Are Sikhs in Haryana what Sarah Palin is to the Republican ticket?

Though this may not be the best analogy, I’m going to make it. It seems the Congress party in Haryana made the demand for a separate Gurdwara committee, in order to mobilize Sikh votes in their favor (at least according to one news source).haryana.gif

What is also well known is that Haryanas Sikh vote has traditionally been mobilised by the SAD(B) for Devi Lal and then his son Om Prakash Chautalas party. After 1984, the anti-Congress vote headed in that direction even more. By all accounts, the 2005 Assembly elections also the one in which the Congress manifesto included the demand for a separate gurdwara management body for Haryana constituted a break in the story. According to a CSDS survey, 50 per cent of the Sikh vote in Haryana went to the Congress in 2004, and only 35 per cent to Chautalas INLD. [link]

And Sarah Palin- as qualified as she may be- was not selected to run as Vice President because of her outstanding qualifications, but for her token status as a woman. It was hoped that she would fulfill the dreams of Hillary supporters who wanted the glass ceiling in the White House shattered. (From what I’ve seen in the polls though, this doesn’t seem to have worked. The women who rallied behind Hillary don’t want a token representative.)

That’s because Palin was not chosen because she was the second-best person to run America but to promote diversity on the ticket, even the political playing field, and to shatter (in her words) some glass ceilings. When she was selected, the Weekly Standard‘s editor, Fred Barnes, enthused: “As a 44-year-old woman Mrs. Palin brings desperately needed diversity to the Republican ticket.” [link]

clarence_thomas__sarah_palin.jpgThat’s where the analogy ends- both were used to mobilize votes of a particular group of voters. (lame analogy? :) well we had to have a post on the potential VP before Thursday’s debate) But there’s a little more that’s interesting about Palin on the Republican ticket. Slate recently made a much better and more useful analogy with Palin. Clarence Thomas (only the 2nd African American Justice of the US Supreme Court) is infamous for his fierce disagreement with affirmative action because of the the stigma it places on “beneficiaries” (he puts it in quotes) of a badge of inferiority. Whatever success they have in life, it will be assumed that it was a result of the advantages they received based on their race, and not their actual achievements (gender in Palin’s case).

In a sharp dissent in a 2003 case allowing race to be used as an admissions factor at the University of Michigan’s law school, Thomas described affirmative action as “a cruel farce” under which “all blacks are tarred as undeserving.” In an earlier case he wrote that such programs “stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority.” [link]

Thomas warns against the dangers of fetishizing diversity and the treatment that Palin has received thus far seems to illustrate his warnings.

The most savage bits of Thomas’ Michigan law school dissent warn against fetishizing “diversity” as an “aesthetic” concern of “elites.” Thomas hates the notion of flinging the first minority you can lay hold of at a glass ceiling…Thomas’ experience at Yale taught him to doubt anyone who sought to help him, especially those “who offered you a helping hand so long as you were careful to agree with them but slapped you down if you started acting as if you didn’t know your place.” Palin has also become a recipient of the know-your-place treatment, as she entersat this writingher 29th day of an almost-total media blackout. Palin has been allowed to speak to just three television reporters. [link]

According to Thomas, the most toxic form of affirmative action demands that beneficiaries be seen and not heard, which is what the media blackout of Palin has achieved:

Clarence Thomas would say that in its most toxic formulation, affirmative action demands that its beneficiaries be seen and not heard, and that is precisely what Palin is experiencing. Where Clarence Thomas has always excoriated liberals for promoting token blacks so that America might someday look just like a Benetton commercial, John McCain has mastered the fine art of turning women into campaign accessories, a flag pin with nice calves. [link]

The analogy of Palin’s pick as a form of affirmative action doesn’t work completely either since she wasn’t really selected to promote diversity (one token candidate doesn’t make a party diverse), but because of the Republican Party’s desire to WIN by garnering support from a specific group. Still, I think the analogy is interesting to the extent that it points out the fetishizing of diversity, and the stigma it’s created – which may have more merit in this case than in cases of affirmative action.

[I completely disagree with Thomas’ position on affirmative action generally. Though there may be a stigmatizing effect, I don’t think the answer is to just end all types of affirmative action but to fashion other responses. This post is NOT about affirmative action generally though because the 2 lines mentioned don’t do the topic justice. It’s about Palin and the politics surrounding her selection.]

Prior post on HSGPC: here.


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14 Responses to “Are Sikhs in Haryana what Sarah Palin is to the Republican ticket?”

  1. Mewa Singh says:

    Could the Sikh analogy be any more of a stretch? Haha, nice try. I think for the analogy to have some traction, it would be more akin if say the Republicans all of a sudden adopted a pro-choice position.

    Ok well, I know you really want to talk about Palin…so back to your regularly scheduled broadcast….

