Share Your Thoughts

You’ve all met Mr. and Mrs. Immigrant India. They’re well educated,  have family values, work hard, pay their taxes, obey laws and own a home in the best school district. Mr. and Mrs. India are extremely focused on their children who usually end up in top colleges. In other words, they embody the American Dream. But wait—this is not the full picture. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. India don’t know who is on their city’s council, who their United States congress representative is, and worse, don’t care to know. They hardly know the ballot propositions this November.

I live in the Kimber Park neighborhood in Fremont, California part of an ethno-burb where Indians dominate the neighborhood mix. And, yet, at a community meeting for “Save Kimber Park,” held earlier this year, in a packed library at the local school, there were five Indians. It was the final meeting to discuss lobbying at the City Council to prevent rampant development in our own neighborhood! But, Mr. and Mrs. India were too busy to come—after all they were busy driving their children to soccer games, Kumon and Hindi classes. Don’t get me wrong—they will make an exception to volunteer enthusiastically if their time is spent helping their own children. So they will be room parents at the elementary school, and they will learn the rules of baseball to be an assistant coach.

Unfortunately the malaise of apathy is the worst of sins. Indian-Americans are now among the most successful immigrant communities in America. We are no longer a fringe group made up of doctors and nerdy engineers. Indian-Americans are entrepreneurs, artists, chefs, television anchors, teachers, writers, and finance gurus. Their expertise spans every conceivable profession, and many are thought leaders in their respective fields.

It is important to recognize that this success was built on meritocracy, a meritocracy made possible by previous generations of Americans who battled discrimination of every form. If your child can now attend the school of your choice, if you proudly wear your religious symbol on your person, and express your opinions freely, all without fear of discrimination, reprisal, or retaliation, it is not because of pure happenstance. It is because of the tireless efforts of millions of Americans who chose to express their views on what this country should be—through the power of the ballot box.

The right to vote is both a duty and a privilege, and is especially so in this election which I am dubbing the –ism election. Racism and sexism have been in full display. Even Mr. and Mrs. India would have heard about the video this election cycle—the one where Trump bragged about making unwanted sexual advances.

Before the video surfaced, India Currents had planned the November cover to feature photos of both candidates—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with a headline “Vote!”  After seeing the video, the intense outrage we felt prompted an editorial decision to carry only Hillary Clinton’s image on the cover. And so, for the first time in thirty years, we are endorsing a presidential nominee—Hillary Clinton to be the next President.

We’re also asking you to vote for state and local representatives. We’ve made research about State ballot propositions easy—Rishi Kumar, Saratoga City Council member has spelt out the issues on both sides in the article, “Aye or Nay”. Don’t miss reading the thoughts of the “motorcycle guru” Sadhguru on the current elections—a unique perspective indeed! We have a recipe for savory, stuffed pumpkin in time for Thanksgiving, a travel piece on New Zealand for their busiest travel season, and an article on end-of-year financial planning. We’ve got you covered this month on issues big and small!

The publisher, Vandana Kumar, and I are proud to be part of the trendiest group of women this fall—the tribe of nasty women. And we nasty women will vote!

Nirupama V.

Nirupama Vaidhyanathan is a writer, dancer and choreographer. She was the former editor of India Currents magazine.