Author:  James Zoebell

Before you get too deep into this article, I have a confession to make. English is not my first language and in my mother tongue, we call the United States a “beautiful country,” Mei Guo. And yes, even though I’m physically in the United States and writing in English, I am a coward and I have to use a pen name to protect myself for obvious reasons. As an international student from the Communist China, I came all the way to admire this country established by George Washington and other founding fathers on the ideas of representational democracy, check and balances, as well as fundamental rights, such as free speech, due process of law, and freedom of assembly. To many foreigners, including me, United States has been shining as a beacon of hope and a constant reminder that these ideas and pursuits really exist even though they are currently absent wherever we originally came from.

Like many of you, I have been completely upset and shocked by the unfolding reality since January. The free and quality American life is long gone and so many elements in our daily lives that we have taken for granted suddenly disappeared. This pandemic has crept upon and exerted so much impact on us. Many Americans have lost family members and loved ones in the past few months. A lot of folks might have been furloughed or let go. Supporting yourself and family has become a daily struggle. There are no Hollywood blockbusters and no hang-outs with friends anymore. For the past few months, we have to cover our noses and mouths with this weird thing called “mask.” Worst of all, so many shops and public facilities require masks for entry. Why? How come! We are in the 21st century, enjoying all the great inventions and cool gadgets! How did we end up here today? Let us not forget, this has all been caused by a virus called SARS-COVID 19.

In 2020, there has been a “perk” of being a Chinese in America. You get to experience the pandemic twice, first worrying about your families at home and then dreadful about your own situation in the US. When it first broke out in Wuhan, Central China, I was traumatized by the first-hand videos shot by citizen journalists, like Fang Bing and Chen Qiushi, documenting situations in Wu Han, and worried about my family in other parts of China. On 23 January 2020, China’s central government had to declare a lockdown in Wuhan, a “draconian” move deemed by western media. While driving back home on the night of Feb. 6 and listening to a BBC radio program, I broke into tears upon hearing Wu Han residents blowing whistles dark in the night commemorating Dr. Li Wenliang. Li is a good-faith doctor who tried to sound the alarm on Jan. 3, 2020 over Chinese social media, but was reprimanded by local police and tragically died from Covid, leaving his pregnant wife and family behind.

Here in the US, I felt relieved when Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spoke on a White House press conference in mid-Jan., “at this point this risk for Americans remains low.” On another occasion, when interviewed by radio show host John Catsimatidis, Dr. Fauci observed “it’s a very, very low risk to the United States.” However, America and the rest of the world soon found themselves ill-prepared in the following months when facing soaring cases and strained medical facilities and staff. Today, according to the John Hopkins University’s Covid19 data tracking website, United Sates is witnessing 9,949,530 Covid cases nationwide and 237,542 deaths. These numbers mean more than mere statistics, but someone’s dear family and loved ones.

Yes, a lot of us have long been puzzled and shocked with how quickly the situation evolved and worsened worldwide. On top of that, government agencies and elected officials have seemed to disappoint us in managing this unprecedented global health crisis. For some, Nov. 3rd 2020 has been an opportunity to effect change here in the US. The whole nation has been galvanized by ongoing ballot counting. While the media was unable to identify either candidate with 270 votes on the night of Nov. 3rd, President Trump and Candidate Joe Biden both claimed victory subsequently, thus creating tensions nationwide.

While observing the whole process from campaigns to rallies, numerous ads tailored for various groups and election night coverage, I have been amazed the passion and enthusiasm from both sides. This is something that one cannot possibly fathom doing in an otherwise totalitarian system. Yes, the guy in the White House is not my president. I may have been offended sometimes by some of his seemingly “xenophobic” statements. But I suspect he might have something more to say, but cannot articulate it explicitly regarding its origin given the circumstances in politics. Why does this presidential election matter for me? This democratic process and due process of law are something larger than the United States of America and is the latest test of the resiliency of a political system based on representation democracy.

Few would dispute the ultimate authority of the constitution regarding the operation of the United States. Article II Section 1 reads “the electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate”. At the point of writing, individual states are still finalizing their ballot counts. Louis Jacobson, PolitiFact Senior Correspondent, recently pointed out in his article that federal laws allow states “more than a month after the election to finalize the results.” Further, “Congress officially counts the electoral votes in a joint session at 1 p.m. on Jan. 6.”

In Biden’s speech on Saturday night, he pledged “to be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify”. I ask, when so many Trump supporters gathered on multiple cities to voice their concerns, what is a better way to “unify the nation” other than listening to the people who voted otherwise and giving Trump a due process of law? The “disappointment” among many Americans as Biden mentioned takes time to heal. “The whole world is watching America!“

Reviewer: Ivy