Melo envious of US electoral process thus says Inquirer .net of the Philippine COMELEC commissioner chief. I feel same way, too. I mean, I remembered seeing the headline that Americans were lining up earlier than expected for the poll. When I visited the site again, I thought there was a mistake because the headline said Mr. Barack Obama was President. All them in less than 24 hours! Since I actually did not know the exact date of the American election, I had to check to learn that everything was no joke!
I think what made Commissioner Melo envious is the fact that we have elections that determined winners a week or a few days before the candidates’ supposed terms expired. They are hard facts. And, I think, this is the reason why crooks are emboldened to cheat elections, some of them in manners so blatant. Due process of electoral protest takes almost forever. I’m sure Senator Miriam Santiago and Senator Loren Legarda to mention some will agree to that.
In the sidelines, we got to learn in TV that this and that Filipino won or lost in the contest for seats in the just concluded American election. This cannot be! No foreigner is allowed to run for public office in America except Americans! Ok, so we Filipinos are superior. And so are the Americans, the Britons, the Africans, the Japanese, the Chinese… and the whole list of nations! Oh, why can’t people just say like, somebody has got a name, he is awesome, he is making wave, he is great, and his mother used to be a (Filipino). And incoming President Obama is not black, if we need to talk about race. He is a mulatto, a half-cast of black and white. [White and brown is a mestizo.]
Last August I had attended dinner with some Thais and Americans. American politics came on the table. The American couple believed that John McCain was going to win. But I bet them Barack Obama will. Now, what do Filipinos know about America and Americans! When asked what made me think so, I did not really know how to put it.
Except for the headlines that occasionally came my way, I rarely read American politics. Mine was just a blurt of the summary of all my perceptions.
[The American couple I was referring to is in fact my brother and my sister-in-law. They are both naturalized Americans. The Thais I was referring to are my nephews and niece, all them born and grown up in Thailand, of parents who are both Filipino citizens.]
Why McCain Lost caught my interest last night. My attention was drawn by one particular comment under it. It inspired me to do a little organizing of my sub-conscious thoughts.
Times have changed
America has changed
People have changed
Peoples ideas of what works have changes
Certain experiements have failed
I think why Mr. McCain lost [by a surprising margin] is because he is associated with the Republican Party and with President George Bush. The war in Iraq on top of everything else, and later the American financial crisis, has borne weight on his party and candidacy. Some same factors also made Mr. Obama to edge out Ms. Hillary Clinton in the preliminaries.
“Certain experiments have failed” may be, which I’m not really in any position to question what about. But, I think times have changed not much. And, America, the American people, and their ideals, have not changed. I think it is American ideals that swept Mr. Obama to the presidency.
I have a few old books discarded from American public school libraries, donated to Filipino children, which found their way to my shelves. One says “The United States Its History and Neighbors” It said it came from Buchanan Elementary School Virginia with six children that have scrawled their names who used it. Another book says “Perspectives on American Government” There are more. Politics would be incomplete without world history. I read American history.
Why had people left their old world and sought life in the new world? One of the simplest answers is, because those people were progressive minded when old world, by nature, was counter progressive. They had felt not at home. Americans are freedom loving. They created a new home. They believe in justice. They believe in equality. They are brave. They are beyond races. Americans have freed their slaves. They defeated Fascism in WW-2. They bravely fought in Vietnam and abandoned it when it became clear the war was a big question mark. They were acknowledged the most advanced bearer of the torch of light.
I think the Iraq war was (and is) the central issue. Americans went in there to save mankind. Finding no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq shook the very foundation that America was built on. I think this is one taboo that many won’t want to talk about publicly but that sticks inside of people. The Iraq war has become a big question in the conscience of America similar to that in the course of the Vietnam War.