Realm Of Randomness

November 1, 2006

Politics – East vs the West

Filed under: Opinion,Politics — Randomizer @ 8:53 pm

I used to be disgusted by the word ‘Politics’ at a certain point in time, not too long ago. The last thing I would ever read in the papers back in my days in India was politics. It was just something I couldn’t possibly care about.

Today though, in a different country altogether, I cannot stop myself from going through the political debates, the talk shows, the opinions and the editorials that turn up in this race to the mid-term elections in the United States.

There are a lot of things that are right about American politics that I wish worked back in India. And a whole lot which is ridiculous. Here is a compilation of my thoughts :

  • Is American politics simpler ? I definitely think so.Here you have just two points of view – Either you’re Left leaning, or Right leaning, i.e. a Democrat or a Republican. Bi-party politics is sure a lot more simple than the hundreds of parties in India, which try to join hands and make a majority to win the government. It’s always a ‘United front’ or an ‘Alliance’ or some ‘Group of parties’ that end up running the government, resulting in a melting pot of opinions, and nothing as clear-cut as the Red and Blue out here.
  • Most or at least a good number of people I have come across, have lost complete faith in the Indian system. The indian administration is so corrupt, from the policeman who bluntly asks for a bribe, to the Chief minister involved in crores worth of scandals … the average indian voter doesn’t care.And if he doesn’t care, why would he vote – and hence, why would he follow politics?
  • War of words, rather than a war of might.In America, there are no lords, no gangmen, no Shiv Sainiks who will block roads in protest or pelt stones at those who oppose them. Sure there are gangs – but they are more about crime than blind support to a political leader. Law enforcement is so strong that the political debate is just that – a debate and nothing more. If you win the war on policy, you have a great chance at the election. Eloquent speakers, inspiring words, justifiable arguments can win you an election… while in India, POWER wins you an election.
  • Politicians who make sense?I know I am generalizing, and am unfair to the economists and the top class degree-holders in the Indian political realm … but Laloo Prasad Yadav ? Almost always, there is an uneducated old man sitting at the top of the chart, making decisions for those of us in the urban middle class. This lack of connection between the people and the government … was yet another major turnoff for me in Indian politics.

Some things here are just plain wrong though.

  • Election campaigns based on the negatives. More than giving the positives of your side, the parties seem to be keen on unravelling more dirt from the opposing party.
  • News channels by the Left and RightThere are news channels which provide filtered news – Things a conservative would like to hear – on Fox News … or things a Left-leaning person would like to hear – like MSNBC. I think providing ‘Opinions’ disguised as ‘News’ is simply absurd. I am glad that in India, we do not have channels so opinionated. The NDTVs and Aaj Taks of India are predominantly Independent media, and that is how news is supposed to be.
  • More scope for political debate in India than here. Out here, every argument and opinion has been heard before. Because essentially, that is all that is there – The left, and the right.

Following American politics has been really interesting, especially in the last few days when both parties try to make some final blows at the other party. In some cases, like John Kerry yesterday, of Democratic origins, politicians will put their foot in their mouths at exactly the wrong time of the year.

And thus it comes to be that Politics is right now, my most favourite Reality show.



  1. And to tune into the World’s best comedy show..just watch some Indian news channel and watch the politicos and their amusing antics :)

    I was just reading a book recently ‘The Powers that be’ that talks about how the American Media Moghuls have shaped politicians and vice versa. Quite an interesting check it out sometime :)

    Comment by Joylita — November 2, 2006 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  2. like this summary..and appears a good time to read this one as well :

    i though disagree with the “News channels by the Left and Right”

    its good cos you atleast knw upfront what you are buying into – no ambiguities – tune into something for a POV ..thats it ..rather than wonder whether something is biased :)

    yes, maybe not call it news ;)

    Comment by Sharath Rao — November 5, 2006 @ 8:54 pm | Reply

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