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Thumbnail image - The author with Barack Obama on an earlier occasion. Below, second from bottom: the author with her husband at Grant Park on the historic night of November 4, 2008.

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Yes, We Did

by HARVIND KAUR

 

EDITOR'S NOTE:   It is true that sikhchic.com's self-enunciated policy is that we will steer away from full-frontal politics. And it is also true that we have published a number of articles on the 2008 American Presidential Election Campaign, most of them having a focus on Barack Obama.

We owe you an explanation:

To begin with, sikhchic.com has no interest in promoting the Democrats or, for that matter, any other party ... anywhere.

But, in the case of Barack Obama's candidacy, we do recognize that, based on his qualities, skills and demeanor, the wide-spread hope and desire for his success transcends local and partisan politics.

The crimes committed against the Blacks of America during the last two centuries fall within the most outrageous chapters of the annals of Man. It is in the Sikh spirit to give unequivocal support to the correction of those injustices against Blacks, many of them ongoing, and it is in this spirit that we have stood behind him all the way.

The joy we get in Obama's victory is no different from the joy unleashed by Sardar Manmohan Singh's laudable leadership of India.

In journalistic fairness, we have welcomed and actively sought a balance by inviting our readers to write about McCain's candidacy, but there have been no takers. Also, at least two of our postings clearly indicate that McCain's own camp has not responded to the overtures and enquiries from Sikh-Americans with respect to info on McCain's position on issues of particular concern to Sikh-Americans.   

Finally, we should add that we also hope that, before long, we will see the day when a woman will also stand tall in the White House.

It is in this spirit that we present the following article by Harvind Kaur.

 

 

"Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

"Yes, we did! Yes, we did! Yes, we did!"

 

 

It was the night of a lifetime.

My husband and I stood with thousands of people anxiously waiting, anticipating, hoping and longing for the announcement. There we stood among Black, White, Asian, Sikh, Indian, Mixed, Foreign-born, and American-born people who all had a common goal to see the next president. It didn't matter in that crowd of thousands of people. The hope and the raw longing was the same. The triumph, glory and relief were the same.

The energy was amazing and the unity unparalleled.

We were fortunate to have a coveted ticket to get into the main ticketed area. It was an opportunity to witness history. We grabbed it and threw caution to the wind. We would stand with thousands to learn what the country had decided.

I will be able to tell my children and their children that we were there. It is a turning point in America. It is the dawn of something different, something possible, the realization that democracy still works and that America is still the land of opportunity and progressiveness.

These ideals have been lost over the last eight years. But last night proved that yes, change is possible. And that America has the resilience and the ability to forge ahead and keep on upholding the ideals of the American Dream.

There were so many who were worried that the worst would happen when a crowd this large gathers. But let me tell you, this was a jubilant crowd. This was a crowd waiting with hopeful anticipation for what it wanted.

The people wanted change, they voted for change and they stood together to wait and watch their dream become reality.

It was a poignant moment for all of us there. We all felt the same positive force that united us out there in Grant Park (Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.). No one there would tarnish this night of nights. We were in it together and we stood together to show our new optimism.

Last night, America showed its power to the world.

Obama is the true face of this country. The face symbolized by a man with a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya. He is a man who has struggled to be recognized for his character and not the color of his skin. He represents all of us in different ways.

As a Sikh, I know he will understand the issues I face. He will listen when I explain issues relating to my Dastaar and my Kirpan. He will work to make this country less polarized by not creating ideas and images of "the other".

He knows what it means to be racially profiled; he knows what it means to always have to work harder to prove your ability.

This is important to me as a Sikh-American. He has been "the other" and knows the consequences of such characterization.

I don't know what kind of a President he'll be.

But I do know that I, along with so many other people, I have regained a sense of hope and idealism. I said an Ardas before the Guru before heading out to vote yesterday. I shamelessly and selfishly prayed for an Obama victory.

I was not alone. Everyone out there in Grant Park said their own prayers. When the victory was announced, we all went crazy with excitement. We all cried. We all just wanted to see Obama and rejoice with him and hail our new hope.

We were just a speck in the crowd.

But we will remember the folks that stood next to us, the chanting and the relief of hearing the news. We were a hundred thousand people who prayed, who said the pledge of allegiance, and sang the national anthem together.

On a perfect Chicago night, under the stars in the open, we helped the world realize what it means to be American. What it means to be from "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Yes, we were there.

 

November 5, 2008

Conversation about this article

1: Harpreet Singh (Durham, U.S.A.), November 06, 2008, 8:18 AM.

Yes, this certainly is a uplifting event. Who could have imagined that a black man would one day hold the highest office of this land? He has motivated countless young people to achieve something bigger in life. I am excited about the future of our country and the world.

2: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), November 06, 2008, 12:39 PM.

Harvind Bhenji, I was looking for you on the TV, glued to CNN all evening. I knew you would be there for all of us Obama fans. Thank you for representing us and sharing the experience with us. You pretty much said what this means to Sikhs in the U.S.A but I have one more thing to add: No more excuses! We can dream for our kids to reach the top offices in this country. We can inspire, aspire, guide, plan and execute with much more conviction.

3: A. Singh (Cyprus), November 06, 2008, 3:09 PM.

Thanks for the inspiring article on Obama. We Sikhs have so much in common with the Blacks. And some of us are even darker than Mr.obama. So, we should rejoice all the more! Even more remarkable that Obama has won while having a Muslim name! With that kind of a name, it seems it would be difficult to even a get a job in a US security company. Now that name will hopefully ensure security for every one! May be this will encourage Sikhs to aspire even higher.

4: Pritam Singh Grewal (Canada), November 07, 2008, 1:57 AM.

Let us hope the Obama government will be guided by Guru Gobind Singh's dictum: "Maanas ki jaat sabh aikay pehchaanbo" - "Consider the entire human race as one".

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