Barack Obama Visits Our Little Town of Espanola, NM

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.

16 Responses to “Barack Obama Visits Our Little Town of Espanola, NM”

  1. Ranvir Singh Bassi says:

    Bhai Gurumustak ji,
    Mr Obama came to visit us in Berlin two months ago and he left the Tiergarten buzzing. Atleast 250,000 people +++ came to see his speech. I am not American and ultimately it is your own decision, although I honestly believe he is the best thing for you. I also commend you on keeping Sikhnet neutral and free from personal bias.

  2. Obama’s New Mexico Economy Speech, entire text in OpEdNews, comments welcome! posted by Stephen Fox, New Mexico Sun News Contr. Editor

  3. I applaud Gurumustuk Singh Ji for encouraging people to become informed. I wrote a series of articles on my blog “translating” the deceptive language of Obama that he has posted on his website. I may write another article highlighting the destructive “ideals” of McCain. I can see how people would be duped into voting for Black McCain (Obama) as his language is so flowery and talks about hope and change so much. White McCain is pretty straight forward in his support of destruction and depravity. One says he’s against the war (Black McCain) and another says he’s for it (White McCain), but their policies are about identical. That is why we need to be informed. I’m writing in jest by labeling them both as McCain to highlight that their differences are about skin deep. In a choice between black and white shades of the same man, same policy, same destruction, same war, same lack of basic rights to healthcare education prosperity and sustainability, I’m choosing to vote for neither. My vote may not go to the winning candidate, but it will prove that I’m not scared and I’m not fooled. There is still a small part of the voting population who doesn’t buy the garbage espoused by a failed monolithic and corrupt “two” party system. It may only be 3-5% of the votes that go elsewhere, but we’ll know that at least a few million voting Americans use their brains! Don’t let people tell you that your vote on Nader or some one else is wasted. It’s only wasted if you vote for White or Black McCain while believing they are different. If you believe in their practice of corruption and corporate hand outs, war mongering, and continued environmental destruction, then by all means vote for them! I advise not wasting your vote on either of the main idiots running, use it to let the world know there are still Americans who are not fooled and not scared to stand up for humanity.

  4. “My vote may not go to the winning candidate, but it will prove that I’m not scared and I’m not fooled. ” Prabhu Singh Khalsa: Sorry but I find this to be completely absurd, this sentiment of yours. Make your vote count, sahib! I ask only that you read the entire Obama Espanola speech and to keep up with what he is saying about Iraq and about this recent “Bailout” BS, and then vote accordingly. This has nothing to with not being scared or fooled, whatever you mean by that seems incomprehensible to me.

    By the way, I feel sure that if Yogi B. were still alive, he would be strongly supporting Obama. I don’t know how Inderjit Bibi is leaning, but this column might ask her, in an interview form. It would be most illuminating, I am sure!!!

  5. My vote will count, it will count for Nader!
    I don’t like Obama or McCain. I think they’re both criminals like most other people in Washington. It’s a huge waste of my vote to use it to support criminals. Read the articles on my blog if you want to know what I really think of Obama’s policies. If he wasn’t a war mongering corporate slave, he would have said that bombing Iran or invading was out of the question. Instead he says it’s a possibility if they become a threat. Also he would support Dennis Kucinich’s HR 676 which cuts the insurance and drug companies out of government health care and allows us all to see doctors when we want. As it stands now people are dying rather than going to see a doctor because they can’t afford it. Obama says he’ll make insurance more accessible. Why do I want more access to something that will cost me more, when I already pay a boatload of taxes? Shouldn’t my taxes go to something other than war and corporate bail outs? Neither white nor black McCain agree with my sentiments, therefore I won’t waste my vote on either one.
    I’m not scared of white McCain winning because I don’t think he’s much worse than Obama. At least if he’s elected people will still protest and become informed. With Obama, everybody believes he’ll fix everything. While the middle class and poor are being raped, they’ll continue to sing the praises of Obama, the next great savior, the one who speaks of change and hope and sells our hope for change to corporate interests. The one who believes and talks of peace except for in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc. The one who wants us to be able to pay insurance companies easier, instead of seeing a doctor. Who wants us to use ethonal because his home state grows corn, ignoring the fact that it is wildly unsustainable and an idiotic notion to replace fossil fuels, since, among other things, it requires so much fossil fuel to produce. I don’t think I need to go further.
    My notion as a Sikh is that my lifestyle and my consciousness is what I can take responsibility for and do something about. Therefore I will vote, but I will trust that no matter what, it is important for me to make the changes in my life that I want to see in the world.

