As the recent American politics is no longer making sense to me, I can’t help but share an experience from earlier this week.
Nitin & I were seated next to a Brazilian family in this trendy, upscale restaurant on Rodeo drive. Our seats were so close to theirs that a conversation was very natural. Although at first I had wished that we should have asked for a more private, romantic table, I changed my mind as our conversation with them continued.
This Brazilian family of four, who was now living in Columbia, had previously spent few years in Switzerland and Brazil. The father, who was an executive in a multi-national company based out of Glendale, had come for work to LA with his fashionable wife, 8-year old son and probably 13 or 14 year old daughter. Unlike Nitin & me, this classy family assimilated perfectly into the creme de la creme of Rodeo Drive.
Myriad topics such as Rio-Olympics, politics (of course), world travel, etc. came up with the parents. Nitin & I also had a fun conversation with the two children who were very interested in talking about sports and international languages.
Finally the shy 8 year old popped a question to us – Are you for Trump or Hilary? To which the 14 year old instantly replied – Of course they must be for Trump! So the 8 year old turned to us and raised his eyebrows with a funny expression and in half disbelief said – are you really for Trump!
We were delighted and laughed at seeing that the 8 year old would believe anything the elder sister would say. The father was half-embarrassed and half-curious himself as he laughed nervously, but still awaited our response.
Nitin & I let the suspense build up for couple of minutes but the 8 year old had an almost disappointed look on his face that his new favorites had just done something that he quite disliked. So we broke the uncertainty and replied – Clinton. We expected a hurray from him. But instead the 8 year old groaned really loudly and said, Not Clinton! Ofcourse this surprised us given his previous sentiments and expressions. So we inquisitively asked if he would have preferred Trump? To which both the kids replied without wasting a second – No! Bernie!
We were incredibly Wowed by their declaration and were speechless as we did not anticipate that the children of their age would understand the difference in the various candidates, let alone have any interest in US political arena. We clarified that their question was to choose between Trump and Hilary. However. we too preferred Bernie and were very sad that he wasn’t in the race any more. But there was no more consoling to the kids. They were both dismayed that neither of the two candidates running for US Presidential election were up to the mark for the job.
Children and adults around the globe can see through the phony candidates that America is about to elect this year. This election is no longer about liberal versus conservative choices. It is a fake show and no one is buying this sh*t any more.
While growing up, I always wished that India would also become like America, in the sense that the people would have complete freedom, money, and equal opportunities. I believed in the ‘American Dream’. Although no-one had taught that to me, I knew it, wanted it and believed in it more than anything else.
Without any relation to America, I felt an akin like attachment to America, a country where honest, hard working, innovative and creative people are rewarded. I always carried the impression in my mind that in America there was no corruption, wrong were always punished and everyone was fairly treated. I felt like the American people were the most open minded in the whole wide world. And that only the really deserving leaders made it to the top here. It made up for me, in many ways what my own country could not do for me.
This is why I feel betrayed today. I am disheartened that the American politics is almost as corrupt as it is in my own country. Whether it was George W Bush before or Donald Trump now, they are as tacky, unpolished and vulgar as the rest of their kind elsewhere in the world. Whether it is the reason behind Black Lives Matter or Occupy Movement, my dream world is falling apart in front of my eyes.
With the change of scenery on the political battleground, I too feel as disconsolate as the two children from Brazil. I feel as if this world is sinking in a black hole, with no truthful, genuine leaders left any more to give me hope or to whom I can look up to for invoking peace, justice and prosperity.