George W. Bush may have won the heated presidential election, but minorities did not give him the support he expected to receive.
Many Asians and Asian-Americans at Temple do not believe either President Bush or Sen. John Kerry would help them or reflect the concerns of their community. However, they tended to think Kerry would be the better candidate.
As minorities and college students, some of Temple’s Asian-Americans were indifferent to both candidates and agreed that minorities should be involved in the election.
“I don’t know the specifics, but I think there is an incredible sense of apathy from the Asian-American college community because issues which affect us aren’t reflected in either candidate,” student and Asian Pacific American Coalition member Hanalei Ramos said. “I think the candidates focus more on Bush’s upper class and Kerry’s middle class.”
Some neutral students that had knowledge of both candidates’ policies liked Bush’s policy on immigration. They specifically liked the temporary worker program that offers legal status to millions of undocumented people currently working in the United States.
“I like Bush’s idea of temporary illegal immigrants,” junior Perry Mehta said. “When minority students come for work and pay their tuition, it helps them get their feet spread out. They should be allowed a permit to study in the U.S.”
Other students criticized it, such as sophomore and Temple Asian Brothers United member Dang Wei Zhao.
“Bush is angering a lot of minorities, especially Asian-Americans, in general, for a lot of reasons,” said Zhao. “Probably one of the most prominent is… immigration reasons. Asian-Americans are mostly immigrants. A lot of them have family overseas and eventually they try to bring their family over. The new policy is really killing that. He [Bush] would help Asian-Americans as token equals, to prove he isn’t racist – when he is,” Ramos explained in an online interview. “I think Kerry would be better at distinguishing class and color lines.”
Freshman Dan Kim, a Democrat and neutral voter, saw Bush’s policy on the military and tax refunds and reforms as benefiting Asian-Americans, making the tax code simpler for taxpayers, encouraging saving and investment and improving the economy’s ability to create jobs and raise wages.
“When it comes to war I would trust Bush,” said Kim. “When it comes to taxes it would help Asian-Americans more; a lot of us are middle class.”
What many Asian-American students do not realize is that Bush has added more Asian-Pacific Americans to Cabinet and sub-Cabinet positions than former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton combined. Bush appointed two Asian- Americans to his cabinet: Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. He also appointed 17 more to sub-Cabinet positions.
On the basis of education, Bush plans to increase minority outreach to minority families to better disseminate effective early childhood development stages, according to his Web site, www.georgewbush.com.
One avid Asian-American Bush supporter offered a different insight as the reason people should support Bush based on the issue of college tuition.
“[Bush] increased appellate grants,” said Isaac Jeffrey Raphael Alston, fourth year student and TABU member. “He made sure that more people had them. I get an appellate grant; each year I get $2,025. Anybody who gives me more money, I’m good for them.”
Alan Gung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.