NRI Pulse


Why we American immigrants should vote

Representative image. Photo courtesy: Georgia State Senator-elect Sheikh Rahman’s Facebook page.

By Dr. Mathew Joys and Anil Augustine

It’s so relieving that in the US there are only two political parties with real federal representation, although independent candidacy is a sure possibility in the North American electoral system. Not that we are ignoring the existence of other political thought streams; however they all are limited to State representations as of now.

The limited choice of electoral selection ideology has its merits and demerits.

When compared to the election process back home in India where there are so many national/federal political parties, comparatively the American election process is very simple. At large these days it is a process of choosing between the lesser evil, it appears!

It’s well said that in the US presidential election, the Ohio or the Florida states gets the final say, courtesy to the interesting “electoral college” voting system of The USA.   Although the 2018 ongoing election is a midterm election, it is of considerable impact. The results of this year’s elections will be enormously important – not just in shaping the future of Donald Trump’s presidency, but in shaping the American political landscape for a great many years to come. There is so much at stake for both the political isles.

Our diaspora is infamously considered to be of less representation and participation in the domestic political process. However there certainly is hope as we are seeing people of Indian origin as candidates being blessed with increased success recently. Republican Governors Nikki Nimrata Haley and Bobby Piyush Jindal as well Democrats Pramila Jaypal and Raja Krishnamurthy Members of the U.S House of Representatives are among the prominent representatives of Indian origin, who successfully achieved political offices in The USA.

With the otherwise default insecurities of an immigrant social mindset, our diaspora generally but unfortunately ignores our voting power. We ignorantly assume that “It doesn’t count for us who ever happens to be in political office” as we are busy and focused earning for our daily bread and footing the bills. In fact, only when in need of a political connection/representation do we realize the precious value of participation in the domestic voting process.

As America has a very well documented electoral process, it is very easy for any politicians to find out our voting history. They may not be able to find whom we have voted directly, but certainly can make out whether you/me have voted in the past.

Our friend. K. P. George, who has been on the county School board and is currently contesting for the position of County Judge in Fort Bend, Houston, TX passionately shared his experience and reason to stand for the public office.

KPG said, as a businessman he was very much involved in society; however, there were times he experienced that he was not treated fairly. He could find out the reason that US politicians are of the knowledge/assumption that we Indians do not go and vote, then what is the point of helping us at the peril of incurring the displeasure of participating folks/herd.  Unless we as a community exercise our vote it is impossible to quantify the political impact and value of our community. He says it doesn’t matter whom you are voting for, but what matters and will make an impact is the registration of your vote. When we happen to go to a Senator’s or Councilman’s office after speaking with you they will ask for a day’s time to respond to our need, the one thing their office certainly look into is into your voting history, for sure.

On a personal note, our 2nd generation children might feel that they are American enough in the inside comforts of their respective homes, however the reality is such that we are neither white enough before the Caucasians nor black enough for the African Americans and not wheatish enough for Latinos either. Hence unless we and our children get out and vote, our community will not be counted in the political system either! It is estimated that there are about 3 million Indians in US, and many have US citizenship. But how many really intend to vote nor interested in the national politics remain a vague situation.

On a large picture, at a time when federal programs such as Social Security that will impact Health programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and the other retirement financial benefits and its uncertainties of future funding, as well issues such as immigration, National debt or Federal deficit is at its alarming status, not participating in the election process is the worst injustice one can injure oneself with as a citizen of this nation.

Especially when 35 out of the 100 in the Federal Senate seats, all 435 of the House of Representatives and 36 out of 50 State governors’ seats are out for grabs, the 2018 midterms is of very much importance!

Further selection of 71 Supreme Court Justices, 6070 State legislature seats, Mayors of about 25 major cities such as Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX too are facing elections this current midterm elections denotes the importance of this peculiar voting occasion.

Health insurance certainly is one of the major issues bothering Americans. The unsuccessful attempt by the 2017 senate to repeal The Affordable care act (better known as Obama Care) is a burning issue for the current administration. It is essential to prevent the denial of healthcare for senior citizens reasoning the excuse of preexisting condition.

With respect to Social security, reports are alarmingly disclosing that by 2034 the reserves are going to be exhausted and thereby benefits are to be reduced by 20%. It’s hopefully assumed that provided republicans are successful to attain majority in the Senate, the Social Security program benefits that is directly influenced by the Cost of living index shall be improved upon.

As well it is essential that the medicine formulation prices are alarmingly increasing than the inflation rate in the country and is to be kept in check. The announcements of President Trump promising to deploy price cuts through the Medicare is enabling a bit ease is a hopeful perspective.

It’s essential that more measures are to be ensured towards Cyber security. Concerns are more to the volatility of exploiting the Senior citizens in these regards. The need of having more effective programs nationally favoring the aged is a real alarming concern of the times. The ideas of Medicare vouchers and Medicaid block grants are blamed to be of helping the big healthcare Corporates to benefit.

Increased allegations of inequality and racial discrimination are the visible signs of the times. Problems of opium drugs and marijuana abuse is on the increase. The slow but steady increase in utility prices of Gas and Electricity too are not good signs of a promising economy for sure.

We hope the newly elected representatives from the November 2018 elections will responsibly act upon these very worries of our people. Hence voicing our concern through responsible representation of our causes through voting is the correct thing to do.

(Dr. Mathew Joys and Anil Augustine are US based journalists.)

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Thomas Padavil November 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Good, a very relevant, timely and responsible article. I appreciate the perspective. Global Indians wherever we are should participate in the voting process, if we are eligible, Thank you.

Mathew Joys November 3, 2018 at 8:15 am

Thanks Mr.Thomas Padavil for your review and appreciation of the article. We have been urging our citizen, especially Indians to vote responsibly.
Thanks once again.
Dr.Mathew Joys

Arnav November 11, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Really timely article about why we should vote and why particularly our Indian-American community should vote. We as a community collectively need to do a better job of making our voices heard and hopefully this article will be able to accomplish that. Thank you!

Anil Augustine December 20, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Mr. Arnav towards the encouraging note; prayerfully hope the article encouraged the least a few among us (on to the affirmative) who were basking on the thoughts on to OR not to exercise their Citizenship vested electoral responsibility!
Appreciating your time and goodwill,
Apologizing for the delayed reply,
Wishing you and yours the joy & prosperity of the season!
Sincere regards,
Dr. Joys & Anil Aug.


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