So what exactly does a Chinese person residing out of the US should care about the US mid-term election?
The answer is… nothing and everything.
Since the case against Brett Kavanaugh, I found myself more intrigued by the US First Amendment. That is, the freedom of speech, which is something that is not to be discussed from I come from.
From the recommendation of my US friends, I started following Rachel Maddow and late night talk show hosts mostly Stephen Colbert. I’ve been quite updated on a daily basis of the development of the Trump Administration, his latest jaw-dropping actions and their consequences. (My guilt pleasure…)
The more I watch, the more I’m enthralled by the notion that people have the right to voice their counterarguments and the right to elect someone else. Even that person is the dude who runs the country.
That gets us to the mid-term. What I’ve observed as an outsider may sound rather superficial.
Just so you know, I’m over 18. But I’ve never voted in my entire life except for high school or college student body administration seats… I know what you’re thinking, just shut up.
So, knowing that voting can make a huge difference to people’s healthcare, taxation, livelihood is unthinkable from where I come from. We only get to complain about the aftermath, in private, behind closed doors, amongst trusted folks who we know can be trusted. Say, my parents.
With all that being said… That you guys, the American citizens, can exercise your right every two years, is astounding to me. Before Tuesday, I called a friend of mine and asked him to send a photo when he went to the voting booth. I asked the friend and others in detail what it looked like, what was the actual process. If you’re not in the country in person, how can you do it by mail?
I felt just like my podcast guest this week coming to the US as an eleven-year-old going to the supermarket for the first time, seeing aisles and aisles of choices for food, from whole-fat to 2% to none-fat, from whole grains to gluten-free, from paleo to vegan…
Maybe that’s why Chinese don’t have many allergy cases. Simply because we can’t afford to. It’s too expensive to be gluten-free, too ridiculous to be lactose-free. We are not capitalists, but nothing is free. To get onto Google, Twitter etc., you pay hush-hush premium.
The consequence is, when there is not many choices, you focus on what you have and get on with it. Imagine when all you’ve had in your entire life is whole milk and white bread, and someone, probably looks very strange and nerdy, start questioning whole-milk whole-wheat’s validity, you feel like they are questioning your mere existence. What do you do? Naturally, you flip the fuck out.
Just like with voting, to exercise your right as a citizen, to us Chinese, we are just too busy living. Or like they say,:
Play the hand you’re dealt.
PS. I care also because a woman’s gotta hope.
PPS. Check out my latest podcast episode featuring an exemplar of first-generation immigrant here.