Amarjit Singh, 63
Taxi driver, New York
The 2017 US presidential election has helped me see America for what it truly is. Another India. Like India, today America is the most divided it has ever been in modern history. I have also seen many elections and presidents come and go. But I must say this one had the most violent overtones. That said, what changed? Nothing. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Trump won the electoral college, the protestors protested, and the common man still went to work the next day whether he liked it or not.
I’m not over thinking things because let us be honest, Indian politics has been no different. First-generation immigrants like me who have weathered Indian politics know that politics and politicians are fickle. Some of my friends say we bring our divisive politics here when we talk about platforms like Republican Hindu Coalition and the like. For example, for centuries we divided India along communal lines, I see the same mentality being followed here too. So, Christian Indians or Buddhist or Sikh Indians are not Indians? Why could it not be simply Republican Indian Coalition? To me nothing has changed.
And yet, what is the point in fretting? I have plied my taxi business here for decades and therefore had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life who come to visit, or reside in the Big Apple. Some of my passengers were racist twenty years ago, and continue to be so today. America, like any other country, has intolerant people. It is not a Trump or a Clinton that makes them racist or bigoted but each individual’s inherent nature. Even though I do not feel any different given my exposure to the divisive and violent nature of politics in India, many young Indian-Americans feel nervous about the hateful rhetoric. I tell them they will be fine so long as a President Trump does not practice what he preached during his election campaign.
— As told to Farwa Imam Ali