I was a passionate Democrat in the 90s when President Clinton declared “the era of big Government is over” and constantly championed for “those who worked hard and played by the rules,” celebrated entrepreneurs, and tirelessly worked with Corporate America to inspire investors’ and consumer confidence. His words and actions spurred 22 million new jobs and, with fiscal discipline, he was able to achieve a balanced budget.
Earlier in the 60s, the Democrats won Asians immigration rights and also propelled Americans to land on the moon. In both those eras the Democrats were the “progressives” who moved the needle.
Today, we have a Democratic party and a President who believe not just in equal opportunity but also outcome, who promote our hyphenation to segment us as vote banks, play class warfare demonizing investors, entrepreneurs and corporate America while characterizing hard earn profits and wealth creation as greed. As a result, our economic recovery is in a pause mode. Today’s far left party is more concerned of the rights, feelings, and comfort of those that attack us than the victims. It wants to extend the protections of our Constitution to terrorists by trying them in civilian courts and to celebrate instead of condemning people like Wikileaks creator Julian Assange, who committed treason by revealing sensitive government documents. From college aid to tax policy, there is emphasis on “spreading the wealth” and none on celebrating merit and hard work.
Is the Democratic party of today similar to the politics that we left behind in India? Many of us came to this country because college admissions in India were based on quotas that did not recognize meritocracy.
Others came with the belief that with hard work, ethics, and dreams they could start with a minimum wage job and yet achieve business ownership, something impossible within the permit and quota regime in India.
High-achieving Indian Americans do not need a handout but rather a tax, regulatory, and social climate that promotes risk taking, self-growth, and upward mobility. Despite being the 4th largest ethnic group in the United States, less than 1% of us receive public assistance, more than 68% of us have college degrees and have achieved the highest median household income of any ethnic group.
We absolutely want our schools to promote competition, celebrate achievement, and reward academic performance while still instilling moral values. And, we believe in personal faith, a rule of law and strong national defense.,
It is time for us to question our blind loyalty to the Democratic Party and be open to supporting moderate Republicans who believe in the values that we live by and not the politics that we left behind in India.
Rameysh Ramdas, an SF Bay Area professional, writes as a hobby.
Yes, this desi is proud to belong to the party of the people.
Two parties largely dominate American politics. This forces a variety of opinions and sometimes conflicting ideologies to find a home together. It gives rise to a situation where it is doubtful if either party completely meets a voter’s expectations. The question one must ask therefore is, given the available choice, which party does one find most common cause with?
I am proud to align myself with the Democratic Party. In the last two generations, it has been the party that has been willing to take on the tough challenges of the time and solve them (often at political cost). The party is based on the principles of equal rights, individuality, inclusion, integration, and self-reliance.
Democrats detest privilege, power, elitism, and arrogance. They respect all religions, faiths and cultures, without smugly assuming one is better than another. They believe in the power of education, service to country, taking care of the elderly, support of civil rights and social justice, pro-growth economic and tax policies, a strong national defense, a focus on innovation, and tending to our environment, Is the Democratic Party perfect? Not at all. But elected Democrats have demonstrated their willingness to admit mistakes, change opinions, and accept ideas and solutions from others, including Republicans. If your life has worked out for you the way you planned it, then it does not matter which party is at the helm.
But when you need a helping hand, you want the Democrats in charge.
If you look at the legacy of the Republicans over the past three decades, you cannot but cry for the alternative: horrifying levels of debt, unnecessary wars, numerous missed opportunities for long term investment, racial and religious intolerance (by some elements of the GOP, unfortunately not reined in by the leadership), an insular mindset towards the world, pride in being uninformed, unencumbered deregulation and an irrational attachment to guns. The past couple of years have been difficult for our nation. Yet, in the face of repeated obstructionism, we have made progress on health care, financial reform, civil rights for gays, sensible foreign policy, and educational reform. Yes, there are areas that the Democratic Party can do better, including challenging teacher’s unions or making tough decisions on spending (like Governor Brown has proposed in California). But one party takes its responsibilities seriously and governs, while the other side continues to sit on its hands, looks for easy answers or casts darts (or tweets) from the sidelines.
JFK cast the choices clearly: “..better the occasional faults of a party living in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a party frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” Facing an uncertain future fraught with peril, I believe that the Democratic Party offers the best hope for us to pass on the American Dream to future generations.
Joe Samagond is actively involved in local governance and politics.