At no time does a presidential election in America appears so exciting for FILIPINO AMERICANS (FILAMS) than the one we have today!
FILAMS, like other minorities from Asian nations in America, are busy campaigning in their respective communities for their respective candidates. Just like any partisans from a political party, they have ready answers why their respective candidate is better than the other. As a matter of fact, I found out that there are many FILAMS, from both political spectrum, who appear to be more rabid followers than some of the most fanatic Democrat liberals from the Eastern Seaboard or dye in the wool faith-based, conservative Republicans from the Bible Belt states of the Midwest. This is more evident from the tons of virulent email messages we received almost everyday from friends and strangers, alike, about why a presidential candidate is such a racist; a terrorist and lately, a communist -socialist, as if there is no difference between the two terms while the other candidate is said, among others, to be an aging sidekick, a stark duplicate of George Bush rather than a maverick of a leader that he claims to be.
But seriously, when you sift through the vile from these political messages, I could not see any argument for or against any particular issue, which I could say had sprung from something so dear to the hearts of FILAMs as such. There are many issues that impacted the FILAM community, a people with a common heritage and history, which are left unattended by our elected leaders and thus, creating dire situations for many of us, especially those who are rendered mute and without voices to air their concerns because of circumstances beyond their control. For that matter, sometimes, I could not help myself to say that when it comes to that barriotic tendency of many of many of us to be great copy-cats of anything from the West, nothing could beat many of our paisans, despite the modern veneer of eating too much McDo and the latest IPhones and IPODs dangling from his waist!
Personally however, I think either of the presidential candidates would give their very best to move America beyond the challenges confronting it, if ever elected and I would not dare attempt to offer any advice to any one here why a candidate is a better choice than the other on the basis alone of their qualifications and promises. The print media, airwaves all over the country as well as the Internet are already awashed with analyses after analyses from highly qualified as well as the most mediocre political pundits around as to who is deemed a better choice between Obama and McCain. Rather, I would like to state here why I chose the candidate of one party over the other.
As a FILAM, there is no issue more profound to me in this election than that of the FILVETS. How America, through her elected leaders, treated these brave soldiers from the last world war, for the past 62 years, and how these leaders and their political party could have rectified the injustice to these aging and fast dwindling brave souls from my country of birth, speaks volumes on what it means for me and my family to live with pride as Filipino Americans in my community.
Early this year, I actively involved myself again and joined a statewide group from New Jersey in support of the cause of the FILVETS. It was a sort of a personal epiphany for me, a rebirth for someone, who was once overwhelmed by cynicism from social activism in a still parochial albeit modern FILAM community amidst the uncertainties of a challenging economic situation in America. As part of the FILVET cause, we organized town hall and community meetings all over the state explaining to our community the plight of our FILVETs and their moral/legal grounds. Once we felt we have enough groundswell, we started to mobilize our community leaders to get in touch with our elected national leaders from both parties, in the U.S. Congress. It was timely because during that time, S.1315 otherwise known as the U.S. Veterans Benefits Enhancement Bill was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. Senate by a historical vote of 96 yes and 1, nay. I say historical because this bill contains the Philippine Veterans Equity Bill, recognizing the bravery and courageous contribution of some 15,000 surviving Filipino veterans of the more than 250, 000 Filipino soldiers, who fought under the American Flag in the WW II. But the winds of fortune are still unkind to our FILVETS. The economic melt down in the U.S. and the world across thas overtaken the FILVET issue at the U.S. Congress. Once more, America remains oblivious to the cause of our FILVETS. The FILVET contribution to the greatness of America stays unrequited, albeit hopefully until next year only, when a new congress under a new president will open.
In the meantime, to many FILAMS in New Jersey, who, in this journey, have vicariously shared with our FILVETS their experience with America, the death of the FILVET cause, with the recent conclusion of the congressional session, poses a fundamental question to them. Which party should FILAMS support in the NOV 4 election?
To this question, my answer and explanation are simple. It is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY.because it is the party that has consistently supported the cause of our FILVET at the U.S. congress. By doing so, it is the party who restores our faith to what is just and decent about America by recognizing the courage and bravery of our FILVET in defense of the American flag. IThis is not the platform of the Republican Party. For the Democrats, it is not about giving money to foreign veterans of an American war because the FILVETS were not foreigners when they fought to defend the American flag against the army of Imperial Japan. They were U.S. nationals, being from the Philippines when it was a U.S. Commonwealth. To the Democratic Party, the FILVET issue is not about money at a time America is in a moment of economic downturn because it also at this time that Pres. George Bush, a Republican, pursues a totally un-American war in Iraq at the cost of billions of dollars a month while the FILVET financial package is no more than 500 million dollars total and many of the beneficiaries of this bill would be gone before the decade is over!
While it is true that there are some Republican congressmen who consistently fought for the cause of the FILVET such as Congressman Chris Shay of Ct, or Congressman Peter King or Ackerman of New York City or Congressman Darrel Issa of the 4th District of California (God bless their souls and WE really ought to support them especially during these times), they are few in numbers. As a matter of record, they are Republican Senators such as Richard Burr (NC) and Larry Craig (Idaho) who are staunchly against the passage of the FILVET bill. Also for the record, none of the Republican U.S. Congressmen from NJ stand for the FILVETS during the last U.S. congressional hearing. Why? Is it because none of the Republican FILAMS ever called them? I do not believe so because I have not met a FILAM from the Republican Party who is not as passionate as I am, if not more, with the FILVET cause. I do not want to pass judgment on their relationship with their political party because they ought to know how to respond to this deafening silence of their party on an issue so dear to all our hearts. But for that matter alone, I and my family are for the Democratic party and its standard bearer, Barrack Obama.
You may call me a rabid political partisan or whatever. But I would rather be a rabid political supporter for those who champion the cause of our FILVETS, whose defense of the American flag during the last world war provided me and my family, being FILAMS, an honorable presence before all in my community, than be for the Republican Party and for John McCain simply because it easy for many of us to say that Barack Obama, a man of color, consorts with local terrorist or he was a socialist or even worst, a communist.
Any way, as I learned from my short journey with the FILVETS this year, no body but no body could ever set the FILAM free from himself except himself.
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