- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

California's Indian Elderly Pin Hopes on Obama

New America Media, News Report, Rupa Dev Posted: Oct 31, 2008

Editor's note: Indian American seniors at a Cupertino, California, center talk about their hopes for a new administration in Washington, DC, under Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama. NAM contributor Rupa Dev reports.

Tucked away on a residential side street that straddles the border of Cupertino and San Jose, Calif, in the India Community Center (ICC) Indian elderly immigrants have been speaking out about what matters to them in the forthcoming U.S presidential election.

And what matters above all else is the economy and as a result, they lean heavily toward Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

"I am an Obama man," said Akur Srinivasan, 82, of Almaden Valley. Srinivasan believes Obama's fundamental understanding of economics and the law qualifies him as the stronger presidential candidate.

Srinivasan is representative of others at the center. An informal poll of 12 elderly Indian immigrants, all American citizens, who attend weekly discussions at the center revealed unanimous support for Obama. And this may be representative of the voting preferences of South Bay Indian seniors in general.

Prema Santhanam, 70, believes Obama has a "magnetic appeal that offers his party the chance to win over the entire young generation, similarly to how Ronald Regan did in the 1980's."

While the Indian community has traditionally supported Democratic candidates, the number of Indians campaigning for Obama this election surpasses previous campaigning efforts.

Many, like Amrit Verma 79, see Obama as a self-made individual who stands for the middle class. "The Republican Party advances the agenda of the rich elite," Verma said, "but we are just ordinary people."

Balwant Puranik, 74, echoed this sentiment: "The Democrats care about the issues of the working and middle class, and most of us are from that class."

Vimala Balan, 75, feels Obama has "the ears to listen to the American concerns and bring good things to them" although with a $355 rent increase on her Cupertino apartment over the past two years, she is disappointed that Obama has not addressed renters or "the level below the homeowners," as she puts it.

Vimala BalanVimala Balan, right, collects lunch money from seniors.

"The price hike in rent is the domino effect of the foreclosures," said Balan. "The apartment owners and developments exploit poor people with increasing rent. Seniors have fixed incomes so they are always affected, and they are the ones who will end up on the streets."

Having been politically active in India, many of the ICC seniors also have a keen interest in foreign policy. Some call for pulling the United States out of Iraq and focusing on rebuilding the country's global image.

"Attacking an independent country on flimsy grounds was an act of misguided initiative," said Suresh Sharma, 86.

"The Republican administration has lost credibility to the rest of the world under the false pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and it has lost credibility within the United States by once pledging these weapons existed, and again now with this recent financial collapse," said Sri Rao, 65, who is a permanent resident.

Having known racism themselves, some seniors are worried about the electability of Obama.

A registered Democrat, Ramakrishna Iyyar, 83, suspects some liberals will be hesitant to vote for Obama, when it comes down to Election Day, because he is African American.

Yet if Obama is elected, Indian seniors believe he will be the reformer and change agent that America needs right now. Their views tracked with Asian Indian voter trends in the 2008 National Asian American (NAAS) survey published this month.

According to NAAS, which surveyed a pool of 1,891 California residents, Asian Indians favor Obama most strongly out of all six major Asian groups polled. Nationally, 53 percent of Indians plan to vote for Obama. In California, 62 percent of Indians are supporting Obama, while 12 percent are for McCain. About one quarter were undecided.

NAAS found the economy and the war in Iraq to be the most important issues to California Asian voters. The survey did not publish ethnicity-specific statistics on the economy, but it revealed 58 percent of likely-to-vote Asian Americans identified the economy as most important issue.

On the war in Iraq, NAAS found that 71 percent of Indians were most likely to strongly agree that the United States should remove military troops from Iraq as soon as possible again, the highest support for this issue from all major Asian groups.

For M. K. Rao, 72, the Iraq war was the key factor in his support for Obama. "He promised to bring back our troops from Iraq in a short time," Rao said.

Related Articles:

Aravind Adiga: Debut Novelist Wins Man Booker Prize

Majority of Asian Americans Likely to Vote

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

Immigrant Voices