our children are safely holding their blue passports, we cannot help but imagine what the Dreamers (DACA enrollees) are now feeling. All their personal information in the hands of people who are bent on using their ‘illegal’ status in the country as an excuse to purge the population? The very fact that they are coming out and saying, in interviews no less, that some of the Dreamers were “very bad people” is a lie. How can any of them even be qualified to be part of the DACA program when the vetting is so stringent. Will this be another of their possible excuses to be able to deport as many as they can? Retain the white-ness of America. Because as long as it does not have more white people, it is not as great as it should be?
We continue to try to tamp these things down. Our anxiety levels sometimes overpowers us. But we stay because our children are here. They keep us sane. They always have. It isn’t impossible for us to dream our own dream, though. Of coming home. Maybe someday.
(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews’ effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Margot Marfori is an author and visual artist from Davao City. She is currently based in Henderson, Nevada.)