South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (Picture: www.nikkihaley.com)
Time magazine’s editor-at-large Belinda Luscombe asked South Carolina’s Governor Nikki Haley: "In New York City, which you’re visiting for a couple of days, a lot of our taxi drivers are Sikhs. If you get one, are you going to give him a slightly bigger tip?"
Governor Haley laughed and replied: "Oh, I give the same tip to everyone."
Before I offer my comment on this exchange, a quick background about Governor Haley. Haley was born Nimrata Randhawa to Sikh immigrant parents but converted to Christianity. She is a rising star in the Republican Party who has been inevitably mentioned as a future presidential candidate.
More than the barely hidden affront in Luscombe’s question, which she probably thought had some humor to it, I am offended by its inherent stupidity. What is that question supposed to mean? It is the kind of question that a high school magazine reporter might ask because the age group might find it funny in a teenage sort of way.
It is stupid because Luscombe might have thought Governor Haley would actually answer it in the affirmative saying, “Of course I tip Sikh drivers more. It is a no brainer.” Such questions do nothing more than create an utterly false impression that the journalist is practicing no holds barred journalism when, in fact, it is nothing more than a cheap shot.
I have no vested interest in defending Governor Haley because I agree with almost nothing of her politics. Besides, she is perfectly capable of dealing with such silliness herself. She has let all of us know why she wears high heels because they do come in handy to deliver a kick or two.
The governor has been busy promoting her book “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story” which, among other things, details the challenges she faced growing up as an immigrant in the conservative South Carolina.
Notwithstanding her conversion to Christianity people continue to wonder about her religious commitment. She says in the same interview, "I felt like a lot of people wanted me to discount the way I was raised. And that was something I would never do. I’m very proud of the way that I was raised, I’m very proud of the way that my parents raised me. But I also know that being Christian is something that’s very true to me and (husband) Michael."
P.S.: In the spirit of her question, let me ask Luscombe: “Is ‘Kangaroo Jack’ her favorite movie?” (For those of you who may not understand it, she is Australian-born. Get it? Kangaroos, Australia and so on).