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What do you respond?

Por Mariel Fiori
February 2017
A few days ago I posted on my personal Facebook page this question: What do you respond to a four-year old girl (your daughter) when she asks you: “Mama, why Trump doesn’t like immigrants?” It’s clear that this question is not a rhetorical one, it is real. Like many of our readers, I am an immigrant and a recently naturalized American citizen. My daughter, a very curious and observant girl, has a valid question. Have I not taken her to demonstrations for immigrant rights (since she was a baby, and even before)?
My question received many responses — it’s obvious that my friends (and our nation as a whole) are worried about this situation as well. Some emphasized the fact that this is a complicated issue, so it’s best not to explain anything to little kids. Others, the majority, said that leaders sometimes are confused, or they do not understand others, but we hope that they do their best for everyone; in addition, they said, the presidency is not permanent, and many people voted for him by mistake. A minority say that I had to explain to my girl that the president in fact does not dislike all immigrants, he dislikes terrorists and "illegals" (no need to mention the obfuscated comments these answers received). A journalist colleague had one of the best responses. I quote her here: “it’s because he doesn’t know other people and doesn’t speak with them. When you arrive to a party (or school, or park) and see other children, sometimes you don’t want to speak with them all. But when you get closer and get to know them, you realize you get along and have things in common. Trump needs to know other immigrants; that is why journalists share their stories, so more people know them,” wrote Mexican journalist Eileen Truax.

I thanked all of my friends for thinking about this question regarding the education of our children. I agree with some of the answers, and not with others, but I love the possibility of having forums like this to express our different positions in a respectful manner. I take the opportunity to remind our readers that in La Voz we are always open to publish your comments, questions and opinions. Please write us at [email protected] and make your voice heard.

So, what response did I give my daughter? This is what I said: In reality, it is not that Trump doesn’t like immigrants, but he says that, or he acts like he does, because he knows there are people who like to hear that.

Somewhat simplified, the theme of my response has to do with the power of the vote. Our representatives are elected officials, that are elected by us via the corresponding elections. Once in power, they still need us, because we can re-elect them, or not, next time. The power of the people is greater than that of the people in power. This is evident now more than ever in the number of protests and in the number of new community groups of resistance that arise every day and are making progress — where before there was nothing more than despair, now there is hope. Read this month’s La Voz the article on the Sanctuary Movement in the Hudson Valley, for example.

And let’s consider this quote from Barack Obama’s farewell address: “Our constitution is really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.” To the “Yes, we can” — it is necessary to add action on our part with “The people united will never be defeated.” So stay informed, and let's work together to live in peace in our home.

Mariel Fiori
Managing Editor

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La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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