The Value of a Democracy

In America, demonstrators protest against
democracy for Hong Kong
while waving Old Glory and the flag
of the PRC.

In China, demonstrators protest against
a communist regime
and are tear-gassed and brutalized
by their police.

Those who should know the value of democracy
and oppress it in the safety of a democracy…
I wonder if they sleep at night.
I wonder if they ever stop and think.

*Note: This poem was written in response to a demonstration I witnessed with Pro-China vs. Pro-Hong Kong demonstrators across the same street. If you are unfamiliar with what is happening in Hong Kong, here is a recent summary from CNN. Be aware that there is no free press in mainland China and news is state approved. Hong Kong officials must also be China-approved before they run for office and are largely pro-PRC.

The “Invisible” Minority

If I enter a shop
I won’t be helped.
But the salesperson
won’t follow me around
in the store.

I can drive a car
and be yelled at
for being a bad driver
(as expected of my race)
but I won’t get pulled over
for the color of my skin.

For respect,
I have to make money
and dress well (professionally)
and even then,
I am thought of as “Other.”

But if I wear a hoodie,
no police officer will pull
a gun on me
and call me a “Thug.”

I am the silent “model minority.”
Some of us are racist for we have “overcome”
and don’t want to hear “excuses.”
Others see the shades of difference.

Some of us are ashamed of each other.
First and second generations look at each other
like aliens from Venus and Mars.

I might not speak my mother’s tongue
or if I do, I might not speak it
to my son and daughter.

We seek to fade away and become erased.

I put my head in my hands and wonder
at the wisdom of such an impossible feat.