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How Filams see Obama

“I felt like I was in Manila shortly after the ouster of President Marcos in 1986,” said a veteran newsman who was in Manila when President Marcos and his family fled the country. Many, including some Filipino American supporters of Obama joined the raucous celebrations on the streets of Georgetown and in front of the White House in Washington DC evening of Nov. 4.
“Historic. Unprecedented. This means future generations of Filipino Americans can also aspire for the presidency,” said one elated supporter of Obama.
Some had a different view. A person who identifies himself as “Ador Ramos” said in an email to the Manila Mail: “Gago Ulol” “Yak Yak Stupido.” Your hateful, false, fabricated emails against Obama lead (sic) to his landslide VICTORY!!! Go to Hawaii and get the true copy of Obama’s birth certificate. Stop sending the doctored copy of his father’s birth certificate with Kenya shown on it. Are you a registered voter? Did you vote? If not, get out of USA.”
[ad#featuredpost120x600-wht]A businessman tells friends: “He (Obama) is the prophesied coming of the anti-Christ! Woe to those who voted for him.”
A clerk in a law office: “What will now stop the blacks from trying to dominate us? They will be strutting around like peacocks now.”
One doctor from Connecticut who averages more than $200,000 a year in income, said: “I am moving to Spain. Imagine getting my money in taxes and giving it to others. No way.”
“Mabuti nga. Aapakan kayo ng ulo ngayon ang mga itim!” warns an old lady.
But many other Filipino Americans, particularly those belonging to the middle class, are 100 percent for Obama. “He is what we need. Bush never lifted a finger to help us,” said one clerk working in DC.
The internet was also rife with heated email exchanges among the rabid followers of both candidates.
“Have you lost your marbles?” said a Filipina to columnist Jon Melegrito who wrote a glowing tribute to Obama online.
“Pangit ang First Lady!” said one Filipina who herself doesn’t look pretty.
“He is an Arab because his middle name is Hussein. He is a terrorist born in Africa,” commented another lady.
“He is inexperienced. We will be in danger from terrorists. Obama don’t know how to solve the economic crisis,” said one young Filipina.
“Why did you vote for McCain?” a Filipina asked a student of George Mason University. “Because I don’t like Obama.”
In his online column recently, Jon Melegrito said in defense of Obama: “The more we fall prey to political propaganda…the farther we are from confronting our own racial biases. From the prism and prison of our own colonial history, it is easy to understand why the notion of a black president in a predominantly white country is simply unthinkable. We’ve become prisoners of a narrative written for us by our colonial masters.”
He added that many Filipino and other American voters cloak their racial bias with rationalizations that seem more acceptable, albeit bizarre.
In response, one woman said: “Have you lost your marbles?”
George Brookes said Jon’s column of praise for Obama ignited an intense online debate as Filipino-American partisans in DC, Virginia and Maryland weighed in on Melegrito’s comments. Here are some of the quotes as reported by Brooks:
Mya Talavera, who is in the real-estate business, says race is not the issue. “A presidential candidate’s inexperience and character [cannot] be overlooked,” she writes, citing Obama’s short stint as a member of the US Senate and alleged ties to William Ayers a former 1960s anti-war activist who is cofounder of a radical underground radical left group.
Tito Tolentino, a grants coordinator with the Washington Post, says Obama has not been forthcoming about his past and cites his association with Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose ultra-black views have been criticized by conservatives as unpatriotic, racial and inflammatory.
Tolentino says he is voting for McCain based on his political and public-service record, patriotism, “truthfulness” and anti-abortion stance. He thinks Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is “a superb addition to his
ticket.”
“The most compelling issue that will decide who I will vote for is the right to life issue,” wrote Angelo Viray, a retired sailor and a group leader for a Catholic lay movement. “While economy and security are
important issues, they are not as important to me as the fundamental issue of right to life. I will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.”
Pet Catama, an employee of George Washington University, says he does not “pay much attention to health care and taxes” but is prolife and opposed to same-sex marriages. He is voting for the Republican ticket.
A commenter who identifies himself as “Da Mayor” says, “If you are a Christian, you are prolife; if you are prolife you cannot be pro-Obama.”43 percent expect to vote for Obama.
Pacita Ortiz, a realtor and a member of a Christian lay organization, is prolife and a registered Democrat, but will vote for neither McCain nor Obama. She dislikes both candidates and had supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. While many former Hillary supporters among US voters have shifted their support to Obama, a lesser number are opting for McCain.

Thelma Taylor admits to being a big Hillary fan but started listening to and observing Obama after the primaries. “[Obama] is very smart and very intelligent, organized and admirable,” she says. “He looked more presidential than McCain. I watched McCain’s campaign and I got sick of his [and Palin's] negative campaigns.”

Some Filipinos are casting their ballots for McCain because a loved one is serving or had served in the military. Responding to Melegrito’s piece, “Dhet3″ maintains that not all Filipinos share the author’s views and that both her husband and son are in the military.

And seemingly unaware of its implications, one Emmanuel Batulan made this comment: “It is said that with Obama’s win, America’s transformation to being a Third-World country will be complete. Our
economy tanked and now [the US has been] relegated to the status of a Third-World country; added to that a black prez [like Third-World African countries]. How much Third World could we get?”

Batulan got an unlikely response from an elderly white woman from Virginia. “The fore comment is also interesting and, frankly, sadly racist, as I am sure you are aware,” wrote Margaret Sullivan, who found
the comment deeply distressing and offensive. “Barack Obama is as much an American as I am or as McCain or Palin. I wonder if the person who
made the comment would have made the same observations if the candidate’s father had been a student from the Philippines.”

Other responses consisted of attacks on liberals, Islam, Democrats’ tax policies, Obama’s lack of foreign-policy expertise-and warnings about the possibility that Obama could be the biblical anti-Christ.

On the other hand, Mitzi Pickard, assistant director for business development at the Asia Society, thinks Obama is a savvy, consensus-oriented politician who can bring people together, regain the
nation’s credibility and creditworthiness and extricate the country from the messy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Telly Encarnacion, a statistician, said that she has always voted Democratic and cites several reasons for preferring Obama over McCain.

“Obama is prochoice and I prefer his health-care plan, tax and economic policies and Iraq war policy to McCain’s,” she writes. “He is the future generation’s candidate and he can inspire and energize the young and different cultural groups.”

Encarnacion also points to Obama’s mixed-race, middle-class origins as factors for the candidate’s more cosmopolitan views.

“I feel that he understands more how the world views the US and so will have a more enlightened foreign policy than McCain,” she explained. She adds that there might be one or two vacancies in the US Supreme Court during the next presidential term, and she would like Obama to pick the
nominees.

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One Response to How Filams see Obama

  1. I never made the comment that Obama’s win will transform America into a third world country. The article was forwarded to me and I in turn forwarded it to NAFAA (Jon Melegrito). You should check your sources before you attribute statements or opinions that are entirely fabricated and false. I suggest you research the origin of that article before pinning it on a person who never made the statement. This is gross negligence and reflects the noncredibility of your column. Attributing these statements to me is tantamount to character assassination and slander. You owe me an apology.