If politics, as it’s been said, is the art of controlling your environment, then voting is the easiest way to exert that control. We vote for candidates who will use their position and power to give us what we want — good schools for our children, efficient transportation, safe neighborhoods, care for our elders, and more. If, after voting, we are still unsatisfied, it might just be time to run for office.
We commend the local Asian Americans who have risen to the challenge of public service, running for seats on city and county councils and school boards throughout King County. Some have been involved in local politics for years, but others — such as Benson Wong, who is running for city council in Mercer Island, and My-Linh Thai, running for Bellevue School Board Director, District 5 — are stepping into the political arena for the first time.
They give a voice to the growing API community by addressing concerns of importance — not just to Asian Americans, but to all residents who want to live in an environment of respectful inclusiveness. It helps, as one candidate said, to have representatives in office who understand the different cultures living alongside each other. This is what candidates of color can provide.
Even candidates with what may be considered “radical” points of view, with seemingly little chance of being elected, deserve your vote if you passionately agree with them. If they lose, those individual votes still add up and bring validity to their viewpoints. This is how “radical” becomes “mainstream.” Your vote is your voice.
Nearly 300,000 Asian/Pacific Islanders live in King County. About a dozen of them are running for office. It is up to the rest of the API community to vote — for them if you like them, against them if you don’t. Be heard. (end)