THE GOP AND INDIAN AMERICANS

THE GOP AND INDIAN AMERICANS

The past several years have seen a dramatic turning point for U.S.-India relations and a burgeoning dynamic partnership between Indian Americans and the Republican Party.

any Indian Americans are embracing the Republican Party because we support limited government; fewer taxes on American families and businesses; curbs on excessive lawsuits; medical malpractice reform; and President Bush’s strong stance in fighting the Global War on Terrorism.

The past several years have seen a dramatic turning point for U.S.-India relations and a burgeoning dynamic partnership between Indian Americans and the Republican Party. Following the 2004 elections, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was officially honored during a historic state visit to the United States. President George W. Bush received the same respectful treatment during his trip to India. More importantly, President Bush and Prime Minister Singh entered the world’s two largest democracies into a mutually beneficial pact, the U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement. House Republicans passed this important legislation, overcoming attempts by Democrats to kill the bill with procedural votes both in committee and on the House floor.

With the appointment and confirmation of Ambassador Kharan Bhatia as the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, President Bush continued his trend of appointing more Indian Americans to his Administration than any other President in history. The White House has officially commemorated Diwali for three consecutive years and hosted an official celebration on the 400th anniversary of the installation of the Sikh Holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, in the Golden Temple. These events never occurred under any other President.

U.S. Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-LA) has quickly become a national leader, serving as President of the 2004 GOP Freshman class. Nikki Randhawa Haley, an Indian American woman and staunch Republican, is running for reelection to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where she was unanimously selected by her colleagues as President of her Freshman Class and Majority Whip for the House Republican Caucus.

Just last month, the Indian American Republican Council (IARC) successfully hosted its 2nd annual Capitol Hill reception and conference, which was attended by nearly 200 people from around the country. I was honored to take part in this important annual event. The list of speakers itself demonstrates just how important the GOP takes its commitment to the Indian American community. The speakers included Presidential Advisor Karl Rove; Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL); Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) U.S. Congressman Tom Reynolds (R-NY); Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN); U.S. Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA); U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC); President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist; U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL); U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA); U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS); U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA); U.S. Congressman Bobby Jindal (R-LA); Executive Director of the American Shareholders Association Daniel Clifton; GOP candidates running for office Raj Peter Bhakta (U.S. House, PA-13) and Dilip Paliath (Maryland House of Delegates, District #42); Director of Government Relations for the Republican National Committee Mina Nguyen; and an immigration panel with experts Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy, Dr. Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies, and Shilpa Ghodgaonkar, liaison to Capitol Hill for the organization Immigration Voice, which lobbies for changes in the immigration system for highly-skilled legal workers.

Also speaking at the reception were U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), U.S. Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), U.S. Rep. Phil English (R-PA), and U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).

The conference educated participants, encouraged increased participation, and strengthened ties to the GOP. The historic formation of the Indian American Republican Political Action Committee (IARPAC) was announced. This is the only national PAC for Indian Americans to work exclusively with the GOP. This PAC will give Indian American Republicans the opportunity to increase their interactions with the GOP and give them a seat at the table.

Indian American Democrats hastily convened their own event only after they saw how successful the IARC conference was. However, it paled in comparison and they were unable to organize a similar cadre of speakers. This only drives home the obvious point that the Democrat Party takes Indian Americans for granted.

Many Indian Americans are embracing the Republican Party because we support limited government; fewer taxes on American families and businesses; curbs on excessive lawsuits; medical malpractice reform; and President Bush’s strong stance in fighting the Global War on Terrorism. We have seen the devastating effects of terrorism in Kashmir and in India. We know the tough choices facing the President everyday as he wages this battle against fundamentalists with no regard for human life. We must support him if we are to dismantle this international ring of terrorists who seek to attack civilians in India, North America, and Europe.

Many Indian Americans are supporting Republicans because of our belief in traditional marriage, because we are pro-life, and value the importance of faith in our daily lives. These are values Indian Americans share with Republicans.

There is no question but that among most Indian Americans, regardless of faith, origin in India, or mother tongue, marriage is sacred. It is the beginning point for the creation of a family and provides the basis for having children. Indeed, families are the foundation of our society, and marriage is the structure upon which families are built. The best role models for children are mothers and fathers, each with duties to one another and their children.

With aggressive liberals acting in conjunction with activist judges, what defines a marriage and family is being challenged in courts by those who seek to undermine our culture and traditions. What if these same radicals seek to force these social changes upon other democracies? What if they decide that non-traditional marriages and families must be legalized in India? Shouldn’t state legislatures or Congress, as elected representatives of the people, decide such issues? Should an activist judge on one court decide such magnanimous cases affecting the entire nation?

The Indian American community has been so successful in America because of its strong family values, belief in abstinence before marriage, and low divorce rates. The community’s family values serve as a role model for mainstream American society demonstrating the success you can achieve when you have successful families. Indian Americans should actively spread their great family traditions and values in American society, which they share with the Republican Party.

The GOP is doing everything possible to protect property rights. We are trying to repeal the onerous estate tax, which can prevent Indian Americans from passing the businesses they worked so hard for, down to their children. The GOP reacted strongly to the Kelo decision issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allowed local and state governments to take homes and small businesses away from American families in favor of other private developers, solely to increase the tax base. Liberals don’t care whether someone’s home or business comes in the way of mega-developers seeking to build shopping malls, because they love the idea of dramatically increasing their tax revenues. But Republicans know property rights are sacrosanct and believe that no government official should force Americans to give up their home or business.

Republicans are fighting to make the tax cuts signed by President Bush permanent. Republicans are aggressively fighting religious fundamentalists in the Global War on Terrorism. We know India and other freedom-loving democracies are fighting these same forces. The far-left has taken over the Democrat Party and it no longer represents mainstream American values.

Indian Americans should think very carefully about the differences between liberals and Republicans before voting on November 7. Liberals believe solely in personal freedom while Republicans believe in personal freedom with responsibility. Republicans believe in self-reliance and independence. We believe in funding for a strong national defense. We support aggressively waging the fight against terrorists. We support abstinence and traditional marriage. We believe in fewer taxes, smaller government and fewer regulations on businesses. We believe economic freedom unleashes America’s true potential.

On November 7, you will be faced with two choices: supporting a Party that doesn’t have the stomach to make tough choices in the war on terrorism, that wants to raise taxes, and seeks to change our cultural heritage through the court system, or supporting a Party that best represents our values, ambitions, and dreams and allows Americans to fully reach their potential. Who will you choose?