Obama, Palin – Identity Politics

As a South Asian looking at this whole election process, I am upset at the people within my community who were affected by the numerous encroachments President Bush has placed on us, are submitting themselves to the same mistreatment again- via Obama.

In 2007, Bobby Jindal, Republican governor of Louisiana was gaining popularity on a number of issues, but primarily because he was an Indian Roman Catholic conservative that in more less words, did not represent his community. Jindal’s position on many issues such as creationism/ID, making Patriot Act permanent, and is completely against abortion with no exceptions. ( I could continue on his positions…) This is just to give you an idea of just how conservative he is, or should I say, just how un-sympathetic he would be to any issue that might come up for immigrants…

The question that came up after his election to governor was this- should we be proud of him because he is South Asian?

NO! Let me spell that out for you again N-O! I was surprised the question even arose, considering the fact that he poses a threat to the security and safety of South Asians. ( I.e. his support for the Patriot Act)  My point is that, if many South Asians could see through Bobby as just parroting the white man’s speak for Louisiana, without truly thinking about how his positions actually might harm people within his community, than why is it so hard not to be skeptical about Obama?

In 2007, I attended Obama’s first rally in Oakland and I wasn’t impressed. He reiterated the same  vacuous jargon that every politician had spoken. nothing even particularly enriching or engaging about his dry speech.  I went because I was curious about this man who had been built up as being mysterious, exotic, and had lived in Indonesia. Obama’s associations with Asia ( via Indonesia and Hawaii) unfortunately seemed to drag people in as if they hoped a Muslim man from Indonesia was running for President. Of course that is an oxymoron on his supporters’ behalf because heaven forbid that Obama, the true Christian, have anything to do with a Muslim.

Bobby Jindal was famous because he was from India and coloured, Obama was gaining support because at various points within his childhood he lived outside continental US.

The point I am trying make is that Obama’s “foreign experience” is just a mere association with his past, and that when he was a child/teenager.  Using minority politics and ethnic labels to justify a politician’s “right” to assume a position is a fallacious argument that will not return a promising yield.  Furthermore, Obama’s situation presents a very interesting but also a very sick dichotomy within American politics. He is revered because he can associate himself with “Asians” but at the same time, Americans continue to label inhabitans from those “other” places as being “backwards.” Now all of a sudden it is politically-savvy to be associated with the Wise East?

If that is the case, than Sarah Palin’s comments regarding her relationship with Russia are valid as examples of foreign policy experience, based on the precedent that Obama’s campaign set up prior to her ascension. Palin’s argument, like Obama’s uses association.

But, Palin does actually have more credibility than Obama, in terms of the relevanacy of her work to the role of VP, this so because at least Palin was an adult when she learned her foreign policy lessons. Obama was not, he was still in his more formidable years, undeveloped and a child. Obama in his young teens was seen at Pro-Palestine rallies….. now he offers unquestionable support for AIPAC, supports the hegemonic regime of America and Israel. His change of face from an angered 20 yr old to a composed Senator implies that the Obama his supporters have created, affected by his younger days,  is not the Senator of Illionois who stands before all.

Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that Sarah Palin is better than Obama, I am simply stating that from the perspective of a minority, it is logically silly to use intangible qualities like “foreign” experience in whatever way to justify a person’s status.

Obama has said on tape, that the bills he supported were almost all introduced by Bush. During the VP debates, Joe Biden also reiterated this same statement swifty, he also said Obama supported bills introduced by Bush as a message to Republicans- we are the same. Obama supported Patriot Act, so did Jindal and so does Palin. All three are staunch conservatives in that regard. Patriot Act does not offer a safe or sound solution to anything; it has created more problems for Americans since its creation.  Also, I feel it is important to mention that Palin who is Pro-Life, is not far from Obama -who does not fully support the right of a woman to seek an abortion.Do we really need surveillance within all our bedrooms? No! Quite frankly, it drives me crazy knowing that my tax dollars that would help put food on my table, are going to support tactics that could potentially imprison me if I don’t watch my words- ie. if I don’t engage in dissent.

Dissent, is the right of everyone that lives within a true democracy and this has been taken away.

Why are you supporting a candidate who will only worsen the aftermath of 9-11 and augment the pain that has been felt within the South Asian/Arab community? As long as you remain frozen, than politicians will always manipulate you. We outnumber the bigots on Capitol Hill, isn’t it time we took them to task?

As if the 2003 Iraq invasion was not enough which has cause numerous calamities, the killing of millions of civilian Iraqi’s for what? Haliburton? Our economic crash! Republicans and Democrats were hoping the invasion would have provided greater access to oil which would in turn be the “benefit” for the cost of invading Iraq. What did we see? We saw increasingly the rights of many citizens being taken away. For Muslims it is necessary to give a percentage of one’s incomes to charities, but now if they do so they may be accused of funnelling funds to terrorist overseas. That is a direct infringement of their first amendment right- the freedom  to practice one’s religion.

Muslims do you not wish you could give zakat and not worry that you will be falsely accused of funnelling terrorism?  Sikhs, do you enjoy having men stand outside gurdwaras surveillancing us? Hindus, do you like knowing that everytime you speak in Hindi someone may report you as “suspicious” to the FBI?

If Obama truly had an experience in Asia that helepd him than wouldn’t he have seen the wreckage of the Cold War? Every country America stepped foot on is suffering now, the massacre in Cambodia under Pol-Pot, Vietnam, North/South Korea, it is terrible! Would he not have learned that peace is a more sound and safe measure?  No because…. If he lived in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-Asian country, would not Obama be sensitive then to the problems Muslims in America are facing? Wouldn’t he have said “No, I don’t have the honor of being Muslim” rather than distancing himself from the community?

Obama supports the Bush Doctrine, just like Palin wants to show down Putin in Russia, Obama  does not have a problem perpetuating this silent war of aggression.

Look at both parties’ statements regarding Pakistan- the missiles have already been launched! How will you face yourself if God-forbid someone from your family is injured from there, and if they knew that you chose that President KNOWING HIS AGENDA.

I urge you to please think about your actions, let Obama know if you don’t want to go to war with Pakistan! I am not saying don’t vote for him, but don’t just sit there and think you have no control, do not submit yourself to mistreatment when these “elected people” are supposed to be serving the American people.

I am not saying, don’t vote for Obama but vote for this and that person, all I am saying is please be skeptical, please look at yourselves in the mirror and ask “Why am I hurting myself?” I encourage people to look at themselves and wonder why are you choosing candidates who do not truly reflect policies that keep Americans safe as figures to “represent” you? Is that how you really wanted to be represented? I doubt it. America’s prestige that we created after WWII has eroded, why make the fall of the empire even more shameful than it has to be…



Curry apologizes for taking so long in posting, Curry functions on IST time, ( Indian Standard Time) so please give me a few hours ( in true speak – a day or two) from normal standard time, to account for my ancestral time zone.


~ by Curry on October 8, 2008.

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