Dean, DFNYC, Daily Kos, Justin, Brooklyn, Nepal
My Americana blog has taken a back seat to my Nepal blog for a while now, and that is not about to change soon, but I figured I jot down a few lines. I got to meet Howard Dean earlier today at the DFNYC Mixer. Technically speaking, yesterday, since this is past midnight. Also the Daily Kos and the MyDD guys.
I showed up in an all jeans outfit. That was not planned. I just did not have the time to change. These Manhattan hideouts, there is this unspoken dress code. Not that I care two whits, but I don't dislike pants. The only thing I dislike is the tie.
There was quite a lot of talk on Nepal. I don't own a TV set. And I don't subscribe to the New York Times. So I don't really have a firsthand feel for how big Nepal really became in April, but it seems quite big. I mean, I know. But I did not watch it all myself. I knew Nepal had hit the headlines, but I did not see them myself.
My personal involvement is a curiosity. I think there is a tendency among people who know me to exaggerate my personal involvement. But then I also know of groups that err in the other direction. But whatever it has been has been transparent. And it is true I have been the only Nepali in America doing full time Nepal work for almost a year now.
But David Walker at Playboy magazine had a story waiting from me. This was a few months back. David offered to make space for an article on Nepal in Playboy since he is a senior person there, like he knows Hugh Heffner. I forwarded the email to someone I knew who I asked to forward to who I consider the top columnist in Nepal. I never heard from them. Later I learned the whole thing had become a big joke at the other end. People did not realize Playboy also does serious articles. I shared the story with David today.
Lewis Cohen made a point to meet me and say, "Hello Paramendra. Nice to meet you." He wants to be quoted only in those terms. So now I guess I will have to report on his tone of delivery, things like that. Once he got quoted in terms of men's room talk, and that is when the blogosphere hit him front and center. So he acts careful these days, or he acts like he acts careful these days.
And Howard Dean showed. He had dropped by after having been at a fundraiser. This was not announced. I got goose bumps.
"Governor, Iraq is 27 million people, and Nepal is 27 million people. We need to spread democracy like in Nepal, not like in Iraq," I said after Cohen introduced me to him. ("Got to meet this guy!")
Cobb To Leahy
Leahy Amendment Says No Arms To Nepal
Senator Patrick Leahy
Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat, Vermont
Senator Leahy To US Congress On Nepal
Listening to him speak to others, watch him work the room, then make his small speech, the Dean 2004 feeling came to me all over again. He is not running in 2008, and he said as much today. When Hillary (Hillary 2008) becomes president in 2008, we are all going to be very thankful to the DNC Chair. Before Howard Dean came along, the Democratic Party had no infrastructure. One way to put it would be, the party did not exist.
I was so glad to learn Dean has been crisscrossing the planet. This was a revelation to me. He said he was trying to build a coalition of center left parties. Now that is really something. I myself feel and act like a global citizen. I am in New York City, but I have been intimately involved with Nepal. There is no pretending there's no globalization, there is no internet.
If you think Nepal was really something in April, give that country one more year. The revolution has not ended, it has only shifted from the streets to the parliament. Wait until the constituent assembly elections go full swing.
I met her at the Mixer. She has an amazing story. Her father was Afghan, a Masters in Economics. Her mother white. She told me stories of her father's experiences in racism. Like this one instance, he got accepted for a job after much trial and error, and he showed up with his white wife, and the company said they had made an error, that they never had hired him. They did not like him showing up with a white wife.
Her daughter is African American.
She herself has been pursuing a lawsuit against the city for firing her for her disability. For eight years now. She lives in Queens. She is on Social Security and Disability.
Apparently she is a Deaniac. She relayed to me stories of when "this room used to be full of people." She met and talked to Dean.
Somebody's got to pitch in.
I met him at the Brooklyn event. He is running for something major.
He came to meet Dean. He showed him news clips of the recent surge of arsons in the city.
By now I am familiar with quite a few progressive groups in town, and I have started my own, Hamro Nepal, which has been hailed in the blogosphere as the "world's first digital democracy organization."
But I do give it that DFNYC is special. Not least because of the Dean 2004 alumn status. The group does have a unique culture to it, although not all members are as progressive as the image might suggest. Kind of like New York City.
The alum thing gives it a casual air.
But I expect to be selective in terms of my involvement. I am just interested in a few select events, with DFNYC and a few others. I can't see me a worker bee for one of the local candidates, DFNYC's specialty. And I have never had any interest in DFNYC event planning. I am too busy with Nepal, I am too focused on national politics.
But an astronomer is not superior to atomic physicists. It is specialty, not superiority.
NYC is quite a racially charged city. It is a progressive city, true, but it is racially charged. It is charged in many other ways as well. But it sure is racially charged.
Race is important to me personally. It also fascinates me. And it is a big issue. And nobody knows race like the black community. To me the black community has an attraction that way.
Anyone who hopes to tackle health care in America is going to have to delve into race. Race is richer in details.
But I look at race like a doctor might look at cancer. The most productive ways involve much detachment. The approach almost gets clinical. That is quite a tackle for such a culturally, emotionally charged issue.
Race And Me
I was in my 20s when I came to America. When I think race, I am thinking world politics, I am thinking India, China. I am thinking world history. I am thinking dot com. I am thinking money. I am thinking online entrepreneurship. So my perspective is slightly different from, say, that of African Americans. It involves empires. It involves free, wireless broadband. It involves the individual. So I do meet people who have lost their power, but not their attitude.
Verbal Martial Arts
Once in a while you will bump into some white male who has to make his racist remark. And they are usually only one sentence away from getting blown out of the water. You got to watch Bruce Lee movies to make sense of the concept I am getting at here.
Usually the white male who is prone to making a racist comment is also likely to try to show the white woman her place in the scheme of things. But that is not an automatic recipe for a race gender coalition. Race cuts across gender lines just like gender cuts across race lines.
The Daily Kos and the MyDD guys were in town. Justin Krebs hosted them along with Simon Rosenberg. Kos is really something. He speaks four letter words like he were a rap artist. He is quite young. He is hilarious.
I went to the Kos event right before I went to the Mixer. It was quite an experience.
The Democratic Party is still searching for a vision, for a leader, Kos said. He said the Democratic Party is still searching for its Reagan.
I am not a leader, he said.
Hillary 2008 And Me
I expect to be very involved. But Hillary is simply going to have to watch me pay per view, a cent a minute. I invented the idea. It will be politics in a whole different dimension. And I expect to get rich doing it. I have a healthy feeling about money.
DFNYC did an event in Brooklyn last Thursday. That was one of its best events ever. It being in Brooklyn was a big part of it. I was able to ride my car to the venue. Never have been able to do that before to any DFNYC event.
It was at a church. There was a lot of space. There was no beer, no dim light, no background noise. Candidates for three different seats showed.
Hakeem Jeffries who I have got to know through Leila Noor was there. He gave a suave presentation, I thought.
He was the first person in the NYC political circles I have met to call me up and talk up Nepal when Nepal heated up. I am thankful. I hope to contribute to his campaign.
I might have found my pet issue in American politics. It is the immigration issue. I think I could feel almost as passionate about immigration in America as democracy in Nepal.
Immigration Makes Economy Sense, Democracy, Justice, Family Sense
Bill Frist's Ancestors Came From The Moon
The First Major Revolution Of The 21st Century Happened In Nepal
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