Category Archives: Politics

Who really killed Laquan McDonald?

We know that on the fateful night of October 20, 2014, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 bullets into the body of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Officer Van Dyke was charged with 1st degree murder. The criminal investigation will take its due course. It is highly likely that Officer Van Dyke will be convicted of 1st degree murder, and based on evidence at this point, rightfully so. Van Dyke was at one end of this tragedy, holding a gun in his hand, firing bullets. But why did those bullets meet the body of a 17 year old teenager who had a knife in his hand and was breaking into vehicles and slashing tires? Answering that question is critical to answering who really killed Laquan McDonald.

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child and similarly, it took a village to kill a young black teenager. Failing social support structure, lack of political leadership for the south side, teacher’s unions unwilling to take responsibility for failing schools, racially motivated police force, lack of employment opportunities, incarceration rates for young black males, and lack of individual responsibility all combined to make sure that Laquan McDonald was at the other end of those bullets the night of October 20, 2014. But let there be no doubt about it – if not that night, he would have been at the other end of bullets some other night. Instead of Officer Van Dyke, it would have been a different officer or a gang member firing those bullets. Or he would have ended up incarcerated. He was marked man – one way or the other and we know that he is not the only one.

Why then all the anger is focused on the Chicago PD or Officer Van Dyke? Because that helps everyone else in the village escape culpability – the culpability that comes from betraying Laquan McDonalds of the world. But focusing only on the source of bullets and not on what put Laquan McDonald on the other end of those bullets, we will never solve the root of this problem – we will merely keep hacking at the symptoms of the problem.

The 10 conservative principles

The 10 guiding principles of present-day conservatives (in no particular order):

  1. State and local rights are great – until those rights go against my beliefs. Thus, it is conservative to have local gun control laws be trumped at the federal level but it is liberal to have federal government mandate gay marriage rights.
  2. Government is bad – until it is used to enforce beliefs that I like. Thus, it is conservative to have the government peep in my bedroom, but liberal to enforce gay rights.
  3. Deficit spending is bad – until it is done to reduce taxes or pay for unneeded wars.
  4. It is not judicial activism if the conservative judges do it.
  5. Reagan could do nothing wrong – in fact, he was the one who proved that deficits don’t matter politically, as long as they can be spun the right way.
  6. I am righteous and you are a moron.
  7. “I heard Rush Limbaugh say it” ought to end any argument where you and I disagree.
  8. Melting ice-caps and glaciers are hoax – “I heard Rush Limbaugh say it”.
  9. Entitlement spending is bad – unless they are my entitlements.
  10. Down with high taxes – even though most conservative states end up taking in more dollars per capita from the federal tax base than they pay in.

Do you have suggestions for other principles that guide present day conservatives?

The real significance of the ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign

Now that the Valentine’s Day 2009 and the Pink Chaddi campaign is in our rear view mirror – it’s` a good time to analyze the real significance of the campaign and what it portends for the Indian society. The campaign, if you want to read the tea leaves, shows why India has never been and never will be Talibanised, why it will never become a Saudi Arabia, an Afghanistan or a Pakistan.

There is a strain in the Indian population, that views any sort of extremism with extreme distaste and disgust; there is this natural tendency to pull back from extremist views and actions. This was demonstrated in the defeat of the four BJP state governments post Babri Masjid demolition, this was demonstrated in BJP’s governing style when they were forced to govern from the center during the Bajpai government and now, the Pink Chaddi campaign is a great example of this strain. What was even more laudatory about this campaign was the way in which the Indian society registered its protest. There were no violent demonstrations, no agitations – just a humorous,  tongue-firmly-in-the-cheek idea that poked fun at the extremists, ridiculed their nickname (chaddi-wallahs) and made them look extremely silly.

This idea of protesting at injustice in a non-violent manner is extremely Indian – or if I might dare say it, extremely Hindu. I firmly believe that the reason why India has stood as a stalward of secularism and a multi-cultural society while countries around it like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have fallen prey to ethnic and religious divides is the benign and accomodating views of its Hindu majority. This could be due to the flexibility of the Hindu religion and culture or some other reason, but the strain is there – the Pink Chaddi campain again proves it. We have to zealously guard ourselves to make sure that we preseve and pass on this strain to our future generations and to not let the Modis, Thackereys and the different Senes of the world take over the Indian society. It is a very short road from beating up women for visiting the pubs to beheading them for wearing skirts and lets keep that road closed forever.

A Shameless Act!

The blood has not even dried on the streets of Mumbai, there is still a raging battle going on inside the Taj but the BJP is asking for votes in the name of those who have died protecting the country.

It is rich that BJP is claiming to be the one who can keep the country safe because after all –

  • It is the BJP that has electoral ties with Shiv Sena and the Thackereys – people who are no less terrorists.
  • It was the BJP government which took terrorists in a jet to Kandahar begging for the life for Indian citizens.
  • It was the BJP government that was asleep at the wheel when the Kargil incursion happened.

What a shame and what a shameful advertisement – woe be on you Advani and gang.

Where’s the Hindu outrage?

Every time there is an act of terrorism by Islamists, one of the leading charges that gets thrown around is – ‘where is the outrage from the wider Muslim community?’, or, ‘why aren’t the common Muslims condemning these attacks?’. In fact, I will admit that I, myself have asked these questions in the past.

Now of course, the shoe is on the other foot – or rather, on my foot – for it is my co-religionists who have been indulging in religious terrorism.

For the past month or so, we have seen increasing acts of violence on the Christian community in Orissa and then in Karnataka over the issue of conversions. I am staunchly against conversions, especially the ones that are induced by certain sects of Christianity such as the Pentecostals (as a side note, the US Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin is a Pentecostal and that is just scary because of their beliefs). But the bottom line is that violence is not the answer to these conversions. If the Bajrang Dal feels so strongly about these conversions, they should try and get to the bottom of these conversions and find out why it is happening. What is it that Christianity is offering these people that is not being offered by their current religious beliefs! After centuries of treating the people at the lowest rung like dirt, these Hindu fanatics have all of a sudden become so passionate about the religious beliefs of these people.

And while all this has been going on, I have not heard of any outrage from the Hindu community except a smattering from here and there. Certainly, there have been no statements from the BJP (I Googled and checked their website – be careful in opening their website; it is so poorly designed that it will crash your Firefox, use only Internet Explorer) and searching through the blogs reveals that there is no sense of outrage from the larger Hindu community as well. India is supposed to be a free country where people are free to chose their religion.

If the Bajrang Dal is passionate about protecting the Hindu identity then there are many things that it can do to fix that. How about starting with cleaning up that great symbol of the Hindu identity – the river Ganga – which is nothing but an open sewer nowadays? How about cleaning up the river on whose banks Lord Krishna grew up (the Yamuna)? Or how about leading an effort to safeguard all stray cows on the roads, after all, as Hindus, are we not supposed to treat cows as our mothers? How about attacking and beating up those people who engage in female infanticide? Aren’t girls supposed to be Lakshmis? How about opening up schools and social service centers to help those who are converting and getting these services from the Christian missionaries? Of course, they will not do any of these things because they require effort and long term commitment. Much easier to pick up your weapons and beat up a group of hapless people – that gets them the headlines and votes of many morons. And this from a group that takes its name from the Hindu god who is the protector of the meek and the helpless. If for nothing else, Hindus should be outraged just for this desecration of Lord Hanuman’s name – where the hell is that outrage?

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