Shefali Razdan Duggal, 37, political activist, voted for the Obama/Biden ticket in San Francisco.
"I believe this election is about change versus the path this country has been on for the past eight years. Senator Obama represents that change for me and I believe he will lead us in a new, and better, direction. We are all extremely fortunate to live in a country where we have a real voice in our democratic government. This is a rare and precious privilege, and so I believe it is important to vote irrespective of your party affiliation. Also, I believe that this election, particularly, is symbolic of the hopes and aspirations of true equality, in all respects, which our founders had envisioned for our great country."
Dhaval Shah, 35, Senior Manager, software engineer, voted for Obama in Mountain View, California
"I voted for Obama because he stands for change, for hope, for better future of US of A. It's historic moment by all means. We have had 8 years of republican rule which must change!"
Hrishikesh M Sathawane supports the gay community in California and has voted for Barack Obama
"For California this election is doubly important. Obama is the only candidate who openly stood behind Gay community. This is a historic election. Voting is my right and duty. In California Prop8 puts fundamental rights of equality at risk and hence it must be defeated. I have voted No on prop 8."
Pravin Sheth writes in from Dayton-Ohio:
"We voted exactly a month before today -- on 4th October -- in Dayton-Ohio. We were aware of the role of Ohio state as a swing and battle ground state in presidential polls --previous and present. Our family of four, therefore, seized the opportunity to play our small but important role in this strategic state. I voted for Barak Obama.
Even on that day, there was a steady stream of voters visiting the hustings with Afro-Americans and senior citizens more visible. Polling was orderly, the staff at the booth co-operative and our voting process including pressing the button on the voting machine was over in less than 10 minutes.
I was to realize a three weeks after that an unprecedented voter mobilization was to make voters wait in queue for long hours. And they voted in a qualitatively changed environment of intense political communication of misinformation and disinformation, negative name calling, and massive mobilization in rallies and at the hustings. Let me recapitulate the other environment the voting is taking place on 4th November.
We consciously pursued the campaign on TV media as we feel that we're witness to a truly history-making event that is likely to usher in a significant CHANGE in the political process and cultural perceptions of this great democracy with likely far-reaching effects for the world.
Last night, our grand daughter, Surili, 19, an OSU student, Columbus-OH waited for 6 hrs and 30 minutes in queue before getting into the polling booth. A long line of students, youth and other citizens waited with calm. Volunteers of both parties served them pizza, a bottle of water, freely and treated the standing voters with courtesy, Surili happily informed us. Most Indian Americans have switched their preference for Obama. Most second generationers of Indian roots were active and fondly worked for Obama against even Hillary during the Dem primary.
(Some Indians though told me that they avoid fixing sticks holding the flag/sign board of "Obama-Biden' ticket in the front yard of their house, as they will be spotted in the surrounding fronts of the white neighbours who have planted sticks bearing the "McCain-Palin" ticket! Most in our neighbour hood also are inclined towards Republican candidates as the rich income group Americans and (even) Indian doctors are prone to! But the undercurrent of even blue turning red and that 'dreaded "Bradley effect" being diluted, we've reasons for hope -- for CHANGE.Race/colour is the only major factor - followed by Palinesque appeal of negativist populism to the politically illiterate masses--that can deny Obama his merited search for place in White House. The process of Change, it seems, is irresistibly set in
Nearby our town Dayton, yesterday night, Barak Obama addressed a 45,000 strong audience (adult citizens and students) at University of Cincinnati and the audience listened to him with rapt attention. They agreeably clapped/laughed and understood the rhetoric as well as subtle points explained by this great orator--an Ivy League political science graduate, His suavity of temper, diction, rhythmic way of transmitting ideas, expert-like articulation and grasp of different problems -- domestic, international --and believing the stereotype of black in the mainstream white mass. He is truly "a transformational figure," (in Collin Powell's eloquent phrase) indeed. Freezing rains, chilly winds blazing sun, as Michelle Obama said, did not deter the people from thronging at Obama's rallies.35,000 people listened with instant responses to Bill Clinton-Obama meeting near Orlando, Fa -- well, during 11 to 12 night! I had a lesson in political communication during the whole three-month sitting before TV or surfing the Net.
Obama is changing the very ideological discourse ('liberalism' derisively called as "the Left' )in America's political life--appealing across communities, classes, ethnic identities, age groups and regions (blue, red, swing/battle ground states...).Energy, youthfulness; big rallies and mammoth public meetings. Promises to be the highest voters turn out in the poll history of this great nation. More reason, least rhetoric (unlike McCain and Palin).If he wins -- and all likely so -- then America has crossed that rubicon of colour. Then Obama has helped us to be a witness to the emergence of a post-racial America.
