CORPORATE SWINDLE

Several days ago, I found a newspaper at my doorstep; the headline read, “Senate Gives Corporations Huge Tax Cut.”

I have been laughing about it ever since. The United States claims to be the greatest democracy of all time, “under God,” “of the people, by the people, for the people,” etc. Yet, the “representatives of the people” have just given the corporations 143 billions of the people’s dollars, and not even one senator suggested that the corporations could pass the hat and reimburse the people who were cheated out of their savings and retirement funds by the Enron corporate swindle.

Is the Unites States a big joke, or a cruel tyranny based on the authority of a fictitious majority?

Vladimir Panasenko, San Francisco, Calif.

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THE BETTER CANDIDATE
Now we have all had a chance to see our president face-to-face with Sen. Kerry in the presidential debates. According to most polls, Kerry won all the three debates. We Indian Americans have a great opportunity to elect a smart and responsible man on Nov. 2.

Do not be swayed by desperate, last-minute 30-second commercials from either side. We are educated and responsible citizens. Do you know whose policies helped the immigration of people of color to the United States? Can you think of a single program that benefited immigrants or the poor that was enacted by Republican legislators?

On the other hand, Democrats have a track record of helping immigrant families. In the 1990s the H-1 visa program was expanded to enable qualified foreign technologists to work in the United States. Some were lucky to stay on. Before that, in the 1960s and 1970s they relaxed the visa quotas for doctors and nurses. But for a long time Indian-American medical professionals were meted second-class treatment and denied responsible positions. Our patients always admired our work, though. Now, due to our hard work we have earned respect in our professions. But to continue to be treated on the same level we ought to elect leaders who are not compassionate conservatives only when looking for votes.

Let us elect a man for all people—John Kerry.

K. Thomas Bose, Round Rock, Texas

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DON’T IGNORE MENTAL HEALTH

I appreciate Sarita Sarvate’s honest personal sharing (“In the Cuckoo’s Nest,” IC, October 2004). I hope this article will encourage more people to seek coaching and counseling services. In my many years of work as a counselor, social worker, university educator, and now a business and mental health coach, I have found that too many South Asians treat mental health as a taboo subject. They stigmatize personal struggles and avoid talking about them. Many serious problems, such as acute marital discord, divorce, child abuse, acute depression, and nervous breakdown, could be avoided or better handled if people seek culturally sensitive mental health services on time. I hope more people will seek the right help when they need it. It must be seen as money well spent because letting our mental health slide, just like physical health, will cost too much in the long run.

Meera Srinivasan-Schaeffer, via email

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GAY CHARACTERS

I am happy to see the theme of homosexuality discussed in an Indian forum (“Instances of Disorder,” IC, October 2004). Congratulations, Chitra Parayath, for such a well-written story. Stories such as these help refute the misguided notion that homosexuality is a Western construct and is an aberration to “normal” sexual behavior. This is an alarmingly disdainful belief in some Indian households where gay men and women are coerced into heterosexual marriages. It’s time Indians stopped sweeping matters under the rug and had a more global and inclusive outlook.

Sudarshan Belsare, via the Internet

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HALLMARK OF A NEW GENERATION

I really liked Anand Shah’s article (“Pursuing their Passion,” IC, July 2004) about desis pursuing careers other than medicine or engineering. I am a psychology major so I had to go through the same struggle with my parents and society.

I think this is the hallmark of the new generation of desis; we are not going after money, we are going where our hearts are taking us. I think we have realized that we could choose a safe career and have a nice, safe life, but we would rather be deliriously happy by doing something we love. By the way, that Amitabh Bachchan cartoon cover (by badmash.org) was hilarious! Keep up the good work and continue to follow your heart every step of the way.

Farhana Sobhan, via the Internet

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