Obama’s non-trip to the Golden Temple

Last week, Sepia Mutiny’s ennis offered his take on the controversy around the White House’s reluctance about an Obama visit to the Golden Temple:

“Here’s my hunch – Obama wanted to go, and put it on his schedule, but it was so low priority that nobody bothered to think much about it until the story came out at which point somebody on his staff freaked out. And it could be that I’m wrong, and somebody in the White House freaked out over a bandana. But if that’s true, they’re smoking the same stuff Juan Williams is smoking, and that’s very sad to hear indeed.”

I agree with this for the most part.  I’m not so sure that the White House is solely concerned that Obama will appear muslimy, but other factors are also at play.  At the same time, if this is a consideration at all, it certainly is disappointing for Indians in India, and Sikhs in America.

Who’s ultimately responsible for this disappointment?  The Sikh Coalition blames the President:

“The community obviously feels stood up by the President,” said Sapreet Kaur, Executive Director, Sikh Coalition. “The Administration should not have excited the community by the prospect of a visit, and then not made it happen. Unless President Obama wants to be viewed by the community as the ‘President who bailed on the Sikhs,’ he is going to have to figure out a way to make this up to the Sikh American community.” 

I don’t recall the President or his administration making any promise about visiting Darbar Sahib.  The excitement we felt was created by ourselves.

Obama isn’t especially tied to the Sikh or even Indian community.  Let’s not forget the bungled “D-Punjab” crack that Obama’s camp directed towards Hillary Clinton during their battle to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for US President. So, he doesn’t really “owe” us a visit there.


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