Thursday, October 9, 2008

Whose side are you on?

So, a couple of weeks ago, a bunch of us drove up to the Finger Lakes for the weekend. One of my best friends goes to Cornell, so my husband and I stayed with him in Ithaca. Our trip coincided with the fateful evening of the first presidential debate of 2008, on September 26th.

When we reached my friend’s place at 1a.m., he looked wired—full of fretful energy. If he was a teenager, I would have assumed that he had inhaled paint fumes; since he is an adult, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. My dear friend had consumed politics a little too personally. He seemed agitated that evening because Barack Obama was declared the winner of the debate. Just so you know, my friend is more passionately anti-Obama than he is pro-John McCain. He’s on a mission to open people’s eyes about “Obama’s lies and deceit.” My cheekiness didn’t help things either. I kept saying, “I can see Russia from my house,” in an Indian-Prairie accent. It hurt more than when the vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said it.

Anyway, the weekend, aside from wine tasting and gormandizing on food, involved discussions over the current election scenario in the US and the perfect choice for the presidential candidate. Amazingly, all the participants (my friend, my husband, my friend’s French roommate, and I) in the room were ineligible to vote. It goes to show how much these elections matter to each one of us regardless of our status in the country.

Sure, in the moment of passion, I was expressive in my satirical humor towards Sarah Palin. Why wouldn’t I be? Her ridiculous attempts to prove her familiarity and credentials with foreign policies were almost blasphemous. In India, I can see dogs and cows from my house. That doesn’t make me an expert veterinarian or a zookeeper. Not to forget, her classic interview with Katie Couric. Palin couldn’t answer Couric’s one basic question (repeated thrice with exasperation) about quoting specific examples of when McCain pushed for regulation in his political career of 26 years. Her response was, “I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.” Did Palin believe that she was a polite, diligent employee in a suburban store and Katie was a customer asking for gourmet ham? What kind of response was that? I guess her overall choice for words, “Doggone it,” and “betchya,” aren’t too classy either.

My friend thought I condemned Sarah Palin because I am different from her. My inability to relate to her “hard life,” middle-class vocabulary, and mannerisms made be skeptical of her. He felt I didn’t understand what Palin represented—a self-made woman who was the first from her family to go to college and work two jobs while I got to travel to Europe as a child and study at an Ivy-League.

He couldn’t be far from the truth. No one knows hardships better than an Indian woman. We are torn between two extreme cultures, demanding roles, societal obligations, and our split personalities (one for the older generation, one for our friends, one for our coworkers, and one for the generation younger than us). We constantly struggle to let all these personalities coexist in one body and that too with a smile. So just because Palin chose the life she did, I don’t think I need to “understand” where she comes from. She made her choices; our choices are made for us.

I am not appreciative of Palin because she seems unfit for the position. She lacks the experience and the diplomacy required for the job. Sure she looks hot, but we aren’t talking about vice-presidential candidate for Playboy here! Do we want another person like President George Bush to learn on the job at our expense? While these politicians decide our fates with their experiments, we, the public (pawns), spend sleepless nights fearing our jobs and mortgage payments. People who live in New York can relate to my plight as it’s a truth we deal with on the subway, at work, at home, and on the streets.

Why just deride Palin? Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden has been unkind to Asian Indians with his racial slip. No amount of apology can convince me that he is not a bigot. Call me arrogant, but Asian Indians are one of the most influential minority communities in the US, and I am proud of it. We work hard to go to an Ivy-League or travel to Europe for that matter. Who cares if Biden won the vice-presidential debates! The democrats lost a few Asian Indian votes because of Biden's insensitive sense of humor.

The November elections in the US have become a global point of anxiety and concern. I am not a political fanatic. I base my opinions on candidates depending on their viewpoints on the issues that matter to me. I have to say, Obama’s unconfident stutter and McCain’s excessive use of “My friends,” at the second presidential debate made me nervous.

Honestly, if I had my way, Bill Clinton would still be the president of the United States. Since that won’t happen, I got to pick from the available line up. I have been invited to several informal fund-raisers, and I have attended none of them --maybe because I don’t support any of the candidates totally. I wonder if I am relieved because I can’t officially vote. From my perspective, the choices available are a compromise. That said, I am curious, who are you rooting for?

More until next time.

Copyright © 10.09.2008

"When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it." ~Clarence Darrow


Anonymous said...

Obama all the way babby!

peacelover said...

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Manni said...

Definitely Obama has got this game under control there is now no stopping for him. I am not sure why many are looking with suspicion upon Palin as for me she is intelligent and is charismatic , give her a change to prove it. So far She has proven to a successful leader in Alaska.

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Anonymous said...

Well, the election is about issues and the plans both the candidates support. I agree with Obama on domestic and foreign policy, fiscal policy and health care. John McCain is a big liar.

Anonymous said...

obama is no less. he a liar too.