To put it lightly, this presidential election has been dividing. Dividing the country, dividing beliefs, dividing families. 


Around the time that Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his vice-president elect, I remember my grandma asking my cousins, sister and me who we planned to vote for.  My sister immediately responded that she planned to vote for the democratic candidate, which my grandma did not like one bit. 


On the day that my sister took me to the UMMA to pick up my absentee ballot and drop hers off, she told my mom about it.  To that, our mom responded in surprise, saying that because we are voting, she’s going to go vote as well to “cancel out our votes.”  


In my experience so far, it’s definitely difficult having differing political beliefs from my parents because the conversations about politics often ends up with one of us being angrier than when the conversation started. But I’ve also recognized that their beliefs stem from their experiences.


Let me explain.


According to the Asian American Voter Survey, 78% of Vietnamese Americans consider themselves strong Republicans, and for the 2020 election, 48% said they were planning to vote for the Republican party, while only 36% said they were voting for the Democratic party.  


Vietnamese Americans are known to have large numbers supporting Donald Trump, and from what I’ve found after talking to my parents and grandma, a large part of that support has to do with China, with specific reasons stemming from the war and communism.


Despite this, it’s still hard having different beliefs from my parents. The household in which I grew up emphasized listening to and believing in everything my parents said or taught, because as a kid, who would know any better?  Like many of my other Vietnamese American friends, we’re used to taking everything our parents taught us and blindly believing in it. 


There’s also the culture of not talking back to our parents, which I don’t think is exclusive to just Vietnamese or Asian Americans.  Saying “no” or not agreeing with my parents has never been my favorite thing to do. That, and the fact that all my information used to come from my parents, so I didn’t know what else to believe. 


But now that I’m older and am more immersed in the world around me and getting information from various sources, I’ve realized that it comes to the point where I can say no. I can disagree and have different opinions without having to worry about upsetting my parents. 


Reflecting back, I’m grateful, in a way, that I was raised in this setting because it has taught me how to stand with my own beliefs and how to not be afraid of stating my opinion, whether that be to my parents, or anyone in general. I believe that as long as there is mutual respect between both sides, voicing my opinion should not be something I am scared or apologetic about.


While politics is a tough subject in all, I think the most important thing I’ve learned from this election is that it’s also okay to say “no, Mom and Dad.”