When politics was boring

I don’t know what it feels like to be American right now. I can ask my American friends to find out. Sadly, I’ve lost my only Republican friend or I could have asked him what it feels like to live in DC right now. Last time I heard, he was made partner at his all-white law firm.

For what the Mueller investigation looks like, it could be much bigger than Watergate with Michael Cohen’s pleading guilty for lying in Congress. 

I have to make a memo of what’s been scooped out on a daily basis to keep up with the American politics… It’s anything but boring.

Just a few days ago, I started reading Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming. It dawned on me that Obama was still president when I arrived in the US in 2015. Because of him, my parents benefited from the ten-year tourist visa, which was unprecedented before or after his administration… And I didn’t recall once the urge to check MSNBC or Colbert or SNL… 

Everyone was just busy living. I was busy making my dream a reality. Now it’s impossible not to talk about politics. It’s almost offensive to just watch Ellen or Fallon. 

The news hasn’t cheered me up since I began following it religiously after the fall of my work visa. I’m seeing a world where the privileged has gotten to get away with crimes. They can lie about it and still get bravos by their diehard believers. Case in point: Trump.

Then why do you still want to go back to the States when things sound so bad? I hear you ask. Because I want the truth, even though sometimes it gets ugly, offensive, hurtful, mind-boggling. But having the press, independent from the executive officer, believe in people’s good judgement, is priceless. 

Because you have to know the truth before you can ask: what can we do to change?

Otherwise, you only raise a herd of people who care nothing more than their paychecks, watch nothing but their soap operas. When you ask them about social affairs, they’d say, “Why should I care?” Why should they when the media never gives you the full picture?

 

 Yours truly,
YZ

To live and let live

In China, we don’t have animal control bureau running around capturing stray cats and dogs. Naturally, people form opions around these little creatures who are in the grey areas of the law.

Some retirees would feed the neighborhood cats on a daily basis. My mum became one of them four years ago when I told her my observations of these fascinating little creatures as I did my morning walk.

It soon became our daily routine to cat-watch and cat-call. Overtime, mum got acquainted with other retirees, mostly women, who have a monthly budget to feed the cats. They even have a walking routine of “fantastic cats and where to find them.”

Our family cat Michael used to be one of those stray cats before mum and I took him home when he was thirsty by the neighborhood fountain.

Now, on the other side of the aisle, quite much like the Republicans, you have, mostly men and some portion of women, who just hate these furry little things. Some even throw decorative pebble stones at them, not unlike what Trump would do and boy do they feel righteous abou their action.

“They are so filthy. They make the hallway smell. You should stop and let them be (die).”

My dad, who usually let people mind their own business, couldn’t take it no more when he was with mum one day:

“If the earth has only human in it, it won’t be long before we face our own extinction.”

Like the Trump supporters, when you bump into those people in the neighborhood, there is no way you can win the argument. For people who see the world as a zero-sum game, how can you try to talk to them and stay sane?

Hands down, I admire the Democrats on the Hill.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

The mid-term

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.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

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.

One word

Kavanaugh.

I’m glad that I get to witness the development of the Kavanaugh hearings before I leave the country.

Quite an eyeopening experience for someone who’s from China.

 

Yours truly,
YZ