The New Voters: Casting a vote for optimism

Yi-Chun Lin. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Yi-Chun Lin. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

This election season The Seattle Globalist is featuring the stories of first-time U.S. voters, asking them why this year has inspired them to register to vote.

More than 20 years after moving to the United States from Taiwan, Yi-Chun Lin finally can look forward to voting on Nov. 8.

Though Lin, a design manager at an architecture firm, has been in America since high school, she finally pushed herself through the citizenship process because she craved a new level of engagement and participation. So, with help from her family — two daughters, ages 5 and 7, and her husband — she was naturalized in July.

“It’s what this country is founded on — having different opinions,” Lin said. And there’s something really amazing about a group of people coming together, she said.

Lin, who supports Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, attended her first political rally this month at The Paramount. She believes by voting and being engaged in the political process, she’s setting a good example for her children.

“They’re fairly young but they have opinions,” Lin said of her daughters.

“As parents we have to protect them and safeguard certain things and filter certain things,” Lin said. But we also have to help them process, she said.

And what if the election results contradict Lin’s vote?

Her family will have a lot of discussions about it, Lin said. We have to put ourselves in one another’s shoes, Lin said.

Lin’s daughters used to boo at mentions of Trump’s name, she said, but she and her husband educated their daughters about respecting other views.

She referenced Maya Angelou (who referenced Roman playwright Terence) on what it means to be human: “I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.” Angelou says that all of us as humans are capable of the same things — positive or negative— but urges us to use that capability constructively.

Lin said it was important she hold herself accountable for knowing the issues and her stance on them, especially during this election season.

“I am, by nature, an optimist and would like to think that we can all somehow effect change,” Lin said.

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Lin’s position at an architecture firm. This has been corrected.