Archive for November, 2012

Obama’s Victory and U.S. Elections — Something for Everyone

November 10, 2012

US Presidential elections is a big deal. It not only involves this country, but the whole world. For this country, it is about which candidate will make them even stronger; for the rest of the world it is more about which candidate is better or worse for them. This is even more important for India given the rate at which jobs are outsourced here and the number of people trying to get to the States every year (as an example, the entire quota for H1B  finished in just one month in 2012, as compared to eight months it took last year).

As a by product of staying in the US, I also got to experience the election fever in this country, follow the live coverage, and interact with a few people (both on the Obama and the Romney side). In general, I loved the way elections are conducted in the US, and here are a few things I liked.

Presidential Debates:

It is one of the best things about elections here. A total of four debates took place (three between the presidential candidates, one between the vice presidential ones) on different topics, but mainly focused on domestic and foreign policy. In my opinion, this is something that every democracy should hold. Narrating speeches during a campaign is an easier job. The masses accumulated in the campaigns are invariably the supporters, and the campaigns are staged and practiced. The candidate knows what he’s going to say, and he has a team to support him.

Debate is an entirely different matter. The candidate is pitched against his opponent, and questions are asked by a moderator. It is the maximum level to which a potential leader of a country can be exposed to the public, and this is usually where all the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate are exposed (in this case, it was how Romney backed off by saying the complete opposite of what he did during his campaign. And his lack of vision of how to achieve anything that he promised). I would love to see this in action in India. However, it is easier to conduct it in the US with only two major political parties. In India, it is a different ball game with so many parties involved, but I strongly believe that such an event SHOULD take place here. It is an absolute minimum of how people can be informed about the candidates.

Enthusiasm of the public:

During the course of the election day, I met my colleague who was worried about the result. He was worried, “what if Romney wins somehow?” There were the same emotions on the Romney camp. We need to develop such enthusiasm about our own elections (I am guilty of the same). Whether we support Congress or BJP or Mayawati, we should know why we support them, and should be worried about the outcome. Thats how we can (start to) make a change. I loved the way people over here would do small things to support their candidate. Even by putting a sticker on the back of their car saying “Obama” or “Romney”. And once they cast their vote in the ballot, by wearing a sticker on their shirt saying, “I voted.” It shows they care. We should too.

Obama’s victory speech:

The first thing that he pointed out during the speech was “I am *your* president.” Yes, president of the people. He followed up by using his great oratory skills to highlight many different things:
– The first thing he said was making the people realize about their responsibilities. That their responsibility does not end by casting their vote. That it is *you* who move the country forward. A country is made by the people, and not the government. Just like a captain is as good as a team. It is high time that to change this approach in our country. It is high time we stop seeing the government as the “ruling” party, and see them just as a “leading” party (the media should take the blame here).

By the way, if you happen to get a chance to listen to Kejriwal’s hangout today, he also believes the same. And while his hangout had the unpolished feel with not a lot of things sorted out (as should be the case with a party in its infancy), it shows a lot of promise.

– I loved his sentence that while we pursue our individual dreams, we rise and fall as one nation.

– US is not just a collection of red (republicans) and blue (democrats) pins, but is the “united” states.

– Whether you carried a Obama flag or a Romney flag, the important thing is you made your voice heard.

– Him stating why the elections matter.

Overall, there are a lot of things to learn from the elections, from Obama’s acceptance speech. It sounds romantic, but even if it achieves 5 percent of what it was originally intended, the speech would be deemed successful. There is something to learn here at every level — for a country, for a government, for an individual.

Obama’s victory speech

Narendra Modi Hangout

Arvind Kejriwal Hangout