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Democracy, a participation sport

Dating Aiyun and contemplating a future together has a lot of facets. One of those is the concept of becoming a citizen of the USA. Along with that is the right to vote. That's something she's never had the right to do. It's been on my mind a lot lately and we talked about it this past weekend. Opinions are important. She's got 'em, and I'm glad to say she's ready to tell you what she thinks. And some things we don't fully agree on. Smoking? It's not for me. It's not for her. However, she is okay with men smoking from time to time, but not women. I've been informed that women that smoke are not good women. Really? Yeah. Well, okay then...

When I broached the subject of voting I tried to describe it as a responsibility. I feel strongly that the American government is we the citizens. If you want to complain about this government, the fault belongs in its citizenry. The government is first and foremost us. It doesn't feel like that often, but it's on us. We have the privilege to get involved. If we choose to sit back and allow things we don't like to happen, we bear the blame. Decisions are made by those that show up and have an opinion.

All the Chinese citizens I've talked to about their government have pretty much the same attitude. Why worry about it? They don't have a say, so it doesn't take up their time or energy worrying about it. It's just something that happens. Like the sun coming up. Like the weather. It happens and it doesn't have much of an impact on their daily lives. It's a an odd dynamic that I'm not used to seeing. At first I was under the impression that the average Chinese citizen feared their government. I see it correctly now. I was wrong.

They're ambivalent towards their government. Many will tell you they're grateful that they don't have to worry about it. The trains run on time. They can afford their homes and food. They feel safe all the time. There are lots of problems we have in the states that they aren't faced with here. This said, there's a downside that I'm not sure I could live with long term. The right to choose some things isn't available to them, including their leaders. Hmmm. I feel like I've got a lot to say about this, but I need to let it stew longer and I'll hit it again at some point when I feel better prepared.

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