The Philippines and ObamaVision

The audience for this piece is not Filipinos in general. It is opinion leaders: senators, journalists, bloggers, people who influence the values and attitudes of the Philippines. The purpose of satire, of sarcasm, of ridicule is to present ideas, to open minds through humor and jibe. It is not to hurt or insult or embarrass. President Obama’s dramatic victory speech was a classic statement of American values. It stands as a standard against which Philippine values can be measured. It is up to Philippine leaders, and those who influence leaders, to decide if existing values are okay, or if something needs to change. Or if JoeAm is simply a crank troll.

America, you are a delight to watch from afar.

From many, one.
For this year’s presidential election, the battle forces were starkly drawn:
  • Republican: White rednecks from rural areas, businessmen and Filipino Americans who aspire to be white rednecks.
  • Democrat: Mexicans, blacks, poor urban dwellers, educated people, old folks, homosexuals, Hollywood stars, empty chairs and Bruce Springsteen.
Obama teased us with that sleepy performance in the first debate because he was bored. He needs a fight, you see. Like a pick-up basketball game. A challenge.
And the only reason the race was close is because Americans are tired of being insecure. Tired of carrying around the loss of trillions dollars of their wealth caused by the Bush global economic meltdown. Obama was a hero, after all, saving planet earth from an economic collapse. All the Republicans did was gripe because he didn’t let GM go bankrupt.

He is not just a good leader. He is magnificent. Forget all the lies and deceits thrown up by the desperate and morally deficient preachers of the Republican extreme. He is no socialist, he was not born in Kenya, he is not a weak leader, he has done a superior job bringing back a really stinko economy. His only mistake was one that leaders often make, acting on hubris In thinking he could right the decimated economy in two years.  Obama has removed America from two wars, solved the decades old health care problem,  and recalibrated U.S. foreign policy as a leader in partnership with other nations rather than above them. He’s smart, has a great family, and is a good guy with good principles.

The President does not control everything. He does not control the House of Representatives. Boehner does. That oily, back-stabbing low-life of a House leader who would sell his mother for a vote. Just like Pelosi. The U.S. Congress is stuffed with partisan idiots like that, of no distinguished diplomatic talent.
But at least they won’t sue me for libel for having a hard opinion.
Indeed, American values are so far from Philippine values that they are beyond the horizon.
  • Brand A: A dynamic president pounding the podium and declaring argument and criticism a good thing, and touting a word called liberty. From many voices, many ethnicities, many ideas – one grand nation.
  • Brand P: A quiet guy shriveling back from press criticism and touting a word called libel. From the voice of authority, order – and a nation sealed in time.
We can see the stunning difference by using the Obama speech as a mirror. By reflecting Philippine reactions off of Obama’s brilliant, charismatic oratory.
Obama: We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers – a country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation – with all of the good jobs and new businesses that follow.
Philippines: We believe more babies are needed, even if we can’t educate them or give them jobs. At least when they go to Dubai, they send a lot of money back.
Obama: We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened up by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.
Philippines: Hey, look at us. We are almost investment grade, and you are at the fiscal cliff! Nyahhh nyahhhh! No housing bubble for us. And never mind about all those high rises going up over Manila, or the people borrowing out the nose to buy the condos in them. They’ll pay back the loans. They said they would.
Obama:  We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on Earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known – but also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being.
Philippines:  Got any used cutters we can have?
Obama:  We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag  – to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner – to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president. That’s the – that’s the future we hope for.
Philippines:  Keep immigrants out of here. They don’t think right and smell funny. Just send us their money. And forget that opportunity horsehockey, we reserve that for our name families, not some nameless kid on the south side of anywhere. We love our dynasties. They are so hysteri . . . I mean, historical.
Obama:  Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock, resolve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward.
Philippines:  We are steady as a rock. We’ve gone nowhere for 125 years.
Obama:  But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.
Philippines:  Blech. Nothing in it for us.
Obama: This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared – that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.
Philippines:  We don’t need no stinkin’ immigrants and we believe bloggers should be jailed for libel, like for 12 years. Freedom is for the betters, not the lessers.
Obama: And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope.
Philippines:  Our goal is not to work very hard unless we have to, you know, like when a storm knocks our town down.
Obama: I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the road blocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight. I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.
Philippines:  We believe in chicken fights, tele-dramas, white skin, tuba and Manny Pacquiao. And that Filipina Jessica Sanchez.
Obama:  America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.
Philippines:  We believe you have to be born here to be a real Filipino, gays are living in sin, and we take care of those who take care of us. It’s easier that way. And people should give us stuff. We believe in that, too.
Obama:  I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America.
 Philippines:  You arrogant war-mongers. Global warming is your fault. Please never mind all the plastic we throw into the ocean that is coagulating as a new island off Hawaii. Or the oceans we turn into deserts with dynamite and overfishing.
Obama:  And together, with your help and God’s grace, we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.
Philippines:  Yes! We’re right with God, too!! Its more fun in the Philippines, and more sinful, too, but we are always forgiven for our transgressions. That’s why it is more fun.

