Category Archives: United States
Surprise, surprise, this is (kind of) a politics related post!
If you are anything like me or if you think even a little like me (I hope you are, I hope you do – otherwise why bother reading my blog?), then I guarantee that you will want to shoot me when you read this post. To make it easier on you, I give you permission to just shoot me now.
This is the most inconceivable thing that I could have ever imagined writing! It’s not so hard to imagine that I would be writing about politics. But the subject at hand and especially my opinion on this topic…that’s what is so unbelievable.
First, let’s rewind to the depressing pre-Obama era of the United States. [If you are a right wing nut, I’ve lost you now. But bear with me. It just might be worth your sticking around].
Anyway, back to pre-Obama. You do remember who was President, right? Not just for one, but two, extremely painful terms in office, after first stealing the election away from Al Gore. Yep, my opinion on that era or on who presided over this country has not changed one iota.
Last week, I was in an interesting position.
Attending a rather cozy (as opposed to huge) industry conference, I had the opportunity to attend the keynote presentation by none other than George W Bush. The reason it was such an interesting position to be in was because it was so conflicting.
On the one hand, given my low opinion of President George W Bush, why would I take the time to attend?
Yet. This man was after all once the President of the most powerful nation in the world, a country that I live in, am a citizen of and love. So, should I simply pass up this opportunity to watch and listen to an ex-President, up close and (almost) personal just because of my low opinion of him?
I made the smart choice. I attended the keynote in spite of my low opinions and expectations.
It ended up being not a keynote presentation behind a lectern but more of a “fireside chat” format (see the picture below from this conference) where a company executive sitting beside him asked President Bush some friendly questions. Even if he knew what some of the questions were, this was clearly off the cuff and unrehearsed on his part.
It was a warm crowd for him, given that the setting was among his home crowd of red-Texans. And he was obviously in his element. Yet, even knowing that all of these factors would enable a stellar performance from him, he still threw me for a loop. Which actually goes to show how low my opinion was.
Let me describe what my opinion of W was after witnessing this ~75 minute conversation, live and in person. That’s when (if you’re anything like me, or think like me), you get all flabbergasted, irked and irritated at what I am about to say.
[Opportunity #2 – so, you can just shoot me now instead and get it over with].
To say that my opinion of the man “changed” is an understatement. During that 75 minute conversation / interview, here are words to describe my quick impressions of W, some of which likely come as much of a surprise (shock?) to you as they did to me –
- Amusing, droll
- Smart as a whip
- Quick (as in, quick and spontaneous in his responses)
- Caring, warm
- Hilarious at times
- Content and happy with life
- A family man who adores his dad
- Extremely faith-based in how he thinks and lives
- Humanitarian, philanthropic (focused on veterans)
- Charming and witty
- And did I say, smart?
I guess one thing you can say about me, I do have an open mind. 🙂
By the end of that interview, I was confounded. There was no question that my impression of the man had changed. Not completely, but still…it struck me how quick we are to judge people (especially those in politics).
Does my opinion that he was bad for us as President remain? Absolutely. But behind that opinion were several other opinions of the man himself that were either misinformed, biased, or both.
I’m not planning to join his fan club or buy his paintings. [One could say he’s a talented portrait painter, where your art involves copying existing photographs in oils – we were shown a preview video of his paintings; he has painted most of the world leaders he knew and worked with. He is also the first person to say that his signature is more valuable than the paintings].
So back to the question, what now? I guess, now, if someone said I was going to buy one of his books to read, I wouldn’t LOL out of hand. It’s quite possible I may, some day.*
[Opportunity #3 – this is it. Your last chance. Shoot!].
* I’m done with reading all 22 Jack Reacher novels in existence and don’t see any new ones on the horizon, so…
“Maybe it’s time to just scrap the word “racist.” Find something new. Like Racial Disorder Syndrome. And we could have different categories for sufferers of this syndrome: mild, medium, and acute.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
It’s a beautiful midsummer day, heading into the weekend. I am driving from one hometown to another in the scenic, green hills and dales of the rural south. The sun is shining bright, the day is simply perfect.
And then out of the blue, an ugly sight comes into my line of vision. It’s a huge, old pickup truck (nothing wrong with pickup trucks…) but behind it displayed rather proudly, swaying in the wind is a huge Confederate flag. Very, very ugly.
Ever since Charleston, I have seen these “proud” displays of the Confederate flags, usually on pickups, and one time displayed on the front of a vintage Corvette, rather like some exotic headgear. I am pretty sure all of the vehicle owners were Southern red necks because after all, they were all spotted in the South.
What pleasure do these guys get to shout out to the world around them – “Watch me! I’m a stupid, ignorant, hick” ?
Their lack of sensitivity and their blatant racism makes me so angry!
And then I got to thinking. Why am I so outraged at this display of the Confederate flag?
After all, I come from a country that is full of racists. I should be used to it. In India, racism exists in all forms. It is also much more blatant and overt, and even in the most liberal setting, it still exists.
There is racism along lines of caste, religion, creed, class, region (let’s not forget the whole North-South thing), and yes, color. The list goes on and on. Nobody can deny it.
[You may want to read this: India is racist and happy about it and India has Been Ranked As One Of The Most Racist Countries In The World, Here’s What Makes Us So ]
Here in my adopted country, I get so incensed when I see the mere display of a Confederate flag.
Yet, to be perfectly honest, I don’t see myself getting as emotional or aggrieved in India where racism is more accepted and endemic in society and culture. How come?
Now, just thinking about this, it shames and saddens me greatly that I appear to implicitly be accepting of it there. But I truly don’t have any good answers as to why I do. Time for some deep introspection…
“Beneath the armor of skin/and/bone/and/mind
most of our colors are amazingly the same.”
By Donald Lee Pardue (Flickr: Still Waving) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons