No country for irrational men
Ok, at some point we have to take a decision. Do we want to root for someone simply because his parents once arrived to the US from India to pursue the American Dream and succeeded? Or do we want to put things in a much bigger perspective and judge someone by his character, intellect and opinions and not just because he happens to originate from that part of the world where we are from?
Many of us have (hopefully) used the second set of criteria for judging Bobby Jindal. But our media as usual has persistently used the first set to heap praise on this son of our soil who has made it big in this far off land. They need to understand that we don't care if someone is from India or China or Mars if he wants to teach intelligent design in science classes and has a 100% record against abortion where he won't even allow abortion in case of incest. And now recently he is being hailed as one of the future leaders of the Republican party, and- woe be unto the world if it happens- of this country. All this after making a pitch two days back that held forth on some matters which he knew nothing about. According to Mr. Jindal, "something called" volcano research is supposed to be wasteful spending. As Sarah Palin did with fruit flies and John McCain did with bear DNA, so Jindal does with volcano research. Has Mr. Jindal made any inquiries about why scientists might be engaged in such research? Could it just be because they want to predict the occurrence of a volcano in an active site, a prediction that may save thousands of lives? Of course Mr Jindal is certainly not unique in holding these opinions in this land of the free, but it is undoubtedly scary that after 8 years of Bush, he is seen as belonging to the chosen few who promise to resurrect the Republican party on the national stage.
Many people have criticized our slavish admiration for Mr. Jindal on the grounds that he has long since converted to Christianity. We can bet that it's still a long time before a Hindu becomes Governor of Louisiana. But I don't really care about his religion as much as I care about the objective substance of his views. And the complete lack of that substance makes me shudder. It's not that we should be embarrassed that this man is Indian. Again, I don't really care about that. What is shameful is that he panders to some of the most fundamentalist religious strains and irrational ideas in the most 'advanced' nation in the world.
So let's stop touting Bobby Jindal as a great immigrant success story. Sure, it's not easy for a second generation immigrant to become Governor of a US state and I am sure Jindal must have worked hard at it. But the difficulty of a task has nothing to do with the character or wisdom of the individual who participates in it. For me, it's not a question at all about rooting for an Indian or American. It's about rooting for rationality, and in this country irrationality certainly has no nationality. It is the great equalizer.