My Political Journey

By Srijana Dhakwa

As many did, I watched in shock as the results of the presidential election rolled in on November 3, 2016. The disbelief was absolute. As the reality sunk in, I began reevaluating my place here in this country.

Am I an intruder?

Am I an economic opportunist?

What am I in this “great experiment” in democracy called America?

I had always been civically engaged. As a young girl growing up in a Catholic school in Nepal and active in Jesuit programs after school, I had been given a sense of responsibility for the welfare of others. I always thought that I would express that through political engagement in Nepal. But the country was in the grip of autocratic royal rule and I did not come from a political family.

The pursuit of academic challenge and career freedom brought me to California. In spite of having all the trappings of an American, I always felt that I was a foreigner in a foreign land. Years passed and I became a US citizen, yet my feeling of being a foreigner in a foreign land remained. It was strange. I had graduated from a good school, held a job, owned a house, drove around the country, knew how to live within the system but felt that I was not part of the system.