As a freshman in college 4 years back, I was rooting big time for Obama. In the process of doing a project on the life of Dr. King, I had read a lot on the movement for equality for Blacks in USA. When Obama was elected President, I saw that as a victory for democracy. People were able to get over their narrow prejudices of color and ethnicity to choose the best man. It was a high-point for democracy. If India is ever to become a country that we dream of, this will be one of the most crucial requirements. Voters will need to vote on the basis of issues, and not on the basis of caste or religion.
To say that I was shocked by the Republican agenda in 2008 will be a big understatement. Their denial of climate change and slogans like “Drill, Baby. Drill” made me wonder whether these guys never had those classes on Environmental Science in their schools. I still don’t understand how one of the two main political parties in a country with a high rate of literacy and industrial development can be so blatantly anti-scientific. How do they get away with this?
As the election season arrives again in USA, I see no change in the attitude of the Republican leadership. Their callous and boisterous stance on environment continues in the same tone as before. But, the Republican stance on abortion is even more unsettling. I wonder how someone like Todd Akin can remain a viable political figure after saying that ‘legitimate’ rape seldom results in pregnancy. Who knows what the fuck “legitimate rape” means. Republicans have criticized Akin, but they keep pushing for their so called “pro-life” campaign, which intends to put massive restrictions on abortion and sex education in schools. In his column in the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof writes about the confounding stance that the Romney campaign has taken on issues regarding abortion.
Here in India, we often see politicians getting away with everything under the sun on the basis of propaganda that their audience believes in without any questions. What the Republicans show us that this will continue unabated. To draw an analogy, no matter how badly the Congress party messes up further in the remaining period of this government, BJP will focus on Hinduism instead of the ills of this regime in Delhi.
Hopefully, we will improve on ethics and not let gangsters contest elections in future, but that is all that we should hope for. This notion that we will start choosing better leaders as India gets more educated is false.
Is there a democracy where the political parties focus on genuine issues, and not use propaganda which says a big “fuck you” to science? I will keep looking for one.