Posted on January 26, 2010
Harsh environment lets a tree root deeper
Tall trees of America often fall during the days of storm, tearing down a house or crashing a car on the streets. As I have wondered why, an old man came up with an answer.
He said that as rain falls frequently and the soil is fertile in New York and New Jersey, trees can survive without rooting deeply into the earth. However, pine trees of Korea do not fall even after rooting on the barren rock mountainsides because they root deeply down in to the earth in order to survive.
I believe that the same logic holds for greeting the new year of 2010 after a rough 2009.
What should be done in order to survive and develop as a Korean living in New York and New Jersey through the times of the worst financial crisis since the Great depression of the 1930s?
The Korean American Voter’s Council has put much thought into this question. Many Korean politicians have tried out for the municipal elections last year, but all have failed. We have put everything in with the belief that it will help Koreans overseas at difficult times since it could be something that we can depend on.
Therefore, I have thought that we Koreans should also be like the evergreen pine tree proudly rooted in a rocky and barren mountain withstanding fierce wind, cold snow and a sweltering summer.
First, we should respond to the 2010 census. We should leave our marks in history that we stand here. This will become the foundation and roots for the prosperity of the next generation. Not only this, but it will also aid in immediately securing the government fund that supports our community, starting the following year. If we do not respond to the census, the central government and the city government will consequently raise tax and as the existing tax is insufficient, the benefits of the public including public facility, welfare and healthcare will be reduced.
Second, we should accelerate voter registration. Currently in New York City, the Korean voters reside in a mere number of 25,000. Since most of the Korean voters are moving out to Long Island and New Jersey, technically the number of Korean voters is not increasing. The problem is that there are still too many people who did not register as a voter. It is of much importance that they do register as a voter.
Third, we should show our power by voting. 2010 is the year of the midterm elections. During the midterm elections, which takes place in the middle of the president’s term, elections are held for all 435members of the House of Representatives. The seat for Kirsten Gillibrand, US senator for New York, is also to be reelected as well as the seats for the governor and all members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. New Jersey also elects Bergen County Executive and some of the Freeholders (a legislator on the county level consisted of seven members.)
Most importantly, we should enthusiastically take part in resident participation activities to understand and use the American system for our benefits. This is what we have learned from the past municipal election. Voters of the region have felt somewhat nervous due to the rapid advance of the Korean politicians. It has been seen as an attempt to seize power while Koreans were yet to be settled as a participating neighbor.
Now we should strive towards participating actively in community affairs as a neighbor in the region, rather than to be active in isolation. We should take part in specific activities, ranging from town administration, community board, police department community committee, to school parent activities and so on. This is how to root deeply in to this land, and to help the next generation to leap forward.
This is how we should pass down to the future generations. We should pass them down the proud history of how we strived to be more involved and deeply rooted in the American society even in difficult times, to build a foundation for the next generation.