I actually brought this point up when I met Diana. I said, "You know just because your Asian doesn't mean you necessarily represent Chinatown."
And she said that of course that was true. You can't just pick your candidate based on ethnicity. But that she fights for Chinatown issues, like working class issues and that a lot of women's rights issues are family issues. And because she is Asian and her parents were immigrants, she understands soem fo the feelings that go along with that, in a closer way than your other candidate who just says he'll represent you and fight for you but doesn't really know it.
But okay, would I be making PHONECALLS for Diana Hwang if she weren't Asian? I might have made phone calls for Dan Conley if my kids weren't so young. In fact now that I have made some phone calls I realize doing a LITTLE bit of that sort of thing is kind of fun.
But when people get pissed at you for calling, "Stop calling here I'm going to call the police." That becomes kind of a downer.
So, let me tell you a little secret about how these calls happen. It happens through a site called Hub dial. It is some sort of Robo call type thing. One guy complained that he was getting calls all day and that they hang up right when he picks up the phone. Because I am not the only one calling. All of the other candidates people are calling too and there's a lot of them Boncore, Rizzo, Livingstone, Edwards, Morabito, Rogers, and of course Diana Hwang. That's a lot of candidates. But I talked to him and he was happy to chat with a human and he said he'd consider Diana.
My point is, I'm not dialing your number. But before I played this game, I didn't realize that either.
The best connections I got with people were when I went of script. Yeah there's a phone script. Because to me, the script is too impersonal, cheesy, political, without being specific enough. The people that actually want to talk know about politics already so they ask you some specific questions that isn't in the script.
Here's some interesting ones I wasn't expecting.
"How old is she?"
"Is she married? Does she have children?"
I didn't even ask Diana these questions because I thought.. I don't know that they would be sort of creepy or chauvinistic coming from a man. But it was actually women who asked these questions. I guess it made sense in terms of the child thing. Like John Connolly had his kids in the public school system. And Now Walsh, some would say, is selling out the school system.At least that's the opinion on the playground among the mothers.
For the age thing I just say, "Look she was aide to Debbie Blumer. She has experience up there on Beacon Hill."
Anyway, this one lady asked me why I'm involved on the campaign. And I told her the truth.. which is that it has to do with Chinatown issues.
She said, "Not to insult you." but she basically schooled me about how she wasn't going to pick a candidate based on ethnicity but rather thinking of the community as a whole. "I'm Italian but I'm definitely not voting for Rizzo because of the things he did or didn't do in the community and what he could have prevented."
Again, I guess I did go with Diana partly based on the ethnic thing, because I didn't even bother to find out more about the other candidates.
But I never gave two hoots about Suzanne Lee. Still not even sure what she ran for. Had I showed up to vote... yeah I probably would have ticked her name off because of the name. Was hers a November Election? Maybe I did vote for her, but there was nothing memorable about the experience.
I voted for Michelle Wu. But she was also the only candidate I even saw. There was another guy shaking hands at Stony Brook. But he looked so pissed off. I went with Wu. And when she was an incumbent, yeah I had seen her all the time and she didn't seem to be doing badly so why not vote for her? I voted for Ayanna Presley too because Grace said she's smart, and other names I recognized. But after that I voted for myself multiple times to punish bad campaigning. I met Annissa coming out of the polls and wish I had voted for her too but hey she won anyway.
I knew I had wanted to interview Diana for the blog. And then I saw her at a Family association, I was introduced to her by Nina Liang.. so there are a lot of associations and connections there. That would probably be enough for me to vote for her if I were in the district. But the campaigning is because I saw her make the petition for late night T service. Now, that could just be a thing to grab onto with symbolism just for the campaign, like Trump's Wall. But I'm all about symbolism. I mean, I swept the street today... and apparently it was after Walsh had guys clean that street too. I thought it was a little easier today than normal.
So am I wrong to pick by ethnicity? Yeah if it's ONLY ethnicity. But here's the thing. Asians don't get a whole lot of chances to pick an Asian candidate. I mean I'm Irish too, and Polish and German. Maybe I like Kasich's old school Polish ways. I can see that it is why he has a strong stance in terms of foreign policy in that region.
And for the last Mayoral election. I knew Dan Conley personally and that's why I went for him. People accused me of being an old school Boston politics type guy. And of course if everyone voted based on ethnicity, than no Asian has a chance in this state... but some people like the woman I talk to look at it more objectively.
