When my grandparents came to this country from China, they came for the dream of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They knew there were more opportunities here for them, their children, and their grandchildren.
But we now have a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy.
Wealthy special interests are corrupting our electoral system and supporting candidates that will support them in return. More importantly, we have a government that does not represent the diversity of our nation, especially the Asian American community.
As an Asian American, I support Initiative 735 on this November’s ballot as a way to protect our community.
At the county, state, and federal level, whites make up 90 percent of our elected leaders, even though 37 percent of Americans are people of color. There are only 11 Asian Americans in Congress, but there would be 31 if we were represented according to our share of the population!
This inequality happens partly because people with extreme wealth tend to be white, and they can support candidates who look, think, and act like they do. Often, this means they are not prioritizing the needs of people of color.
Then, when people of color do run for office, it’s harder for them to raise the money. This makes it much more difficult for us to win policies that would improve our communities, on issues from immigration to education reform.
Even though we have a vote, we are being stripped of our power.
To fix this, we have to overturn Citizens United v. F.E.C. and other Supreme Court rulings that have allowed unregulated, anonymous money to flood our elections. Initiative 735 will make Washington the 18th state to go on record telling Congress to overturn Citizens United and to make sure that all donations in elections are regulated and publicly disclosed.
As a public high school teacher, I want my students and my two teenage daughters to have the democracy they deserve — the democracy they THINK they have when they pledge allegiance to the flag every morning.
Please vote “Yes” on Initiative 735 to help your children and grandchildren get the democracy they deserve. Details on the initiative can be found at wamend.org.
— Jonathan Tong