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13 May 2012

EDITORIAL: Can an Indian American become President of the United States?

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By Mike Ghouse


An excellent distinction was drawn by Mr. Ram Narayan, he said, "being successful in America and being successful in politics are two different things."


However, the pessimist assertion that one has to belong to Abrahamic faiths to be politically successful is flawed. It may have to do with two of the successful 2nd generation Indians who chose to be Christians, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley. It is short of making sense with so much anti-Mormon, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim rhetoric around.


Both Jindal and Haley are in the list of possible vice-Presidential candidates, if they were, and would get elected, they stand a chance to become the President of the United States. Hypothetically the vice President is considered the possible president.


The first generation immigrants are still not a part of the society, our interests are narrower, reflective of our own groups, once we become universal in our approach, and put America first, and then we will have universal acceptability from most segments of the American society.
The immigrant Indians, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Sikh, have India's interests first over America's (Remember our behavior after Pokhran?) interests, the Arabs have their own interests over American Interest, and the Jews have Israel's interests first over American interests. Why should the majority of Americans who have American interests in their hearts elect someone whose loyalty to America comes second? Most of us are guilty with dual loyalty.
A comment was made that a Muslim or a Sikh can be president of India, a Christian can be the defense minister, and would that happen in America? The commentator expressed a doubt, if a Hindu or Buddhist will be elected President of the United States.


The story is different with India, where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and others have fought together for Independence; they have given their blood to earn the freedom. India is theirs, no one has an advantage over the other and thank God for that.  India is indeed an open society, we do have our share of bigots like all other nations, but still it is not as blatant with the general population as it is with a few.


Who gets to be the President or Prime Minister of India is not an issue, although the right wing (insecure) politicians have made an issue from time to time.


A few among us are still prejudiced, as they believe, "don't do unto us in America, what we do to fellow Indians back home." 
 
The American story is different, we are all new here, and our numbers have become significant in the last 20 years and we have ways to go.


However, America is an open society, a true land of opportunity, and has done well giving a Catholic, and an African American a break. Despite a few bigots in the Republican Party, Romney will be the nominee; in fact those bigots are back peddling now.


Jindal and Haley are Americans first, they will go against India if they have to, you and I don’t have the balls to do that.  We are too worried of being branded “drohi” by fellow “Desh drohi’s”. To put it bluntly, our loyalties are yet to be tested.


The day, we the Indian Americans demonstrate America first, no one will stop us from becoming the President of the United States.


[Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies where no Indian has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net and his current articles at www.TheGhousediary.com. Mike Ghouse is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Foreign Editor. He can be contacted at MikeGhouse@aol.com]

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