Letters from Readers
The fringe has become the core in today’s GOP
In an article in the September issue (“Perspective: What Happened to America?”), the writer addressed a topic of great national importance. Many in the Republican Party, especially among the far right, may be influenced by race and religion. However, the affinity to certain ideologies and political affiliation may have a complex interplay of culture, life experiences, media and social influences, and individual thought process.
I have many Republican friends who are intelligent, hardworking, successful, and good at heart. For many, it may be difficult to change their decades-long affiliation to a political party or ideology.
Today’s Republican Party is nothing like the party of yesteryears. There was a time when I had great respect for the leadership of the Republican Party even when I didn’t like their policies or their lack of a cohesive plan for addressing healthcare, poverty, and immigration. Now I only witness the cowardice of its leaders and their partisanship with their penchant for kowtowing to the fringe. While the unwillingness of Republican elected politicians to address healthcare, immigration, climate change, and gun violence with meaningful solutions is problematic, their words and actions enabling extremism and undermining our democracy are dangerous to our society and our nation.
The fringe became the core and a powerful force in the Republican Party, which is driven by lies, conspiracies, and dangerous anti-government violent rhetoric. I believe that most Indian-Americans do not subscribe to this ideology.
Neither party has the monopoly on good governance or ideal policy decisions that please everyone. I have my share of disagreements with some in the Democratic Party and their rhetoric. However, we need to avoid falling for false equivalency. The riots following police excesses, real and perceived, cannot be equated with the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The former are criminal acts, and the latter is an assault on the core of our democracy instigated by a sitting President.
The Republican pundits and leaders have become adept at disinformation, deceit, deflection, and demagoguery. These are the weapons deployed to destroy democracy. In a recent speech, Republican Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the House, said, “Democracy is on the ballot in November,” and lamented, “Joe Biden and the radical left are dismantling American democracy before our very eyes.” One may wonder whom we should believe.
Catch phrases such as radical left, socialism, and woke and cancel culture have become weapons in the Republican vocabulary to demonize the Democrats. Although a relatively small fraction of the population, Indian-Americans form a sizeable voting bloc, especially in some critical races. Let us hope that Indian-Americans reject the extreme ideology and dangerous rhetoric, and stand firm against the undermining of our democracy.
N. Rao Chava
Failed to see the real reason for boycott of film
The editorial in Khabar’s September issue (“An Ode to Aamir Khan”) failed to see the main reason for the boycott of the movie Laal Singh Chaddha (LSC). I have not seen the movie, but I have seen several social media posts criticizing the film for denigrating Indian soldiers. While Forrest Gump may be popular in the U.S., its Indian version—LSC—is not fitting for the Indian culture where armed forces are treated with great respect and honor. With two hostile neighbors, India’s security is maintained by these courageous soldiers who have been able to stop the Chinese army. Indians take great pride in their armed forces, and that’s why LSC angered them. Contrary to your tunnel vision statement, it was not due to anti-Muslim sentiments; its focus was to show Bollywood that they have crossed the limit of tolerance when they start disrespecting the brave men of the armed forces, whom Indians treat as nothing less than heroes.
When China launched its attack in 2020, the Indian army pushed them back quickly. It was this performance of the Indian soldiers that forced Xi Jinping to propose a diplomatic solution. After several rounds of talks, finally, China pulled back its army to create the buffer zone. The release of this movie at a time when the talks were going on did not sit well with patriotic Indians.
Cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, resulting in loss of lives, fueled additional anger against the movie that shows a terrorist turning into a noble man. That’s the prime reason for the boycott, which, I believe, is fully justified. You also failed to point out that it was a peaceful protest, which is the tool used by citizens in civilized democratic nations. No one burned down theaters or stormed the producer’s home—and nor did they cut the throats of the producer or his associates.
The protest started with one cause, but then other irritants also surfaced that did not cause any protest in the past. They were mentioned to show a pattern of Bollywood’s contempt for Hindus and Bharat. The outrage expressed by Indian-Americans is so out of proportion that one begins to wonder about their motives.
Surendra N. Pandey
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences,
Albany State University
President, Georgia Academy of Science
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