Monthly Archives: October 2008

Enough Already -let’s be done with it!

I am so exhausted from all the political ads, the stupid flyers in the mail and on my door (I have counted at least 100) and of course, the phone calls. Those make me insane – mainly because they are pretty intrusive. Leaving a flyer versus calling someone at home after 8pm – hmmm. Anyway, enough of the debates, the political ads, the polls and the pundits. I am ready for Election night and a concession speech. I am ready for a President-Elect already and let’s all move on. Not that we will ever really move on but I am just ready for it to be done with.

I like the story my husband told me last night- one neighbor has a McCain sign, another neighbor has an Obama sign, and the guy who has the house in the middle made his own sign – “They both suck!” Granted, I do not think they both suck but they are of course, politicians. Despite giving a few donations and buying some stickers and signs, I still get emails daily from the Obama camp to donate money. Despite my friend in California giving them tons of money, as we enter the last 5 days of the campaign, she has been hounded with calls for money. My brother has donated enough for all of us I think and I am pretty confident Obama has the money he needs considering he could run a 30-minute infomercial on several networks 6 days before election day. Come on! Enough Already – let’s just get to 4 Nov and be done with it. Of course, as we learned in 2000, it took several weeks for it to be over because it dragged on and on and on and on. For the sake of the nation and its sanity, I hope that does not happen again this year. I want to go to bed Tuesday night and know with confidence that we have a President-Elect otherwise, I think I will lose my marbles.

And if I see one more “Boulder Liberal” Mark Udall ad, I will lose it. But, alas, until 4 Nov, I am sure I will. It is just crazy and I even have dreams about this crap. I cannot wait for November 4th – hope you can’t either- see ya then! I will be the one holding a sign that says, “It’s finally over! The Best People won (hopefully they really have)- now, let’s get on with the show.”

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Beggars cannot be choosers

After about 6.5 years without internet, the Agency I work for finally got internet restored. Believe it or not, this Government Agency was without internet (court-ordered, might I add) for 6 years. Now, it is back but not completely restored. Sometimes, we cannot send or receive external emails – for some reason, the email server is not that great. And, while we can access some websites, we cannot access sites you would think are pretty routine. For example, if you go to the local transit site and try to google route a map, it is blocked but then I can turn around, and go to google.com and then do public transit and get the same information they block. Weird. Midas.com is also blocked. Not sure why. I just want to take my car in to get the brake pads replaced. My OB/GYN website is blocked. I discovered that when I tried to print out some information I needed for my health appointment tomorrow. Odd. This Agency also cannot figure out how to unblock mapquest.com. I guess it does take a rocket scientist sometimes to do simple things at the Agency or Bureau level. Other bureaus within our own Agency can access google and chat is just disabled. We cannot access Gmail because our rocket scientists have not figured out how to unblock chat so they just block the whole site and all the great features that go with being able to log onto Google.

It is frustrating because one week I can access a site and the next week, I cannot. It just seems odd to me what the “tech-gurus” think official business is and what they think it is not. I am glad I can access hooters.com though just in case I get a hankering for those hot wings. But, Midas, now that would be bad since I have to take my car in for a brake job. I know, I am being sarcastic but it is ridiculous. I guess I cannot complain too much because I can access yahoo, learn what is going on in the world, and do google searches even if I cannot access the search. It is still exciting to have internet back and while it is not perfect (most things in life are not), I guess I will do without and learn to deal, perhaps use 411 every now and then when I cannot access something and maybe occasionally, get some work done.

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It may truly take a village

I remember when Hillary Clinton first coined the phrase, “It takes a Village”, through her book on the concept of how so many people shape the lives of children, not just mom and dad. It is a really good read on what it takes in our modern society to raise children, what an amazing gift parenthood is, and why it truly takes more than just the parents to raise a child. No matter how old, a child is shaped by her parents, the grandparents, the neighbors, the kids in school or day care, the minister or pastor, the policeman who was kind to the child, the teacher, the doctor, and the friends of the parents.

The philosophy of “It takes a Village” is not new to the rest of the world but may be to many Americans who often feel isolated from friends and family. Living states apart, Americans are more novel to the concept of the Village than European or Asians.

I started to wonder if the “village” your child is raised in impacts his or her development – education, learning skills, feelings of security, and self worth. My mother has been helping us with the care of our daughter on and off since her birth. We get visitors from my side of the family and my husband’s and we often travel as well to see relatives and expose our daughter to her cousins and aunts and uncles. When my daughter is not in the care of my mother or us, she goes to a private home where she is the only child being watched by a couple who do not have grandchildren of their own. They are multilingual and of my culture so she is exposed to that as well. While futile with work and activities, we try to expose our daughter to neighborhood kids and friends’ kids – most of whom are not Indian. But I truly started to wonder now that I have my own kid and will soon have a sibling for our daughter if the village will shape our daughter’s life. I know we will definitely have an impact on her but does it take a village?

