Today something totally out of the ordinary happened here in our little town of Espanola, New Mexico. We had a presidential candidate (Barack Obama) come to New Mexico, specifically to talk to the residents of Espanola area! Apparently in previous presidential elections the state was won/lost for the different political parties by a small margin of a few hundred votes from our little city/county! Who would have ever thought we would be getting this attention?? So I guess this means we get a little more attention from presidential candidate. Elections are won and lost this way so they try to get as much support as they can in the so called "swing states".
Anways, I’ve never been to any type of political rally, especially something like this in Espanola, so I figured I should go check it out. I have never seen Espanola so packed with cars and people everywhere! There were lines going around the block of people waiting to go through security to get "inside" (though it was an outdoor event). The event was very well organized, so despite the crowds everything went pretty smoothly.
I got there around 11AM and then just walked around talking to people. It was fun seeing all the different types of people that came to the event. After a few hours of mulling around the program began, and the crowds got thick. I used my India skills of getting through thick crowds to get to a good place. There was a "VIP" area on the side which I managed to get into because there was just a few ropes keeping me out, and there were some Sikh friends on the other side. Hey…I went to India….you don’t play by the rules there. If you try to be the "nice guy" in the mob in India, you just get trampled or never get into the building. It was hard to get pictures from where I was with all the crowds and after a while one of the event staff pulled me aside and gave me a press pass (which was great), so I was able to get in prime location on a back stage with a great view. There I sat and took a few pictures while I listened to the speeches. It was great.
If you want to hear what Barak Obama had to say you can watch this video of his speech at the event. Senator Hillary Clinton even came to Espanola a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t around that day. You can watch that video too if you want (you can see the Sikh turban on the left side in the crowd).
While I didn’t get much work done today, I’m glad I went. I generally steer pretty clear of politics, but with this happening in my back yard I couldn’t help but check it out. : ) As always it was also cool seeing fellow Sikhs working away in the community (Abinashi Singh in full police uniform on active duty and other Sikhs on duty as the Emergency Medical Service on bikes)
If you are a USA resident and not registered to vote, make sure that you register! As Sikhs we must make our voices heard and be a political force so that when there are issues affecting Sikh, that we have political clout to get things taken care if. So, make sure you vote for someone on November 4th! Get informed, learn about the candidates and be involved in the process!
Here are some pictures from the day. Click on the pictures below to see a larger version with a description
Ps. The purpose of this blog post is not to endorse or promote any political candidate, but just to highlight the political process and the interaction with our local community and the Sikhs.