Dear Congresswoman Gabbard,
First of all, writing this on Memorial Day, I thank you for your service to this country. My heart aches for your friends and comrades killed and maimed in the line of conflict. As a Hindu, we recognize the eternal nature of the Soul, which continues to exist from one life to the next, taking on a new body at the time of death. For those who continue to suffer, we must look to the Bhagavad Gita for inspiration: “O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.” (2.15)
I also wish to share my support of your candidacy for the Presidency. It is an inspiration to see a progressive candidate who stands strong in their faith, with the informed perspective of a combat veteran to hold such a strong stance in opposition of what you so rightly call “regime change wars.” You have shared this a number of times in interviews, but allow me to join the many who offer sincere gratitude for leading by example as a person of faith.
You have encouraged me — and countless others — to live out loud and walk tall in my faith. As someone who grew up in an abusive, fear-based religious culture, I have found in the Hindu religion a means to cultivate a meaningful relationship with God. It is one of my goals in this life to encourage people, especially those whose primary experience with religion is one of oppression, judgment, and subjugation, to pursue a relationship with our Creator, with the understanding that false prophets and egotists are not fair representatives of faith, let alone the Supreme Lord.
As a friend of the American Sikh community, trained by the Sikh Coalition as a civil rights advocate, I urge you to reach out to our brothers and sisters who practice the world’s fifth largest religion who continue to be skeptical of your candidacy. I firmly reject the notion that you are Hindutva or a “puppet” of any foreign head of state, be it Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, or Bashar Al Assad; however, these vicious rumors and the propaganda machine behind them continue to cast a long, dark shadow over your presence in the race. I understand the need for political engagement, including meeting those with whom we may have deep disagreements. Our generation –we are both 80’s babies — struggles with this notion, but I see you as an example that we can meet with our ideological opponents without compromising our principles or ethics. May you continue to inspire the public to help restore political discourse in the wake of Trump’s toxic brand of attack politics and the present reactionary nature among so many of our well-intended friends on the Left.
Whatever help I can be as an emissary between your campaign and American faith communities, I am eager to serve the Universal Truth we both espouse: that we are all children of a loving Creator, and that all forms of bigotry (racial, political, and religious) must be condemned. I wish you the best of luck in the 2020 race and know you will continue to be an inspiring and healing presence, determined to repair our highly fractured political landscape. Many blessings upon you, Congresswoman Gabbard. I hope we can meet someday to discuss these and other matters.
Om Sai Ram,
Rev. Alex DiBlasi, M.A.