Breakfast in Liliha

The other day we were eating breakfast at the counter of the wonderful Liliha Bakery in Oahu and were chatting with a local guy who told us he was 84. Really nice conversation until the pancakes were almost gone when he said "Not to get into politics but..." pregnant pause "We really need Trump."

This guy was of Japanese descent, maybe mixed, and he was born in Hawaii in, apparently, 1939 or 1940. So... he probably spent the first several years of his life in an internment camp. And yet, for the next few minutes, while Tina was muttering to me "Don't even try," I heard... well, you know... How THEY are invading OUR nation and driving it to bankruptcy and, etc. etc. Thirty million illegal immigrants, he told me, in the past 4 years (that's 3x the total number of illegal immigrants).

It's not just white evangelicals. To this guy, THEY were Chinese people. Or, at least, Hawaii's threat came from the Chinese, but he quickly informed me that "all the blue states" were going bankrupt, so I imagine he had a few others in the THEY column.

Tribalism, of course, is part of human nature. And Hawaii, for all its diversity, has plenty of racism. But I would think a Japanese-American of a certain age would have alarm bells about anyone calling to "round up" millions.

So, what is it? Is Fox News so good at insinuating itself into the lives of older folk that this guy is just parroting what he's hearing day-in and day-out?

We wished him a good day and took an Uber back to the airport. Our driver, who I thought was in his mid-20s, turned out to be a 50-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who escaped to Malaysia in 1989 with his brothers in an open boat. His father, who had been a teacher, was "re-educated" and stayed in Viet Nam. Our driver became a US citizen in 94 and still sends his parents money and visits them when he can.

When we got to the airport, I remarked on the contrast between our two acquaintances. Tina said, "Immigrants: they get the job done."