Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sludge or Slime?

This is from SLUDGE's article on US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard:

Gabbard has been the beneficiary of the largesse of the Foundation’s board members and officers. In the 2017-2018 cycle, the Congresswoman received a maximum $2,700 donation from Shukla, and three donations totaling $1500 from her husband and foundation Board Member, Aseem; a total of $10,800 over four donations from Board Member Ravij Pandit and his wife, Priya; and two donations totaling $4,400 from Treasurer Rishi Bhutada. Meghani, HAF’s Chairman, was Gabbard’s biggest donor, maxing out to the campaign in two donations for $5,400 and delivering another $10,000 to the Congresswoman through her Time to Unite Lead and Serve with Integrity (TULSI) leadership PAC. 

Those are facts.  Good for them.  We need to know where campaign donations are coming from.

The rest of the story?

It comes dangerously close to slime.  Those of us who are not Hindu should be aware that there is a great deal of demonizing of the religion.  There's also a great deal of confusion about it as well.

Are they right wing groups -- right wing Hindu groups?  They may be but "according to" doesn't really work with me.  Especially when it's some Phd student.  I'm so unimpressed.

If these are right wing groups, SLUDGE should be able to strongly make that point and hiding behind 'experts' that are questionable doesn't cut it.  Loose links -- which the article tries to present as strong -- also don't sway me.

Hindu is 'the other' for many in the US.  When we're having discussions about it, we should be aware of that prejudice and we should be asking, "Are these fair statements?"  Think of the repulsion over male celebrities making passes to males (or supposedly doing so).  The media has gone crazy with that and, in some cases, we're seeing homophobic coverage -- not MeToo coverage.  I am very leery whenever anyone writes anything about a Hindu group.  I went to India -- loved it -- first time right before grad school.  The visit itself revealed problematic views of people I knew making the same trip.  Discussions since that visit (and I've been to India many times since) have often found me wondering about the person speaking. 

If Aruhndati Roy says they're right wing groups, I'll believe it.  I trust her.

Regardless, I'm always leery of non-Hindus ascribing certain qualities or beliefs to members of that religion.

I would have loved a real investigation.  Even if it didn't end up looking pretty for Tulsi.  But I don't feel this was a real investigation.  "According to . . ."  It reads like a smear job.