It appears that Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional district is set to become the first Hindu-American elected to Congress on Election Night, November 6. She is a devotee of the Gaudiya Vaishnav path initiated by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Dalip Singh Saund, a Sikh served in U.S. Congress from 1957-63, and two Buddhists, Mazie Hirono and Hank Johnson were both elected to Congress in 2006. So there is a history of U.S. Representatives of Dharmic Faiths behind Gabbard’s pending election (she currently has quite a lead in the polls).
How would our government work if we had more people of Dharmic faith elected? It goes without saying that just because Gabbard is a Hindu does not mean that she will automatically make wiser decisions. But if more Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs held lawmaking positions, I think that the debates over abortion, gun laws, rights for homosexuals, and other key point issues of today would come from a much more rational point of view, as opposed to the entire issue being monopolized by the staunch dogmatic Judeo-Christio-Conservativism.
Surely any faith can lean toward dogma. But Dharma is inherently in opposition to dogma. It is the call to do what is right in any given situation. As Krishna showed Arjuna at the Battle of Kurukshetra in the Bharat War, there is an understanding that “what is right” in any particular case is not always “Written.” What is right is sometimes to be determined on a case-by-case- basis depending greatly on the circumstances. And that, I think, is a defining characteristic of a good lawmaker. One who weighs the pros and cons and potential outcomes given the current situation, and doesn’t check “yes” or “no” based on an already-determined criteria for good versus evil. Surely we all, Dharmic or Abrahamic, have a moral compass of some sort which leads to right and wrong. But Dogma is a textbook for right versus wrong. And the world is not that simple.
I am strongly encouraged by the Congresswoman-elect’s success, and see it as a light for the future of Lawmaking in this country.