After a historic win, Kamala Harris is the Veep, and Indians are celebrating like they personally had something to do with it. At Thulasendrapuram, where her maternal grandfather was born, folks partied like there was no tomorrow with crackers, sweets, pujas and kolams, never mind that the Veep has probably never set foot there though she does have childhood memories of long walks with her grandfather in Madras because her mum wished for her to know her roots and cultivate a taste for dope idlis. While it is cool that Biden and Harris won by insisting that both are sweeter than a rotten orange (which is hardly saying much) it is hard to comprehend the euphoria that has gripped America and the rest of the world.
It has been ages since India had its first lady Prime Minister, woman President and Chief Ministers belonging to the female gender. Though iconic, the consensus is they all had more of the sinner than saint in them. None of them spent their terms working tirelessly to promote the feminist cause, empower the girl child and alleviate the evils of a world that has been ruined by the male of the species. On the contrary, women and the rest of the citizens continued to muddle along while the divas like the dudes before them went about the dirty business conducted in the corridors of power which is usually not discussed openly unless one fancies being locked up in jail without the prospect of bail. The question is why is everyone assuming that Kamala, more power to her, is some sort of wand – wielding, fairy Godmother type who is going to magically transform the world and make it a better place?
The only major difference between India and America is that in these parts, corruption is worn as a badge of dishonor, and ordinary folks are dully resigned to it, especially since it seems to be part of the job description for career politicians whereas in the United States of A, leaders do the vilest things from behind the polished veneer of their fancy suits and glib tongues espousing liberal values while throwing their weight behind everything that is anything but. Trump did away with the hypocrisy and must be credited with revealing that the position of President attracts jerks and bullies.
US Presidents are expected to do what is best for their own even if it means screwing over the rest of the world by starting wars, abetting the assassination of elected leaders in order to install tyrants of their choosing, and stand by as millions are slaughtered as a direct result of their actions. Biden and Harris promise more of the same – to be the white saviors we don’t want or need. So why are we cheering already?
This article was originally published in The New Indian Express.