  2. Reema says:

    haha, ya, it's pretty empty, but I had to make a connection somehow… the article characterizing the HSGPC as a way to attract voters offered the superficial connection I needed. :)

  3. Mewa Singh says:

    But did you really need it? I think you should be able to talk about it without resorting to such a streeeeeeeetch.

  4. Mewa Singh says:

    Could the Sikh analogy be any more of a stretch? Haha, nice try. I think for the analogy to have some traction, it would be more akin if say the Republicans all of a sudden adopted a pro-choice position.

    Ok well, I know you really want to talk about Palin…so back to your regularly scheduled broadcast….

  5. "warn against fetishizing “diversity” as an “aesthetic” concern of “elites.”

    I'd have to agree with Thomas' warning here.

    The "religious right" has successfully mobilized huge populations to vote against their own self-interest because of their narrow-mindedness and attachment to less impactful social issues. For example, because someone is against abortion they will vote for a candidate that supports illegal wars of agression and maintains status quo on human rights abuses and corporate depravity.

    Now, because of an "aesthetic concern of elites" and their "fetishizing diversity" we have a huge population donating money and puting forth all their hope and even fighting tooth and nail to elect a leader which will again be against their self-interest. I'm talking about Obama. Most Americans want this war to end and most want single payer healthcare, that is why an intelligent qualified and NOT indebted to corporate money candidate like Nader is talking about these issues and trying to bring them into the debates. Obama thinks the Iraq cash-cow should be milked for an obscene 3 years more, and that Americans should have 'easier access to health insurance.'

    OH GREAT, thanks Mr. saint and diversity poster child Obama, I would love to continue paying medicare taxes which could pay for single-payer health care and on top of that paying insurance companies so that I can maybe see some doctor at some point. You're Black so I trust that your diverse upbringing means that your policy is much better than seeing the doctor I want when I want. Also your Blackness (thus all the hope/change/diversity it represents) must be justification enough to have wars in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. You really are a peace maker! You ARE diversity therefore you could never be a war monger. Clearly it's totally just to have mutliple wars throughout the Middle East.

    (Sorry for all the sarcasm, I'm really starting to get fed up with the false hope that Obama is 'giving' everyone. Please people, READ the policies on his website, he's just a fetish version of McCain.)

    p.s. Sarah Palin = evil

  6. Reema says:

    haha, ya, it’s pretty empty, but I had to make a connection somehow… the article characterizing the HSGPC as a way to attract voters offered the superficial connection I needed. :)

  7. Mewa Singh says:

    But did you really need it? I think you should be able to talk about it without resorting to such a streeeeeeeetch.

  8. “warn against fetishizing diversity as an aesthetic concern of elites.

    I’d have to agree with Thomas’ warning here.
    The “religious right” has successfully mobilized huge populations to vote against their own self-interest because of their narrow-mindedness and attachment to less impactful social issues. For example, because someone is against abortion they will vote for a candidate that supports illegal wars of agression and maintains status quo on human rights abuses and corporate depravity.
    Now, because of an “aesthetic concern of elites” and their “fetishizing diversity” we have a huge population donating money and puting forth all their hope and even fighting tooth and nail to elect a leader which will again be against their self-interest. I’m talking about Obama. Most Americans want this war to end and most want single payer healthcare, that is why an intelligent qualified and NOT indebted to corporate money candidate like Nader is talking about these issues and trying to bring them into the debates. Obama thinks the Iraq cash-cow should be milked for an obscene 3 years more, and that Americans should have ‘easier access to health insurance.’
    OH GREAT, thanks Mr. saint and diversity poster child Obama, I would love to continue paying medicare taxes which could pay for single-payer health care and on top of that paying insurance companies so that I can maybe see some doctor at some point. You’re Black so I trust that your diverse upbringing means that your policy is much better than seeing the doctor I want when I want. Also your Blackness (thus all the hope/change/diversity it represents) must be justification enough to have wars in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. You really are a peace maker! You ARE diversity therefore you could never be a war monger. Clearly it’s totally just to have mutliple wars throughout the Middle East.
    (Sorry for all the sarcasm, I’m really starting to get fed up with the false hope that Obama is ‘giving’ everyone. Please people, READ the policies on his website, he’s just a fetish version of McCain.)
    p.s. Sarah Palin = evil

  9. Harbeer says:

    And Sarah Palin…was not selected to run as Vice President because of her outstanding qualifications, but for her token status as a woman.

    I thought she was selected because she's a religious conservative. Well…a religious conservative who's a woman, ok…

  10. Harbeer says:

    And Sarah Palin…was not selected to run as Vice President because of her outstanding qualifications, but for her token status as a woman.

    I thought she was selected because she’s a religious conservative. Well…a religious conservative who’s a woman, ok…

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  12. Body detoxification diets says:

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