I like my American Constitutionalism class. Besides the fact that I gain some quality time to read some quality, academic materials, such as Buzzfeed’s evaluations of Oreos in different countries, I also get to have much better understanding about how Constitution is supposed to mean. One of the surprising things about Constitution is that it does not mention democracy at all, not even once, when it was ratified in 1789 (maybe 1788). From the very beginning of the American story, people living in this country had to constantly fight and challenge the status quo to gain their deserved rights to democratically participate in politics. The universal suffrage that we all enjoy today is not given; rather, it is earned. Nonetheless we are not done with our battles. We are still facing challenges and hurdles that prevent eligible voters from having a voice, and we cannot rest. No matter who are you voting for, you need to be able to vote in the first place.
With that in mind, VietLEAD launched a nonpartisan voter registration and turnout campaign to increase the political presence of Asian Americans in Philadelphia. Historically, Asian Americans have relatively low voting registration rate and voter turnout rate, and such low rates somehow contribute to politicians’ tendency of pointing fingers at Asian immigrants, for everything wrong happened here. Thus, I was quite excited to know that on top of my usual work of helping out the students, I could also help amplify the voices of our people. Without much consideration, I quickly jumped on board.
But the progress did not prevail in the first try. The first thing that we did was to go to the train stations and trying to get registered. Basically, we are competing with SEPTA for people’s attention. Apparently, people care more about going home on time, than getting registered to vote. Most people seemed to be hostile, when random people approached them to talk about votes. Maybe, I could blame capitalism this time, for separating people apart. Anyway, it was good to know that everyone told me that they were registered, so I did not feel too bad about not getting anyone to register.
But people have never disappointed me. So I went to the block party in South Philly the past Sunday and it was a good show. Everyone is dancing and singing, and in the same time, lines of people wonder about voting and the processes of it. We were happy to know that people actually care about the political processes. Nevertheless, I could still be skeptical, since it was a party and maybe people were just out here for food. Who knows
Then, on the Election Day, on my way to Center City, I saw a block long line of people in University City waiting to cast their votes. I mean, nothing can really motivate intellectuals. I think something is really going to change, for good or for bad.
(Written before Election, following up will be posted soon. )