The True Meaning of the Midterm Elections
By Yin Zheng
The midterm elections are over, and the campaign signs and slogans are gone. However, the memories and lessons learned will stay with me for the rest of my life in the fond utopias of my mind.
This year’s midterms were extremely contentious in Montgomery County. Because of the recently enacted term limits, many people new to the political landscape were encouraged to run as candidates. Voter turnout was high because of differing opinions about President Trump’s policies at the federal level. During the first day of early voting, voters came with emotions running deep. One angry voter pointed his finger at me and said, “You destroyed this country!” Simply because I was standing behind the Republican table.
How could I destroy this country? I love this country and enjoy and appreciate the freedom and democracy in this country, which is why I treasure my rights to express my political views and my privilege to vote independently!
During early voting, I had a chance to meet and talk with volunteers and candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties. As volunteers, we endured long hours, side by side, facing the same crowd of voters, but inhabiting starkly disparate worlds of thought. We debated and argued for our political views and sometimes it got heated. But in the end, we made peace with each other, recognizing that we are good people with different opinions on the direction that the county/country should take. This is the true beauty of the United States that I love.
I also cherished the feeling of being able to serve the people. When I said, “Thank you for voting!” without knowing which party and candidates they voted for, I was proud of myself for brooking long hours in the wind and rain. I guess most voters shared the feeling I had. They often responded with a sweet smile and a “Thank you for your service!” or a “Thank you for standing in the rain” or an “It is a privilege to vote; thank you for volunteering!”
One situation that touched me deeply occurred when a voter came to the polling place and all the volunteers present rushed over to him and took turns to explain why he should take their respective campaign flyers. Overwhelmed but visibly jubilant, he took all the flyers and waved them in the air, saying, “Thank you, I love it, I love it” with the broadest smile on his face.
During this campaign season, I have had a chance to do something I had never done before by helping candidates with their campaigns by raising funds and canvassing. This experience has shaped my views about many issues and transformed my life in brand new ways. It was my first opportunity to truly get to know the county where I had lived for so many years.
While canvassing, I met and talked to so many people and learned about their individual thoughts. Now the street names and numbers are no longer vague to me; they mean something very special - from the grandiose, luxurious mansions to the small, modest apartments, on busy streets and in quiet forests; they were imprinted in my mind...
It was not about winning or losing. It was not about being a Republican or a Democrat; it was a very empowering and positive human experience to connect with residents in Montgomery County through campaigning. I also talked to people from Egypt, Russia, South Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines with whom I had shared similar life experiences before coming to America.
We are Republicans. Like many residents in Montgomery County, we immigrated from various countries because we loved America for what it could provide and wanted this country to be better, more fruitful, and safer for many immigrant generations to come.
God bless Montgomery County and God bless America!