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A Hindu-American Democrats Dilemma in 2008

By: Dr. T. R. N. Rao
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Views expressed here are author"s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

(The author is retired Professor - Emeritus of Engineering and Computer Science, and living in Houston)

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This article, I write, is mostly for the Hindu Americans, who have been life-long democrats and who are facing a political dilemma, as I do now. I believe this may be relevant as well to many other Americans. Briefly, I present my credentials for speaking as a life-long Democrat and proceed to express my deep anxiety of that party"s stand. It was in August 1959, when I, a Hindu Indian, arrived from Bombay, India to The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to pursue graduate studies in Electrical Engineering. I had been a staunch Indian nationalist, activist-brand (Lohia) socialist, and a great admirer of the then Prime Minister Nehru and his Marxist foot-soldier, the Defense Minister Krishna Menon. I could never say it openly then, but, in my heart I was a hater of USA and a secret well-wisher of communist USSR. Perhaps, it was because of US strong support to Pakistan in Kashmir dispute which pushed India into the hands of the despotic USSR, or it was due to the US support of colonialist/imperialist regimes, UK and France. The nearly fifty years of life and growth in America, which had given me a superb education leading to a very successful academic career and a profound knowledge of the world, has had a tremendous change in my political awareness. It was a very slow but gradual transformation from a Leftist-ultra-liberal democrat to a moderate democrat to a something else totally different to what I had been for several decades. Am I now to support and vote for McCain -Palin ticket? That is my dilemma. Why such a dramatic shocking change and what caused it is still a mystery of sort. Is it the 9/11 phenomena or the Islamist terror that is sweeping the world over? I beg to proceed.

The political scene of 1960s and the charisma of John F. Kennedy, running for president of United States of America, "Ask not what the country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" reverberated. I had the pride and pleasure of getting Ph.D., and a decade later, in acquiring the citizenship of USA in 1974. Pretty soon I registered as a member of the Democratic Party for good and started thinking as an Indo-American rather than an Indian in America. As I had always despised the Republican Party and their conservative right-wing Christian ideology, and their Pat Robertsons, who stand for proselytizing and conversion factories of the world, it was not so very hard for me to actively participate in campaigns and fund-raisers for the Democratic candidates for the US Congress and President in various states I lived (Maryland, Texas and Louisiana). (Pat Robertson is a bigoted intolerant Missionary that advocates keeping Hindus out of America while denouncing Hinduism as Demonic.) As Loflin Chair Professor, and as the Convener-Founder of Indo-US Forum of Louisiana, in 2001, I came to host fund-raisers in Lafayette, and Baton Rouge, LA for the election of Mary Landrieu for the US Senate, raised a sum of over $25,000 from local India Associations. I paid visits US senators from Louisiana in Washington, DC to successfully bring them into US-India Senate Caucus. Of course, I canvassed among my limited circles, supported and voted enthusiastically for Democrats, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry in all successive general elections.

With this background of forty-two years, now as Professor- Emeritus of Engineering and Computer Science, retired and living in Houston, Texas, I come to face a huge dilemma - call it a shocking change over in my political orientation and thinking. The 9-11 of 2001 and subsequent War on Terror have been the roots of my transformation. With all the faults and failures of President Bush policies with the economy and Iraq war, the United States is, still the place on earth, free from dreaded Islamic terrorism and Americans are safe and can walk free and sleep without fear. It is a credit for George F. Bush and none can take it away. The same can not be said of many countries. My home country, India, where I had been going almost for one month every year for over twenty five years as IEEE and ACM Computer Science Lecturer, has now become, sorry to say, a wretched place. India proudly professes to be a secularist state ideology by allowing its Muslims to have their personal law (Shar"iah), which allows four wives for each Muslim. This "secular" state gives liberally for them a subsidy for annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and gives liberal financial support for the thousands Madarassas (Islamic schools), which teach more Qoranic verses and Arabic, than math or sciences. That country virtually appeases the Muslim electorate with their vote-bank politics. Why then there are many hundreds bombed, dead and maimed month after month, in one city after another by the so-called Indian Mujahudeeen, the Islamic terrorists? Its government is in dread with fear and its Central Cabinet Home Minister has become a scapegoat, a whipping boy from inside his party and outside for the total failure of intelligence security. Contrast this with America, a real worthwhile model of secularism, where the government does not interfere with religion and by and large, "Separation of Church and State" has been its dictum. I have no fear of Islamist bombing. I am proud of being a Hindu-American and proud of my country, America. I can"t say the same for India, which I have a choice to become a dual citizen. But that must wait until I see India becoming a true secular country and free from Islamic Terrorism.

Finally, I come to address the dilemma. Am I to vote Republican, after nearly half a century of my past, first as a sympathizer and later as an active supporter of Democratic Party? The answer is not very hard to come by. Here is the clincher. In the five days of Democratic National Convention at Denver, not once, not even once, I have heard the words, Islamic Terrorism. Senator Barak Obama"s silence on Islamic terrorism is abominable. His connections to Islamic groups may not be true, but every Muslim in America, I have known, is on his side. His twenty-five years of adoration and affections to Reverend Wright is very disturbing. Are their party"s and leaders" stands on being political correct, which are nothing but a fear of being honest and truthful, not sinful? Are they afraid of Leftist liberals who give aid and comfort to Islamists? Can I trust these Democrats to keep my America safe, as Bush has done for the last seven years? I sincerely have grave doubts. The Patriot Act is frightening to all minorities, including Hindus, a model minority of US. But Islamic jihad is nightmarish, a global threat to the civilizations of the world. I had seen more than a few down turns in the economy over the last fifty years and I sure can wait to see the present one pass by without too much panic; and I am pretty sure of a brighter tomorrow. Gay marriages are something I abhor; and Democrats" stand is, at best, intriguing, as the Republicans" stand is very clear. Bush"s policies of strong will and steadfastness in Iraq and Afghanistan are proving that America will prevail and will come out with honor its due. The alternative will be a tremendous boost, a shot in the arm for Islamists, who will go rampaging and intimidating the weak hearts of the world, such as India. The Islamic conquests and the wretched Sha"ria will rule the roost. So I have awakened to the dangers facing America. The Democrats have preferred to keep their eyes closed to the reality, the terror war. I am glad to switch to become a Republican and vote for a safer America and a safer world. Here ends my dilemma.

Dr. T. R. N. Rao

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