  6. P.S. I really like the sun news. Thanks for making such a quality paper!
    I saw on a bumper sticker “not scared, not fooled” and I appreciate those sentiments so I echoed that. It is fear of McCain winning that has many voting for Obama, and they are fooled into believing that he’s any different.  I’m not fooled by Obama’s flowery language, I went to his website and I don’t agree with his policies, most of which are not very substantive anyway. I’m not scared of my vote going to waste because I believe it will only go to waste if I feel dirty after voting. I felt dirty after voting for John Kerry, who insulted Sikhs, and he didn’t win anyway, that was the worst waste of my vote EVER! I won’t ever do that again.

  7. Thanks for your comment which clarifies what you mean, and thanks for your praise of our paper. I am sure we would publish your letter to the editor, and perhaps even a more extended article if you wished to put it together. My email is [email protected]. THANKS AGAIN!

  8. Jivan Joti Kaur Khalsa says:

    Sat Nam Prabhu Singh.  I admire your intelligence and your passion for truth.  But, I wanted to respond with some of my perspectives, as well. I’m not as smart as you, Prabhu, and I’m not as versed as you on all of the details of the issues, but in my 63 years, I’ve experienced a lot, which has made me just at passionate about Barack Obama.  This is why.
         In my lifetime, I have experienced schools being integrated, Afro-Americans moving to the front of the bus and the first Black college kids going to a white university.  It wasn’t something I read about in a history book.  I was there.  I had a Black boyfriend in college.  We couldn’t go off campus for fear of our safety.  I marched for the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s with bigoted Whites yelling obsenities at us and Police just waiting for one of us to get out of line.  When Barack Obama announced his decision to run for President, I wept.  I never thought in my life time that it could happen.  At the rally here in Espanola, I wept with other people my age, some were Afro-American women – “No, we never thought in our lifetime it could happen.”  When I read his autobiography, “Dreams of My Father,” I wept again.  How could someone with that consciousness be running for President?
          In my lifetime, I also foughts against the Vietnam War.  While Guru Terath Singh was fighting legally inside the Induction Center to get guys out of the Draft, I was outside demonstrating.  I was very naive, thinking that after that horrible war, we would never go to war again.  I was wrong.  I was also wrong in thinking that Bush and Gore were almost the same.  In his high ideals, Guru Terath Singh voted for Ralph Nader last time.  “It won’t matter much,” he thought.  He wanted to make a statement.  But it did matter.  Gore lost in New Mexico by 366 votes.  If Gore had won, we wouldn’t be in Iraq. When Bush won, the Siri Singh Sahib said we would be suffering for 100 years because of Bush. If he were here now, he’d probably say it would be even longer…and if McCain wins, it will be for much, much longer.  I don’t care about me, Prabhu, but I do care about my Grandchildren.
         As you can see, Prabhu, I have lived the life of an idealist and still am.   But, I am also a realist and very practical.  Maybe things have to get a lot worse before people will wake up.  But how long will it take going the most idealistic route…through Ralph Nader?  A very long time.  I believe in Barack Obama.  And if he is elected, I believe that he will do all he can to make things better.  Its not going to happen over night, and its not going to be easy.  But, I do believe that he will pull people together.  Yes, he will have to play some political games, but I believe he will make big changes.  McCain will only make things go backwards.  Obama’s being elected will say so much to all of those bigoted, conservative people who will not vote for a Black man.  Barack is our first Aquarian candidate.  He needs our help so he can serve and change history.   There’s no way Ralph Nader can win.  Voting for him is throwing away a vote, a vote that Obama needs, especially in our “swing-state” of New Mexico.  Barack will listen to Gore.  He will make changes and he will work with everyone to make it happen.  Life is about compromise so there can be a win-win solution. 
          You have many years ahead of you, Prabhu Singh.  At my age, 4-8 years of McCain is too many, which is actually 12-16 years of the same.
         I don’t expect my words to change your mind, but I had to express my self anyway.  Blessings in the Name of the One,  Jivan Joti Kaur

  9. Sat Hari Singh Khalsa says:

    I too am fed up with both parties, but feel it is a lesser of two evils issue. I’m a union activist and officer of the Transport Workers Union for NYC subway workers and feel that four more years of Bush in the guise of McCain is truly more evil.
    As an old Hippie who was against the Vietnam War and every other American war since then I just can’t vote for someone who participated in the genocidal bombing of Vietnam. The term genocidal bombing was from my Dad’ he was in a WW2 bomber crew member who bombed Nazi Germany and that’s what he felt about the bombing of Vietnam campaign which McCain participated in.
    So if it looks like Obama is going to win in my state hands down, I will vote for a third party candidate more to my liking such as the Green Party. But it its close I will vote for Obama. No more Ralph Nader votes helping Bush into office.
    We need a viable third party in this country and can’t put up with the good cop bad cop Democrat-Republican party routines any more.
    In any event the next four years all of our taxes will go for war and Wall Street bailouts. So we have to demonstrate and take to the streets change consciousness and hope for real change. If we don’t the country will all be owned by big corporations driven by greed. No socialism for the rich until we get some ey.

