Barack Obama’s election victory for the 2nd term is historic, at least that is obvious. But there are many insights that one can get if one was to look at the election, the issues being fought for and the implications of the results.
Making the Voice of the Marginalized Matter: Most of the commentators are certain that the reason why Obama won in many traditionally “Red” states – including Virginia – is because he had the “ground game” right. Which is a euphemism for making sure the African Americans in that state – specially the in the Urban areas – VOTED! Just that. Obama’s team had phone numbers and addresses of every African American in their team, and all that they had to do was make sure they were NOT disenfranchised. Just that.
It is said of the elephants that in circus, an elephant, when a baby, is tied with a rope to a pole. At that time, the pole is big and the elephant isn’t strong enough to pull away from it and keeps stuck to it. Later in life, when it has the strength to pull the whole pole out of the ground, it still keeps standing there tied with a rope to that pole. The state of African Americans has been of that elephant. This election, someone told them that they are big enough to pull the pole out of the ground and break free. And, how they did it.
Femininity to the Fore: If one looked at the rhetoric from both the campaigns, the nature of the tone and tenor was distinctly different. One seemed like the chatter during a brawl in a Fraternity (Republicans) and the other was of the Nerds gone aggressive (Democrats). One side was full of testosterone and the other side kept trying to explain itself. There is a reason why Women overwhelmingly voted for Obama. His inherent trait that came out was Feminine; while Romney courted Masculine traits.
Ardha-nareshwar in Sanatan Dharma or Yin-yang from Zen; points to this inherent equilibrium between the Feminine (Inclusive) forces and Masculine (Exclusive) forces. Every part of this creation is formed of these two components. The masculine had emphasized itself in the US for past many decades a lot. It still does. But in this election, the Feminine did two things. (1) became a credible force and voice and (2) recognized that it had a representation. When Obama’s team used the educated women as a constituency for their support, it came out with a strategy that was probably never fully used. If your words and campaign can make a real, tangible and useful “Voting Block”; for whom your work is almost “Life and Death” kind of an issue; then you have a great victory ensured.Obama gave the Femininity an Expression in this election.
Inclusiveness to Exclusiveness: Republican party of today is at loggerheads with the diversity of the US. It can never welcome – fully and whole heartedly – the changing demographics of the country. Bloomberg.com calls the Republican Party as “The GOP is overwhelmingly white and insistently, at times militantly, Christian.” Despite its pretense of being “tolerant”, and boasting of other communities joining in the fray, such “inclusion” happens because of adherence to the exclusive principles of the GOP, as the article goes on to tellingly point out.
Republican exceptions prove the rule. As Shikha Dalmia has pointed out, the two high-profile Indian-Americans in the Republican constellation — Governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — both converted from their traditional eastern faiths to Christianity. It’s unlikely that’s a coincidence.
This, compared to the recent election of the first Hindu-American to the US Congress from the Democratic Party – Tulsi Gabbard – proves that one party is cool with diversity, while other is not.
Slavery and Obama’s election: Opposition to Obama, in a large part, though not always and not completely, was due to his skin. And, somewhere the White Supremacist agenda of the Slave-keeping South kicked in all the time. Interestingly, the maps of the election results and the Slave States back in 1800’s shows the pattern. The parallels are mind-blowing!
The coming days will see a lot of acrimony and lot of competition. One just hopes that the differences between the two paradigms that rule the two parties, do not lend themselves to violence and mayhem.