4 days in New Hampshire

Last week I made the trek from Connecticut to New Hampshire to campaign in the presidential primaries. While I’ve campaigned and door-knocked for a variety of issues in the past, I’ve never really been moved to canvass for a presidential candidate. In my voting life, I haven’t really been enthusiastic about either party or its candidates, so while I always vote, I’m not always happy about my options. This election has been pleasantly different, so I brushed off my organizer skills and drove north.

When I first moved to New England from California, I knew there was going to be a bit of a culture shock. However, traveling from southern Connecticut to southern New Hampshire, I was shocked by the overwhelming homogeneity and vastness of the state. Granted, I was not campaigning in a city (e.g., Nashua, Manchester), but I was a little overwhelmed by the vast space of it all.

I was certainly one of the only people of color in the area (and I was a transplant!), but I was happily surprised to find a significant number of desis, and more specifically, another ABD, Punju, Sikh. If you think of the two of us as a fraction of the volunteer population, then we were certainly repping hard!

This made me think of the growing number of ABD Sikhs who are becoming politically active. There’s often a generational disconnect around politics and participation, but there also seems to be an ever-growing cadre of folks getting involved through political action groups, elections, and parties. Have current events (read: post 9/11 backlash) catalyzed participation, or do we just notice it more, now? Are there other factors that may explain the growing number of folks becoming politicized and politically active?


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9 Responses to “4 days in New Hampshire”

  1. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    Sounds like you had an interesting experience! :)

    You write:

    While I’ve campaigned and door-knocked for a variety of issues in the past, I’ve never really been moved to canvass for a presidential candidate. In my voting life, I haven’t really been enthusiastic about either party or its candidates, so while I always vote, I’m not always happy about my options. This election has been pleasantly different, so I brushed off my organizer skills and drove north.

    Could you please share with us which presidential candidate you canvassed for and why he/she has helped motivate you to become politically active as an "ABD, Punju, Sikh"?

  2. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    Sounds like you had an interesting experience! :)

    You write:

    While Ive campaigned and door-knocked for a variety of issues in the past, Ive never really been moved to canvass for a presidential candidate. In my voting life, I havent really been enthusiastic about either party or its candidates, so while I always vote, Im not always happy about my options. This election has been pleasantly different, so I brushed off my organizer skills and drove north.

    Could you please share with us which presidential candidate you canvassed for and why he/she has helped motivate you to become politically active as an “ABD, Punju, Sikh”?

  3. EverySingh says:

    Ron Paul!

  4. EverySingh says:

    Ron Paul!

  5. Camille says:

    I campaigned for Barack Obama :) I've actually been politically active for a long time, just not in the context of presidential campaigns (I've campaigned in other electoral campaigns).

    There are so many things I like about this candidate — where to begin! I think what really helped crack through my cynicism and get me motivated was his rhetoric. I know a lot of people speak dispassionately about how he is a lot of talk, but after years of fear-mongering and hatred, I appreciate a candidate who talks realistically about the challenges facing Americans today but poses the solutions in a positive frame/context. For the most part he just seems like a good guy with good judgment and a great support team, and given that there are not many differences among the Democratic candidates, the motivating factor for me was having a candidate who could help people see their commonality (i.e., American) instead of their divisions (e.g., Republican/Democrat, have/ have not, brown / black / white, etc., etc.). I also wanted someone with a much better hand on foreign policy (or at least a more moderate, reasoned lens), which I don't see in the other candidates so much.

    Whew that was long — that's just the short version :)

  6. Camille says:

    I campaigned for Barack Obama :) I’ve actually been politically active for a long time, just not in the context of presidential campaigns (I’ve campaigned in other electoral campaigns).

    There are so many things I like about this candidate — where to begin! I think what really helped crack through my cynicism and get me motivated was his rhetoric. I know a lot of people speak dispassionately about how he is a lot of talk, but after years of fear-mongering and hatred, I appreciate a candidate who talks realistically about the challenges facing Americans today but poses the solutions in a positive frame/context. For the most part he just seems like a good guy with good judgment and a great support team, and given that there are not many differences among the Democratic candidates, the motivating factor for me was having a candidate who could help people see their commonality (i.e., American) instead of their divisions (e.g., Republican/Democrat, have/ have not, brown / black / white, etc., etc.). I also wanted someone with a much better hand on foreign policy (or at least a more moderate, reasoned lens), which I don’t see in the other candidates so much.

    Whew that was long — that’s just the short version :)

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