About the Author
My Nguyen is a Vietnamese student who is pursuing higher education in the United States. She is currently majoring in Business Administration and Management. Her motto in life is famous Aristotle’s quote: “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”.

And I Still Believe

If you travel to another Asian or African country and ask local people: “Which country do you think is the best for education/ health care/ services or everything?”, the most common answer probably is “America”.

It has become normal for people with means in developing countries to “go to America” to study, to do surgery or even to live.

And many of these people do not bother to question the validity of this seem-to-be stereotype- the idea that America is the greatest country on Earth.

I still believe in that stereotype.

To me it is a truth.

Despite everything that has happened in the past few months, America is still a place that I deeply believe in.

I am not American or processed to be an American.

I have been in the U.S. for almost two years to pursue higher education.

I want to be close to my family – who is at home, so at least until now, I have no plans or intentions to be an American after I finish my degree.

But I admire this country, or more exactly, I admire its people.

I do not remember being called an “Asian whore” or told to “get back to your tiny dirty place” by random people on the street.

I only remember being helped with my oversized luggage by random people at the train station.

I only remember being welcomed home for Thanksgiving by my roommate’s family.

I only remembered being tirelessly encouraged and inspired by my American professors.

They are good people and they are American.

The bad ones are simply bad.

And the good always wins.

You win when you have democracy.

This country is based on democratic ideals which takes over each individual’s mind and soul.

You have both rights and abilities to stand for your nation and your own democracy.

It is not easy to call for a change, especially an expansive and impactful one.

But it happens in America.

When enough people, regardless of their political or social positions, acknowledge the need of change, they join together and strive together with all of their power and strengths, to make a change.

This is how your freedom is protected and trust me, not many people over the world can have it and keep it.

You also win when you can say “NO”.

You can say “no” to what does not appeal to you.

You can say “no” to what goes against your ethics.

You can say “no” to what hurts your definition of humanity. Y

ou can say “no” because it is simply not you.

It is a privilege, but also a duty.

Do not say “no” to people. Say “no” to things, wrong things, need-to-be-stopped things

. Say an appropriate, reasonable, ethical “no”, even when everyone else say “yes”.

You win when you can choose to stand when everyone else is flowing.

There is nothing such as “give up”, “surrender” or “follow the majority” in America.

Your stance is protected. Your ideal is kept alive.

You can decide to accept or deny, to support or oppose, to love or hate, to defend or abolish.

You can resist when being forced to do something you don’t want to do.

You can fight when being oppressed.

Most importantly, you are respected and appreciated for your individuality, for your difference.

You win when you act on your heart, mind and soul.

You win when you follow what you believe.

You can ignore the messy chaos out there and keep sitting in your office, do what you are supposed to do.

You can drive home, have a tasty dinner and enjoy your cozy coach with your Netflix on.

But if your heart asks you to get out there and fight, you fight, even for strangers, even for potential “economic burden and social danger”.

It is kind when someone responds to a call for help.

It is even kinder when someone searches for people in need to help.

You are being kind when you do this.

You are being an American.

Because Americans know what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong.

For some people, America may not be the best, the strongest, the biggest nation in the world, but no one can deny the enormous impact of this country to the global situation.

When same-sex marriage started to be recognized in many states, the world was celebrating.

You know why?

Because if it can happen in America, it can happen anywhere and it will.

America is believed by many non-Americans to be the first and then when something is brought here, it spreads its spirit to make the world a better place.

Yes, the rest of the world is watching you, America.

These days, a portion seems quite disappointed.

Some are enthusiastically mocking.

Others are ideally concerned.

The rest, including me, simply thinks: “Just leave them alone. They will figure it out themselves.”

You know what you have to do.

You know what you need to do.

And you know what you should do.

America has enough power and its people are armed with enough strengths to get over any bullshit to make what should be right, right again.

For all Americans who have decided to take fighting for everyone else, for humanity as your duty, even though your wage will not be raised, your house will not be surrounded by fences, and your children will share the same classroom with other kids whose hair, eyes and skin colors are all different

As a humble citizen of the world, I thank you.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Photo Credits: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr (CC by-SA 2.0)

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