By Sarala Mundassery
To be the President of the United States (US) is to hold the democratic world's most important job. By foisting the possibility of Donald Trump for that position, we have shamed ourselves. Yes, I cannot resist commenting on the US elections. The last hurrah of the American white male that is represented by Trump seems headed for troubled waters. With the announcement of Tim Kaine as Vice President for Hillary Clinton, the situation will stagnate. It is projected that by the year 2045, whites will no longer be the majority population given their tendency for reluctant reproduction and an ageing population.
I have had the privilege of knowing what freedom and independence mean. More importantly, I have lived through its absence.
I come from a Syrian Catholic family in Eduki district in Kerala. My father, P.M. Varghese was a freedom fighter in what is now the world's largest democracy. He was in hiding for two years before India gained independence and we were a free nation. He would appear at rallies, make a speech and disappear. The police, sympathetic to the cause, would close their eyes. The night before we got freedom, my father, including many Congress leaders were jailed because Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer, the Diwan of Travancore was slashed on his face with a "Vadiwal". I recall being pulled from school to be taken home. The next day we got freedom and everyone was released. My father was an MLA from our district for many years.
My mother was a doctor who was one of the earliest LMP's from Vellore. She practiced from home. I was educated in a local convent school, then St. Agnes college, Mangalore and Pondicherry medical school. I trained in Psychiatry in the USA, was Board certified and have practiced for over 40 years. I retired in December 2015 and now live in Holly Springs, NC, playing golf. I am into Alternative Medicine and Yoga and learning "Yoga as Medicine." I can stand on my head. I am deeply revolted to see that Trump and his team are standing everything that makes America great stand on its head.
I was in Cape Cod last week with my son and family. It was my first trip there. We visited Provincetown, MA. It was where the Mayflower landed after a 67- day journey in extremely difficult seafaring conditions of those days. It is a testament to the endurance, ambition and tenacity of the English. We visited the monument erected to celebrate the landing and the document signed by the members, the prelude to the constitution that would be written years later. Millions of Americans and tourists visit every year.
There was no monument, nor any mention of the Native Americans who must have been there. My understanding from the little history I know is that the "Indians" helped them to survive, taught them to plant corn etc. At the Liberty Park in Manhattan that was renovated under the leadership of Lee Iacoca in preparation for the 200 year celebrations of 1976 you see the map of the US when the settlers landed. Thousands of Native Americans were killed, many tribes no longer exist. It is said that they died like flies when small pox infected blankets were handed out to them.
They had no immunity, not having been ever exposed to it. The few remaining tribes have been exiled to useless land where they eke out a meagre living, having lost everything including their traditions and skills. Alcoholism is rampant, they lack enzymes to metabolise alcohol, get drunk and addicted. There are good and kind souls like some of my colleagues who go work at the reservations. I described this context to make a point about the aggressive nature of white men like Trump who have felt threatened by the "invasion" of the "other" people like us and the black people who had always been subjugated even after the shameful period of slavery.
Now comes Obama, a black president, elected with support from the educated and progressive whites who have a global vision for America. Can you see Trump wanting to "take our country back"? His "base" is the white men with limited education whose blue collar jobs are being either outsourced or eliminated from changes in the energy sources for the future or demands for cheap labor. It matters little to them that most of the Trump brand products are manufactured in foreign countries. White racism underlying the Trump campaign is not mentioned openly except by very progressive talk shows or comedy shows like SaturdayNight Live, Jimmy Fallon, etc. Trump admires that dictator across the pond called Vladimir Putin. This is beyond shame.