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Economic Change & Conservatism in America

Zeshi Wang ’20, Guest Writer

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The other night, I was crossing the street and I got yelled to “go back to Asia.” At first, I was shocked and frustrated. However, interestingly, it compelled me to ponder the current political scene and culture in the United States.

In my opinion, in the past years, millions of jobs for working-class Americans were lost due to globalization. According to statistics in an article from the Financial Times, almost half of the total decline in manufacturing employment-more than 2 million reasonably well-paying American jobs—might be explained by imports displacing domestic production. The dramatic change in unemployment negatively impacted many hard-working Americans’ economic situation. Not only so, people also started to cultivate cultural anxiety. We live in a fast-changing and more diverse society. Consequently, many Americans think that American way of life should be protected from foreign influence. According to The Atlantic, sixty-eight percent of Trump voters say the U.S. is in danger of losing its identity, and sixty two percent say America’s growing number of immigrants threaten the country’s culture. Let’s not judge whether this is good or bad. Together, with all of the above facts. I can see where this “go back to Asia” speech comes from. Economic insecurity, cultural anxiety, and uncertainty toward the future contributed to it. I’m not justifying it, but this is unfortunate and deserves understanding.

This further reminded me that people relate to “racism.” However, I feel that this type of incidents should not be regarded as “racism” because as I said, the motivation is not from his discrimination against someone’s race based on the belief that his race is superior, but because of economic insecurity, cultural anxiety, uncertainty toward the future.

Furthermore, I also want to discuss the broader political picture. Many people have been blaming President Trump for “inspiring” this type of behaviors. However, I disagree again. I think Trump did not “inspire” it, but many conservative Americans simply resonate with him on his tough immigration policies. Some express it in an inappropriate and vulgar way. I do think this type of behavior should never be committed because it is harmful and rude. However, we are living in an era with economic, political, demographic challenges. It is indeed very hard for almost everyone to adjust to the dramatically-changing environment. I think what benefits the society most is to recognize the problems instead of hiding them. I think Trump indeed expose some problems and they hurt sometimes, but this gives everyone a chance to work together to improve and heal the division.

I think things will change positively when the President’s promises to American people do come into effect; when people begin to adapt to the new living environment; when America rejuvenates itself one day. At the end of the day, we are all humans, we all share similar humanity no matter who you’re and where you’re from. I do believe that people are essentially kind when living a satisfying life, and I do believe people should treat each other with respect. People also should see things in an objective way and recognize the real problems instead of simply labeling them such as racism, sexism although they do exist.

I would like to say to myself and many other people who have experienced this type of behavior: Don’t let it affect you negatively. Do live confidently and have conversations with each other.

These are just some thoughts from a foreigner. I’m humbly and boldly writing this opinion piece because I want to learn more, hear more from other people. I truly value this opportunity for intellectual exchange. I’m happy for any discussion.

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Economic Change & Conservatism in America