It's in that context, that I could see the making of a great socio-political Revolution on 4th October till today, the 'C'(change)-Day!"
Giri Gangadharan, first-time voter:
I stood in line for a little over 5 hours to cast my early vote on Sunday. It is my first time vote after becoming a citizen of the United States last year. It was emotional when I finally cast my vote knowing that history could be in the making.
People were out in large numbers and it was obvious that they were looking for change, a better tomorrow.
I did vote for Barack Obama and as a minority I somehow could relate to many things he went through in life. It is inspiring and gives us hope that someday we as a community could achieve something great.
Gopinath Jambulingam, first-time voter:
This election is very special for me. I will be casting my vote for the first time in USA. I feel very proud to be part of this historical election.
I was eagerly waiting for this moment, couldn't sleep well at night because of the excitement. I woke up early this morning, went with the family and voted.
My daughter was too excited looking at the polling booth and voting machine.
She whispered in my ears "Daddy, vote for Obama".
It is a memorable day indeed -- anxiously waiting for the results. I wish good luck for Barack Obama and strongly feel he will bring in the change.
Kaushik Thinnaneri Ganesan writes in from Chicago:
Living in the same city as Barack Obama is just another reason for me to support him, but by far, the least important. When I started following American politics a good many years ago, in India, one of the most enduring memories was of George Bush's dumbness and America's Big Brotherness, not much more.
As I sit here today, working in a financial firm in downtown Chicago, at the time of the worst economic crisis to hit both America and the world for more than just one generation, I realize that I have come a long way from Chennai to Chicago, not just in distance. The last few months have been filled with interesting discussions about who America's next President might be, and how it would impact Americans and the world.
Agreed, the USA is no way as strong as it has been for the past century, in influencing the world. America has shown signs of weakness, and other countries are growing more rapidly than America ever did. Still, make no mistake; America is the most dominant global player in today's increasingly volatile world.
George Bush has totally played around with the Office of the President of the United States of America is well-known to everyone, including John McCain and most other Republicans. Still, this (mis)match of a statesman like Barack Obama and a war-veteran like John McCain has made little sense to me, as most others.
With all due respect to Mr. McCain's credentials on foreign policy (which is just about the only thing he has been hankering on, for most part of his "campaign"), he is, by no means, qualified to play such a dynamic and multi-faceted role in deciding the affairs of such an important nation, that too, in a period of global difficulty.
The disparity was striking -- on the one hand, we had a well (ivy-league)-educated gentleman from a diverse background, with a calm demeanour, impressive stature and solid plan of action to tackle the current crisis and on the other, we had a self-described maverick 72-year-old known to have a not-so-calm temper with not much non-military education.
I will, for briefness' sake, not go into the details of each candidate's policies or what he plans to do, but one striking aspect as far as policies are concerned is that while Obama's campaign genuinely covered what he planned to do via policy outlines, McCain's, for most part, revolved around ill-directed attempts at maligning Obama. Seriously, Bill Ayers?
If Obama sat on the board of an anti-poverty organization along with Bill Ayers, a once-upon-a-time local terrorist now a distinguished Professor of Education at a premier university in America, how in this wide world can that be an issue to question Obama's character. But to me, the choice of both candidates' Veeps was a classic highlight of their personas. Obama chose a well-educated, experienced man capable of taking independent informed decisions backed by strong knowledge.
McCain chose a hockey-mom (pit-bull with a lipstick, if you want) with little or no foreign policy experience, someone who got her passport only 2 years back and who is supposed to have said that dinosaurs existed 4000 years ago. Oh yes, she also said that her state's (Alaska) proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience. Whew, and there's more I won't take the pains to elaborate now. Simply, this choice that each candidate made, showed his thinking.
Obama was sincere and wanted to have good strong experienced backing, McCain went for someone who (he "thought") would fetch him votes. And as the days went by, it became more and more obvious how important education is. For someone like me who came to the US to pursue his Master's, I did not really associate "education" to instilling good thinking power and etiquette as much as when I saw how Obama-Biden performed, compared to how badly McCain-Palin did.
Accepted, I cannot generalize education's impact on thinking and etiquette, still, here the influence was unmistakable. Ultimately, I might seem (and probably am) biased. I am probably even not as well-informed as one ought to be, but this much information and knowledge I have acquired over the past few months has convinced me enough that America needs someone like Obama. McCain may be well-meaning in wanting to be American President, but unfortunately, we have an easily better candidate at hand. Here's to (hopefully) the first Black President of the United States of America, and I don't say this as a Chicagoan.
And in case any of you thought I was going to vote for Obama, No, I am still an Indian passport holder and will, in all probability, never get to vote in an American election, but isn't it fair that as responsible citizens of ONE world, we have well-informed opinions on issues of global importance for Lokakshemam?