I think it does. While parents can discipline and educate their children, children learn very early to be defiant and independent and they will form their own opinions on foods, issues, and what they think is a good bedtime :-0 Children will explore the world outside the home and learn about its people – good and bad. Children will often make mistakes and learn from them. How others’ interact with your children does shape their lives and now that I am living through this, I truly believe that it does take a village.

My daughter is more secure when she is not in a day care environment. She loves when we have visitors and the house is partially filled with relatives and friends. Granted, she does not like crowds but there is a sense of security that permeats her being when we are all there- maybe not doing anything but just there. She feels secure from the type of care she receives. If in the home or private home, I tend to see her acting more secure and happy. At a center, she is lost and often feels the need to be clingy, displaying her insecurity to me when I get home. How she is treated by the world around her impacts her well-being, her creativity, her attitude, and her eating habits. Parenting is a joy and it is a gift from God but in assessing my own parenting skills, I have learned a lot from the last year and a half as well. How I react to my daughter makes a difference in how she reacts to me and the world around her.

I am so thankful to be a mom and share in parenting with a partner who is equally thrilled to have a child and as I take this time to reflect on the last year and a half, I realize that it takes more than me and more than my husband and that continuously my daughter will be exposed to the world around her which will also impact her growth and learning and it is my job to understand and even assess the “village” we place her in, the “village” she finds herself in, and the elements in it. While I do not 100% agree with Hillary Clinton’s political views, I did enjoy the premise of her book and agree that when it comes to children and their development, it does take a village.

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The subconscious Factor or something else? Part II

CONTINUED ….

Despite witnessing these troubled times and being the butt of discrimination themselves, these immigrants overcame adversity in a country that may not have welcomed them and tried to see the good in people. The discrimination was on many fronts – color of their skin, the way they talked (the accent), the clothes they wore, the food they ate, and/or their religion, but alas, they adapted and overcame and in a way, “melted” into society. I find it hard to believe that these same Americans would even consider voting for McCain. Is it simply for economics? Are these Indian-Americans federalists (because McCain is no federalist if you look at his record)? Or, do they just like that this guy? What is it that drives these retirees or soon to be retirees to vote for this man?

I did not want to consider it but the ugly truth hit me in the face when my mom said something during the RNC – “Cindy McCain is so much more a lady than Obama’s wife” – yikers! Could they be in love with the white image? The blonde-haired, blue-eyed all-American girl married to the WASP fighter pilot maverick, jock? Of course, these are the same people who disliked Hillary because she is outspoken, domineering, and kicks ass – just not very lady like. After all, her place to be quiet and sweet – clap on command for her hubby. So, is this cultural or something else? Partially speaking, I think they like McCain and the ticket because of culture. But mainly, I think, they do not want to vote for a black man. Let’s all face the truth- there are some in this country who do not want their prime time TV shows interrupted by a black man. It is hard to watch with so much ugly history in this country.

For the immigrant, psychologically speaking, he or she tends to “fall in” place – in order to fit in, in order to play the game, and be part of the crowd, they befriend those who give them political advantage and social status. I can count on one hand the number of black friends I have. Why is that? We all have preferences for lots of things- soda, lunch food, fruits, etc. I think, whether we admit it or not, we have a preference for color too. Among those are discriminated against, it is preferrable to prefer the discriminator over the other guy who may also being discriminated against. After all, they’re not picking on me so I might as well join in and pick on the guy who they’ve moved onto. This syndrome occurred after 9/11. South Asians had to defend themselves and try to educated others, “I am not ARAB. I am not Muslim, I am Hindu”. After all, since it was another “evil” minority group, it was okay. Men with turbans had to defend that they were not Iranian or Iraqi. The sad truth is that some minorities were relieved that the discrimination focus was taken off of them. Blacks who were historically discriminated against now could join in and fight against the Islamic terrorists.

