Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The United States is in Our Hearts: Former Mayor Esteves Comes Back

The United States is in Our Hearts:
Former Mayor Esteves Comes Back
By Anhthao Bui
with editing by Dan Lambert

I knew former Mayor Jose Esteves before we made friends with each other. My students often told me about him with their innocent and proud voices and manners, because they knew and spoke with a politician who held a high rank and position in our society. Although I had not met Mr. Esteves yet, I pictured a “cool mayor” who was friendly, easy to get along with, and a role model for students.
Indeed he was!
By chance, I met former Mayor Jose Esteves in one meeting in our community. At the reception, Mr. Esteves came, smiled, and said to me, “I like your poetry. Nice to meet you.”
I replied to him, “Thank you. Nice to meet you too. I admire your accomplishments. Milpitas has developed and changed very fast over the last few years. I would like to know what inspired you to become such a successful politician.”
Mr. Esteves gave me his business card and a friendly tapped on my shoulder. “Please give me a call or visit me at the City Hall.”
We became good friends, often discussed, or shared things with each other. Mr. Esteves proudly told me that during his term, Milpitas became a great city with new business centers and the new library, and hundreds of new housing units. Moreover, Milptias was also a safe city. In return, I showed him Yellow Flower, my book of poetry, as an example of my accomplishment. We have something in common; we both like Carlos Bulosan, a Filipino politician and writer for 50 years and Mr. Bulosan’s philosophical ideas about America; we both love the United States and wish to make the United States better because the United States is the heart of men who die for freedom. The United States is not only for white people, but also for anyone who lives in the United States, from the eloquent African Americans, the hard-working Hispanic Americans, to the patient Asian Americans. While Mr. Esteves showed his love to the United States through his political acts to serve the country and its people, I praised the United States in my poetry and in my other writing.
We were busy and disconnected; I haven’t heard any news about Mr. Esteves.
Once, my friend invited me to attend Mr. Esteves’ Campaign Kickoff Event to reelect the Mayor of Milpitas. We were happy to see each other again.
I asked Mr. Esteves, “Why do you want to run for mayor? Political campaigning is a risky business and hard work. Especially, in this recession, everything faces toward the budget deficit.”
Mr. Esteves agreed with me, “Ann, you are right, but I want return to the City Council to work on the challenges facing Milpitas. Moreover, I want to complete my unfinished work that I left behind.”
Mr. Esteves continued, “Ann, do you remember Carlos Bulosan writes that the United States is in the hearts of people who die for freedom and in the eyes of those who build a new world? Because of our love for the United States, we contribute our ability to the country we love. Moreover, the United States is a country with opportunities for all the people, no matter who we are: native born or alien, educated or illiterate—We are America! Ann, I cannot work alone and need your help and others' help."
I smiled. “Mr. Esteves, your words are persuasive. Please count on me."
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