  10. Jivan Joti Kaur Ji, I appreciate your opinion and appreciate your and many other’s authentic hope in Obama. However I don’t share it and will not trust him to be different than McCain. His skin color is the most significant difference I see between him and McCain, which to me skin color means nothing, i.e. it’s quite insignificant.
    Obama as a chain smoking corporate sellout who believes in capturing the minds of the people, like his hero Reagan, can hardly be considered Aquarian, if I understand what those values are meant to be.
    My belief as Khalsa is that I cannot and will not support evil. The lesser of two evils is not good enough for me because it is still evil. I believe in purity and righteousness. Not the kind that fanatics of other religions are pushing, the authentic kind. We all know what that means for ourselves. What we know as purity and know as righteousness. If I were any other religion I’d force my views of what that means on others, but as a Sikh I know that everybody has their path, and most paths prescribe a pretty basic level of human decency. That BASIC level of human decency is not being displayed by Obama or McCain. Would a decent human allow this indecent war to continue for even 3 more years? Because that’s what Obama considers ending this war: the same Bush-created cash cow paying the same corporate interests millions a minute for THREE MORE YEARS! McCain talks about 100 years, but 3 years as things are now, could essentially wipe the population clean.
    Would an “aquarian” person allow people to continue dying rather than seeing doctors? Because I think an aquarian person, like Kucinich, who’s even familiar with the term, knows that we need single-payer health care and has written a comprehensive bill to that effect. Neither Gore nor Kerry nor Obama have supported this bill which costs less than we are already paying in Medicare taxes. Why? Because these so called “progressive” leaders are wolves in sheep clothing. They give hope to people who are suffering greatly and sell that hope to big pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Obama’s website has his vague, yet more of the same, policies listed in plain language. Those policies are not acceptable to me and I won’t vote for such disgusting “ideals.” I listened to Obama answer the question of a woman in ABQ who asked why we even need insurance companies in the loop regarding healthcare. After all, insurance companies make money by insuring that we don’t see a doctor or get treatment. He didn’t even use his typical flowery and hopeful language to make an excuse. He basically said “They’re an important part of the system and we need to keep them.” That’s total BULL, they ARE the system that “insures” no one gets good health care.
    Nader is polling at 10% that means a lot more people think that in fact somebody like him can win! That’s revolutionary. That is a change I will support. I won’t vote for a wolf (McCain) or a wolf in sheeps clothing (Obama). In fact the wolf in sheeps clothing upsets me more, because his war-mongering corporate sellout ideals are about to manfiest in office off the backs of those who oppose those “ideals.” While the majority of Americans want single-payer healthcare and want this war in Iraq to end, only Nader is addressing that fact. While Obama does a song and dance to play on the hopes of millions, Nader continually and tirelessly works for those millions behind the scenes as he has always done. My vote is wasted if I vote for evil, the prominent or the hidden. It is worth something if I show my support to the few million other Americans who want authentic change and authentic hope.

  11. “The only bills that I’ve voted for, for the most part, since I’ve been in the senate, were introduced by Republicans or George Bush.” – Obama
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  12. Canuck says:

    Thank you all for sharing your personal stories and opinions regarding this situation, it is interesting to hear (WW references and history), and important to know as we all know that Miri and Piri is always in Sikhs hearts. We are all blind indeed, and in order for the masses to wake up, let us wake up.

  13. Headlined Today at OPEDNEWS.COM: What it’s like to debate Sarah Palin, by Andrew Halcro, an Independent Candidate for Alaska Governor who debated her more than 24 times!

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  14. hargobind says:

    Votes in swing states like New Mexico and your county are really important. I would not take it lightly. When arguments arise that the candidates are the same it is just not true. Politics is about the caucusing of similar interests.

    A vote for McCain is a vote for higher spending on military (and higher taxes to pay for this or greater national debt), anti abortion, conservative christian interests,  less regulation of the financial sectors of our economy, and destruction of the environment.

    A vote for Obama is a vote for higher investment in schools, health care ( and higher taxes for this reason), more liberal immigration, pluralism in society, tolerance for gays, higher financial sector regulation (ie sound financial institutions),  protection of the environment and a woman’s right to choose (abortion).

    True both candidates represent some of the same money interests on which our society  but the vote has a chance at this point to make a difference in the above mentioned ways. However voting for a non republican or democrat like Nader has zero impact. Idealism is great if it actually accomplishes something. It is kind of a waste of time if it does not.

  15. Satleen Kaur says:

    That is somewhat cool. I think it is important that Sikhs attend American programs/festivals and the same amount of Sikh gurpurabs.Even though I am just 9 years old, I think it is important.