Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Asian Vote: Smoke and mirrors

I have seen a lot of politicians come to the family associations and even the Kung Fu Federation banquet year after year for about 15 years. It was nice to see them I guess. But I wondered from the very beginning, "Are they here for the votes or for campaign contributions?" Now for a Governor, it makes sense for him to show up, because indeed this room full of Asians all live Massachusetts. A lot of them are wealthy as well so they very well may contribute to their campaign. For Mayoral and City Councilor candidates.. well I guess a good number of people in the room VOTE in Boston even though they live in Brookline, Newton, Canton...the Chinese picked up that trick from the Irish.... from Billy Bulger specifically from what I've heard.

And in terms of community leaders, the elder statesman of Chinatown do still control a lot of votes of the elderly through what Lydia Lowe would call, "strong arming". I will tell yu, I don't knowck strong arming, because I think I am about to attempt something pretty similar. Not strong arming exactly but I am going to be very pushy for this Special Election on April 12 to fill Anthony Petrucelli's seat.

The Candidate I am pushing for is Diana Hwang. Now do I automatically support every Asian over the other candidate? No. Tommy Chang sucks real bad. Though we didn't get to vote for him anyway. And he sucks in a typically Asian way, in that the guy can't communicate what needs to be said in written English. My example is a letter sent home to all parents which was just confusing, alarming, and one could argue, unnecessary. (Do I have the same problem? some would argue yes. But I'm not getting paid for my job.)

But why I am pushing real hard for Diana? I will tell you, I would not even KNOW about this special election if I hadn't been introduced to Diana by Nina Liang at the Liang's family association, so yes those banquets aren't necessarily a waste of time.

And at first I didn't think I would be out there door knocking for anyone. Th only other candidate I ever considered door knocking for was Dan Conley.. because he had helped me personally and I still owe him. But at that tie, Jonah was too small. How was that going to work?

But the quick pitch for Diana is this, she's trying to get the late night T going again, which is good for the working class. She is an insider at the State House because she was an aide. Which means she knows how it all works and knows who to go too... at the State house. But here's why she needs our help. She's not from here. She doesn't necessarily know the lay of the land in terms of votes.. and from my door knocking, I can tell you that Bay Village pretty much belongs to Livingstone, because he has been there 3 times already. Now a lot of them are still undecided so Diana can still go down there and win votes. But Bay Village is also wealthier.

But I know of a whole project complex that is full of working class people of color who use the T who care about the issues that Diana is pushing for but who usually don't vote. They probably don't even know about this upcoming election. I didn't. These projects are called Castle Square and are full of Asians who can vote, but don't necessarily. Would they vote for Diana? Hell yeah. But they don't even know about the election. What about the other people of color? Yeah they'd vote for Diana but she had to go there and court them. Because who are the other guys? Will they care about them?

Now the truth is the cynic may say, how can you be sure Diana will even care... you can never be  sure. But if we empower ourselves and vote and help her win when she would have lost, that will mean something... to her and to the position. In fact even if she loses the person who wins will look at the fact that we voted in an organized way, which will mean they will need to pay attention to us.

And the truth is, that housing project is turning into market rent real fast. I didn't "Move on up" out of there. I was pushed out with my mother dying of cancer. But I would love to return there to door knock and organize and look at the garden that my mother helped get built by organizing in the CSTO. That housing project is full of votes that haven't even been courted properly in any election because people go to the Chinatown banquets and think, this is for the Chinese vote. No it's not.

But I need help. All my friends that used to play cops and robbers with me in the projects on roller blades, or tag football or what have you. How many people that read this have connections to those projects? We can organize something here that matters for an election that is only 1 month away. But it honestly might mean going door to door in addition to setting something up with management.

And oh yeah, I forgot about why I am even putting this on the Chinatown Blog. Diana Hwang's WINNING matters a lot fro Chinatown, just like Michelle Wu and Nina Liang matter a lot for Chinatown, but not in the way you might think. You may think.. Nina Liang is Quincy why does that matter for Chinatown? Because she won and she had shown that a young woman can win. A young Chinese woman can win. That affects how the Chinatown Organization, how the Chinese Family itself will think. Some of the ways we are doing stuff in Chinatown, is just not as effective as we can be. We need younger blood who can blog and twitter and I'm not talking about me. I'm old in my ways. I'm just learning this blogging thing. There are people who have kick ass blogs in London, who have roots in the very projects I'm talking about, and we can tap into that energy and brain power through social media. We can be connected even though we are far apart and get things done. But we're not. But if I just talk about that people will look at me funny and think I am crazy. But, when you see a young Asian woman in a position of power, that is a symbol of the future and Chinatown's possibilities. About Chinatown Politics' possibilities... internally.

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