If the goal is to raise awareness, then sometimes piquing people’s curiosity is most effective. For the past few days I’ve been wearing these pins that say, “Bầu Cử” and people have been asking me what it means. Translated from Vietnamese it means “election,” although the makers of the pin were going for “vote,”in which case “bỏ phiếu” would have been a better translation–no biggie, the sentiment is still there. These pledge pins were sent to me by 18 Million Rising, a get out the vote campaign aimed at the approximately 18 million Asian American electorate:
They also sent out flyers, which I couldn’t help but modify, as part of a photo stream project:
This post, however, isn’t solely directed at my Asian American brothers and sisters. And neither is it just a reminder for everyone to go out and vote tomorrow. You see, Amasian Dad and I have been engaged in a 12-year political debate. I am a “default” Democrat, whereas he is a lifelong* Republican. I have learned from my dad that traumatic experiences have a way of profoundly impacting political views. He lost his country to communism, so it’s unsurprising that he aligned himself the most “anti-red” platform (my less politically-active Amasian Mom, on the other hand, is what I like to call a RIMO: Republican in marriage only). Needless to say, the differences in our political leanings have been the root of many spirited discussions.
For the past 4 elections, my dad and I have had a tradition of talking to each other the morning before Election Day. It’s a last ditch effort to convince each other to switch votes under the guise of “reminding” each other to vote. Earlier polling suggested that Amasian Dad was actually leaning Obama, but I was doubtful. He was leaning that way in 2008, but in the end he “pulled the lever” for McCain (in actuality, he connected the line for McCain). So, I was surprised by how he greeted me on the phone this morning.
“I’m voting for Obama,” he said in decisive Vietnamese over the phone, before I could finish asking him who he would be voting for. I asked him why and we talked for a bit about his reasons: Medicare, tax policy, our economy vis-a-vis China’s (my dad has a bit of a protectionist streak in him)–the usual campaign rhetoric and talking points. Eventually, we got to talking about federal funding for science and basic research–toward which I admittedly steered the conversation. We touched on how while Obama hasn’t been able to do too much to increase funding, Romney’s plans to cut discretionary spending would include cuts to investments in science and research. As a graduate student considering post-doctoral training, I am a special interest here as funding for both is heavily reliant on federal funds. Toward the end of our conversation my dad reassured me, “If I had been waffling at all on my vote for Obama, this conversation has cemented my choice. 100%.” We hung up and I left for lab feeling strange, but comforted, that my dad and I were in agreement for once.
*as an American citizen that is