Sunday, September 20, 2015

Serve People, Not Ideology

"Service is never ideological for we do not serve ideas, we serve people" 

-- Pope Francis in Havana 

This is a timely, powerful advise from this popular Pope. In no subtle terms he is asking Cuban rulers to keep aside long past expired state ideology of Revolution and keep the focus on serving Cuban people. Till America had frozen relations with Cuba, Cuban Revolutionaries had an excuse to blame America. This Pope helped Barack Obama and Cuban rulers to unfreeze relations between these countries. It is time for Cuban Revolutionaries to get their act together and keep focus on Cuban people. Pope Francis is absolutely right in characterizing what is going in Cuba - slavish adherence to outdated Communist Ideology at the cost of people's welfare. It is not sufficient for Cuban rulers to grant only religious freedom to Cuban people. Equally important is Cuban Rulers open Cuba's Economy and grant the basic freedom of doing business to entrepreneurs. Cuba cannot just keep on circling around by retaining hurdles for booming private business. It needs to fully embrace private business and sensible reforms to embrace 'private property and foreign capital' fully. World and Cuban People can understand that full scale multi-party political system may take time and may have to wait.[1] But the priority should be accorded to open Cuban Economy and support private initiatives. That is the import of Pope's homely. 

Cuba is not the only country which needs some dressing down in this regard. America is in a desperate need of listening to Pope's advise too. Two centuries old democratic discourse of America sadly does not prevent her for falling for such extremism. Good that this Pope will get a chance to educate American Lawmakers directly and one hopes that he fully exploits it. There are lawmakers who are destroying American Jobs with impunity in the name of adherence to extreme Right wing Economic Ideology and with his sensible message, this Pope can help stop such insanity.

American Presidential Election Campaign is never known for any less controversial pronouncements or any civil discussion. But ever since Barack Obama occupied White House, Tea Party and essentially stupid Republicans are having a field day in making such outrageous statements in the name of freedom of speech. But even on this background of extremism, what Republican Candidate Ben Carson is saying is unacceptable and unthinkable - he says a Muslim cannot occupy White House. Our Constitution says:

"...but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

-- Article VI, American Constitution

There is no law to forbid a non-christian to be a president. The whole history of our Republic is separation of Religion from State and here we have a shameless candidate trying to impose his version of Christian Shariya on this Republic - again all in the name of serving some version of American Christian Ideology. There are always racists and Islamophobic extremist voters in this country. The job of someone seeking a public office is not to stoke such deranged thinking but to help these voters go away from such faulty opinions. Instead of that in Ben Carson (and to a large extent most of today's Republican field), we have an extreme form of pandering to Christian Evangelicals in America. It is not someone's religion which would disqualify a person for a public office in USA; rather it should be demagoguery which Carson is practicing here which should disqualify him for the public office. [2]

By reminding rulers that their job is to serve people and not ideology; Pope Francis has set an appropriate tone to his visit to USA. This land needs some education in this regard and Pope Francis is a perfect teacher to impart those lessons to our politicians at this time. We need to hear from this Pope:

"my religion is all about serving people and there is no place in my books for using religion to garner votes or to serve your political purposes".

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[1] - Don't try to convince Marco Rubio or his cohort of Republicans who oppose any kind of legitimate economic relationship between these two countries. Again, for Rubio Ideology before pragmatic efforts to serve people. That same Rubio, we have never heard blaming Republicans of past for opening economic relations with China while we are still waiting for any kind of political liberalization in that mammoth Communist giant. It is always 'selective' logic with these politicians. 

[2] - Coming from India, it just amazes me that India had three Muslim, one lady and one Sikh Presidents; twice elected Sikh PM; gladly accepted a foreign born Christian as Chairperson of  the ruling coalition; elected twice ladies as speaker of house; twice elected a lady PM; all in relatively young life of Indian Republic. At no point anybody in India would tolerate the kind of non-sense Ben Carson is spouting here. Just because USA is shielded by oceans on two sides and historically there is much less migration of Muslim people to this land does not mean Ben Carson gets an opportunity to establish some kind of Christian Caliphat on these 50 states.

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