Outgoing President Donald Trump has left America more divided than ever and the reputation of the country under his presidency has been tarnished on the international stage, which will take years to be mended, said an influential Indo-American Sikh leader.
“It’s a democracy at work, on both sides. Whether it’s Democrat or Republican … people are excited and want to speak out. The historic turnout in elections means people are hungry to change the situation. status quo on both sides.
“We are more polarized and divided than I have ever seen being an American in 25 years. I believe people care about who will represent them, especially at a time like the COVID-19 pandemic,” PTI told PTI , Gurinder Singh Khalsa, based in Indiana.
Recipient of the prestigious Rosa Parks Trailblazer Award in recognition of her efforts to change Transportation Security Administration policy regarding turbans, Khalsa, 46, although a member of the Republican Party, did not vote for Trump in this election or in 2016.
“I don’t think he’s morally or ethically fit to be president, especially the leader of the free world. I came to America by choice; for dignity and respect. For the first time as an American, I felt challenged about these values, “he said.
Although disillusioned with the current state of Republican Party affairs, Mr Khalsa has said he has no plans to leave the GOP.
“I don’t think the issues lie within the party. It’s those like Trump who have twisted the fundamentals of what it means to be a Republican,” he said.
On the election of Kamala Harris of Indian descent as the country’s vice president, Khalsa said it gives confidence to people of color and to the immigrant community.
“Kamala Harris is a powerful accomplishment for America and provides a silver lining for relations with India. And her victory is just the beginning,” he said.
One of Vice President Mike Pence’s earliest supporters when running for governor of Indiana, Khalsa said he was deeply disappointed with four years of Trump’s administration. He alleged that Trump’s rhetoric directly encouraged racism and sexism. “And it continues to fuel the white versus black and poor versus rich narrative,” he said.
Responding to a question, Mr. Khalsa said it was time for the Native American community to get involved in politics and serve the community in which they live. “You have to give back by serving the community, whatever capacity you can. One thing to keep in mind that democracy is not a constant, it has to be watched and respected, otherwise it will disappear,” a- he declared.
In 2007, Mr. Khalsa was denied access to an aircraft because of his turban. Subsequently, he mobilized more than 67,000 people across the country for petitions and took the matter to the United States Congress, which forced the TSA to change its hairstyle policy towards the Sikh community.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)
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