Brown People Join Obama's Team

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
President-Elect Barack Obama (I love writing that) is filling out his transition team quickly, and there’s already word of brown people joining his administration. Sonal Shah is the first desi officially named to be on Obama’s advisory project, and today, Nicholas Rathod starts as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Nick is the chief liason between the Obama team, and governors and mayors from across the U.S. (Full disclosure: He’s also my cousin!)

Others we should hear about shortly who are expected to be on Obama’s team are Preeta Bansal, Neera Tanden, Subodh Chandra, Kris Kolluri, Hrishi Karthikeyan, and Dave Kumar.

It’s electrifying to see South Asian Americans at the head of government during this historic time. At one point or another, many of these people probably sacrificed a crapload of money to go the public route. I know my cousin did. I am gratified to see his difficult choice paying off as he takes on a leadership role in the most exciting moment of our age, and becomes a part of history.

This is everything our parents worked and sacrificed for. They left their home countries, picked secure careers, so that their children could have more opportunity. So now, their children are not only making money and excelling in every field, they’re giving back. They’re sitting at the table with people who view them as equals, as every bit American as they are. They’re shaping the American narrative with their own voices. And they’re deriving from the histories of their immigrant parents and grandparents to make policies. That can only mean good for the country.

Under Bush, Indian Americans in politics haven’t had as many opportunities as they will have now (Bobby Jindal excluded). I predict a wave of young Desis getting involved in the public sphere, because they feel that they can actually have a voice now. The man at the top is listening, and he wans them to be a part of the process. It’s not just about our interests as a community being represented; it’s about us feeling like we can finally give something back to this country, which has given us and our families so much.

If he were alive today, Gandhi would be proud of these desis, who are living exemplars of his sage advice: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
8 comments:
rp said...

go nick! we are proud of you!

Anonymous said...

I love this. Is Sonal Shah a devi with baby, or just a devi?

Swati said...

This is a lovely post. Indeed, we parents sacrificed a lot so that younger generation could have more choices. But you kids make us proud.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the role of a transition team? Do they write new policies, or do they build out the administration? Also, what are their email addresses so I can apply? ;-]

deepa said...

Hey, previous poster: You actually CAN apply! As if we need more reason to heart Barack, his administration is being completely transparent in its hiring policies , and you can express interest and apply here: http://www.change.gov/

EMBELLISHER said...

Why are Desi's in a hurry to change their names though? Nick, Kris? What are they short for? Wonder what Barack Hussein Obama would have changed his name to hmmm....

Anonymous said...

LOL, Embellisher. Maybe Barry, or Bert?? Bert Obama..... an ugly thought.

Anonymous said...

FYI - His name is Nicholas. Not all desis necessarily have Hindu names.

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