But here is my thing. Asian's can't afford to play that game if you ask me. I mean if the candidate just stinks, then yeah don't vote for that guy just because he or she is Asian. But if they are qualified... I'd say give them a chance first and then see what happens. I pretty much use that judgement with all candidates of color, because I think it does matter. Of course I did not vote for Barros, for Mayor even though a lot of Chinatown was pushing for him. I liked him, but I felt I had to be loyal to Conley.
I've been trying to go around Chinatown and see if there is any grassroots or organizational thing in place specifically for Diana and all I get is, "Oh well let's try to be objective, let's see at the forum."
And even though the lady I talked to had a lot of good points... in a small small minority community like Chinatown, that is a mistake. Also I guess I am also pushing for Diana because she is young. So maybe it is an age thing. And this woman I talked to seemed to think that she wanted a "more mature" older person in this seat.
Is it because I am young? Maybe. I want new blood up there. And I know that Diana, being charismatic and personable and young... this could be a stepping stone for her. She's not just going to get up in this position and sit there. She has the support and tools from other Senators and people on Beacon Hill to be a Success. Which means she can move up higher.. go all the way even one day. Feel me? And at the same time she is pushing the working class struggle type of campaign. Original? no. But still.
So in that sense if you are an Asian Activist or Community organizer or whatever.. Diana is your dream candidate. I mean for a lot of these elections I end up voting for myself. But that's what voting for Diana is like. It's like a vote for yourself. I mean even as a white guy in Chinatown or just in Boston, yeah I want a T system that works and bike lanes and all that.
MOST of the people I called, it was a predictable vote right down ethnic lines. And door knocking, I got a similar feel. In fact one guy joked to me, "Is he Irish? I'll vote for him if he's Irish. cause I'm Irish." Grace said I should have broken into some Irish folk song, preferably in Gaelic, and then been like, "Now will you vote for Diana Hwang?" Missed my opportunity.
I mean I get that a lot of Chinatown organizations can't officially endorse someone. But Newspapers can right? I mean the Times Endorse Hillary right? I thought this campaign (my part of it) was just going to be bout letting people know that the election is on April 12 and letting them know that Diana exists. And then, for the non Asians in the projects where I'm from, then pushing the whole T and working class thing.
I thought if I approached an organization and they couldn't endorse Diana that they would be like, "Oh yeah but on the down lo here's the plan that is already in place and all you need to do is..."
But no. No plan. Or the plan was. "Here's a forum so you can decide for yourself in an objective manner."
Yo! Now is not the time for this! The election is in a month. Diana needs a base. In fact talking to my friend and mentor at the Community Center, he pondered where Diana's strength base would come from and then said, "Oh yeah I guess it would come from Chinatown." Like it's a given. Because well, that's what I thought too. I guess it's still true but nobody will just come out and say it.
The Chinatown guy I know who thought like I did was Michael Wong.
"Yeah Wong's family has a fundraiser tomorrow. How can you say you support and you don't even know the DATE!" and he hit me with the invitation card on the head.
Me and Michael usually don't agree on life perspective type stuff. But when I told him about soem lackluster response he said, tell them to F off.
"Woah I'm not going to yell at them." because I respect other people's opinions on why they vote for whoever. The important thing is that they vote.
"You yell at them and then tell them that I yell at them! I saw some Chinese guys, holding the sign for Livingstone like that and I yelled at them, 'Are you Chinese! C'mon. Blacks will support their own. They won't go and vote for the white man you know?"
Okay so maybe I'm not that far along. I mean after all I'm also half white. So any white guy also is my ethnicity. And then I like to give other candidates of color a shot too. But you know what.. even though Michael seems kind of crazy... right on!
I mean with all the stuff happening in Chinatown right now, do you really wanna be the guy that voted AGAINST Diana Hwang?
I did one useful thing on my little phone calling list. I was able to talk to a Chinese guy.
I didn't know how to pronounce Diana's Chinese name though so it's Wang Ji yi. (I think)
But thanks to talking to the teachers at my Re-school Kung Fu class I knew how to say "Suun Gui" Election. I bumbled around and admitted to being not that good at Chinese in the political vocaublary. I talked about the fact that she's been doing this type of work for a long time.
"Cui hai mmm hai tong yun ah?"
"Cui hai mm hai Mun ju dong ah?"
I had momentarily forgotten what munn ji dong was. More bumbling because Dong reminds me of long conversations with Sifu about another party but my head got back on right I remembered and I realized he was asking if she was a democrat.
Hai! Hai Mun ju dong!
"Ho! Ngau wui shuun"
April 12. 4 yuet 12 ho.
"Ngau wui shuun cui!"
What is this feeling?
Oh yeah. Empowerment.
and it's something Chinatown, Asians, and the working man needs.
Yeah women too, if that is what will get you to vote for Diana.