I can’t help but wonder if subconsciously, the people who are voting for McCain among these demographic groups do so because they agree with him on anything or have anything in common with him- heck, they might even get hurt by his policies, but I wonder if they vote for him and the ticket because they just feel more comfortable with the norm- what they have seen for these past 50 years- a white male running the show and keeping the status quo. After all, the comments we heard from many Indians after Gandhi got them independence from the Brits was … “we were better off under their rule.” WHAT!? Are you kidding me? We as humans get so used to and so conditioned by what we see, what we experience, and the brain washing, that we quickly forget our basic inalienable rights- the basic human need to be free. The other thing that baffles me is the education level and skills of the two Presidential candidates. Immigrants from South Asia value education and getting high marks in school. They value intelligence and degrees. If they looked at the candidates, only two fit the mold of being the BEST of the BEST – Obama and Biden. McCain was a goof-off in school and crashed fighter jets in the Navy. He did not have a masters degree. He cheated on his first wife with his current and defiled family values that immigrants hold dear. Hunting and fishing and killing live animals is not valued among those same immigrants either. Another interesting point many may not know is that Joe Biden is a huge – HUGE supporter of South Asian ideals and work ethics. He has visited India and considers the Indian community in a very positive light. He and Obama support India more than they do Pakistan and would like to change foreign policy in that region. A change I welcome and support. McCain will continue more of the same which has occurred for over 2 decades now- support to Pakistan financially and in spirit. In return, Pakistan will pay us back (not financially) but through continued support of terrorism and madrasas, home grown and supported through our tax dollars.

What will happen in this election, I do not know but I know race, like it or not, is a HUGE factor to many and to some who do not admit it, it is that silent factor that still affects the choices they make. I just hope enough people in our generation can pull it off for the right person for this job – for the sake of positively impacting the only country we have known all our lives.

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The Subconscious Factor or something else? PART I

This is a long blog so I divided it up into two parts. I am posting Part I here and will post Part II shortly. I hope you enjoy the thoughts of someone who maybe does have too much time to think.

Part I

Mohandas K. Gandhi (before he was the “Mahatma”) rode on a train in South Africa, only to be thrown from it with his luggage out of the first class compartment because as a minority, he belonged in second class compartment. Gandhi refused to move at the request of the white British guard. He was moved. In fact, he was so moved by what happened in South Africa and subsequently in India, he decided enough was enough – how long would tyrannical rule and discrimination against minorities like South Indians continue? The discrimination he fought was at the hands of the British but here in America, some twenty years later, following in Gandhi’s footsteps of peaceful nonresistance and nonviolence another movement began to free Blacks from discrimination in America. Separate but Equal was alive and well in Alabama schools until very recently (1990s) – hard to believe? Segregation of women is a reality in Islamic society especially at religious sites but segregation based on the color of skin seems far-fetched to those of us raised in the 80s. The truth is while we do not openly condone segregation or discrimination, it is still alive and well in America and the victims of past discrimination, in my opinion, tend to be the worst in discriminating against those who are different from themselves. Before I go into my theory of why minorities discriminate against other minorities, I think a little background is essential of how I got the privilege of becoming a first generation American.

Lyndon Johnson did a lot to open the gates of immigration for South Asia, enabling my dad and others like him to immigrate to the United States and pursue an education. The gates opened in 1965 for Asians, and or better or for worse, immigration is a phenomenon that has defined America’s history and has in many ways, shaped the role America plays in the global economy. I think immigration to America is a good thing, bringing so much to this country that others cannot claim. Despite 9-11, Americans need to realize that not all immigration is BAD immigration – in fact, most immigration in the U.S. has revitalized and had a positive impact on the economy, on schools and education, and on the political system. Even granting asylum to those in need is a positive thing. After all, America is a country founded on immigrants.

Focusing on my dad’s generation, I could not help but wonder how the immigrants who came over here after 1965 were voting in this election especially since this is the first chance they have had to vote for a minority Presidential candidate. So far the results are mixed and like this election, quite close. Out of the people I have surveyed or talked with, most are Obama supporters – not just because they want to see a minority in office but because of his liberal views too. Then there are those who are McCain supporters. I wonder why? These Baby Boomers who left their native country in the 60s and early 70s are of retirement age or already retired and some relying on Medicare. Most are making a modest amount of money because of one bread winner in the household and are considered lower to middle income. Most went through and saw a dark period in American history – not just Vietnam and the post-Vietnam fall out (mistreatment of Veterans) but also the struggle for Civil Rights in our nation – something those of us born in the mid 70s and early 80s did not get to witness or experience. As I discussed previously, these immigrants if they came from the Subcontinent of India saw the end of British rule in India and grew up in a new India, free of British rule and tyrannical actions. But they also grew up in a divided India where Hindu-Muslim riots and violence was a daily or hourly event. They may have seen bombings and segregation in Northern India as well as Punjab and the region of Kashmir which is still highly disputed. These same people came to the U.S. at a time when they saw Gandhi’s principles echoed by Martin Luther King, Jr., Who sought to end segregation and tyranny against blacks in America. They came to America at a time when Vietnam divided the nation and worse, they came at a time in America when there was not much knowledge about who they were except “foreigners” – were they Iranian? Iraqi? What is the Indian culture after all in the 60s and 70s in America? It was new… it was unchartered territory but they endured and perservered because they wanted a better life for their children and their children’s children. (To be continued … in Part II)

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