Cue confetti fall.

40 Responses to “The Philippines and ObamaVision”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. So many quotable quotes. This one worked for me (I have substituted "Americans" with "men"):o "…this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, so that the freedom which so many [men] have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights, and among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism."2. Substitute "this country" with "the world" and "patriotism" with "brotherhood", and the American Dream becomes the World Dream. 'Nuff said.

  2. "Filipino Americans who aspire to be white rednecks"Filipino Americans could not be aspiring to be white rednecks. Filipino Americans come together in Virginia to support George Allen for the Senate. They are leaders with a moral compass, determined to impose their beliefs on others. After all, that is what they learned from the colonizers. Are you sure you are living in the Philippines? How did you know that? They only forward emails that claim Obama is Kenyan, a Muslim, and a socialist. But then again, perhaps you are right? The irony is that this same group would be arguing for the RH bill, social programs, and other progressive ideals when placed in a different country called the Philippines.

  3. Indeed, you are right. It is the human dream he characterized so well. Work hard, keep an open mind, be gracious to those who are different, and aspire to be more than you are today. I tell you, the guy cranked a few tears from this believer. "This country has more wealth . . ." You gotta say it with the same fire-in-the-belly he had."I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you're willing to work hard, it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America, if you're willing to try."Damn right.

  4. Actually, in real life, Filipino Americans are upright and responsible and hold as many opposing views as do any large crowds of Americans. But I was writing for effect, poking as much at whitening creams as political unity or disunity.And in the Philippines, there are diverse voices, too, learning to speak loudly and sharply, without need for a gun attached for punctuation.

  5. andrew lim says:

    CONSERVATISM IS JUST ONE COLOR OF THE SPECTRUMViewing the world through a narrow monochromatic lens like the defeated Republicans in the US and the local Church hierarchy will just push them even more to the sidelines and irrelevancy.Politics, governance and democracy is much larger than religion- the refusal to analyze the issues and insistence on dogma results in the boxing in of these ultra conservatives.It places them in difficult situations like what Romney faced- having to dissociate from extremists who reject abortion in rape cases because "some girls rape easy" and "God wanted it to happen". Locally, the call of the CBCP to support only anti-RH congressional candidates will put them into absurd alliances with extremists who are morally repugnant. It will make them support GMA, generally considered one of the most corrupt ex-Presidents. It will make them support Rufus Rodriguez, who is anti-RH but pro-death penalty for foreign drug trafficker and staunch supporter of the womanizing Erap . It means supporting Enrile and Tatad, prime movers of Martial Law and revisionists of history. It means supporting Sotto, whose arrogance and ignorance always go hand in hand.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "aspiring white rednecks" Pretentious, prejudicial group of Fil-Ams hated Obama since day 1 because he is black. Spitting Anti Obama vile thru emails for four years from his birth certificate, Kenyan half brothers, deriding his christian belief to the fashion style of Michelle. Hatred from internet info. Unprincipled are not red necks.Johnny Lin

  7. Yes, when your views are extreme and hard, your friends end up being pretty peculiar people.The commentary that I have found enlightening looks at conservative media and how they misled their own base by feeding spin to them as factual news. The audience bought it. They thought everyone hated Obama. They were shocked to discover otherwise. Where will they go for solice? Back to conservative media.The hardness of extremism is what has been taking the US Congress again and again to the fiscal cliff. It's a stupid way to run a nation. Just stupid.So is treading the Catholic line in the Philippines. It does not take care of Filipinos. It takes care of Bishops.

  8. I'm not so sure. The "redneck" term is essentially born of racism. To me it connotes ignorance which promotes racism as a reason for their own failures. And I think the idiots of whom you speak do not represent mainstream PhilAms. They are the statistical outliers that any large society must put up with.

  9. andrew lim says:

    Yes. Extremist Republicans/Tea Party turned their political ideology into religion, which made them deny the facts about global warming, the emergence of the non-white vote, made them advocate tax cuts, etc. Which brings me to Nate Silver, that NY Times forecaster who was castigated by the Republicans for predicting a lopsided win despite the closeness of most of the polls. Donald Trump, Karl Rove and others couldn't understand the science/math of it, and stuck to their mistaken beliefs. Which made them blow hundreds of millions of dollars. Id love to get my hands on that model used by Silver- he got 50 for 50 states correct just like in the 08 election. Quants rule! ha ha ha

  10. I was reading about Silver, too. The article I read looked at each of the states statistically in terms of how far off he was. He was actually far off on a lot of the calculations, but got all the close calls right. I had fun this year following CNN both on air and online, where they had a live map that allowed readers to do what John King was doing on the air, pull up states, and counties within states. Then I could model likely results. I personally called the election for Obama about 45 minutes before CNN did. I focused on Florida and Ohio at the county level.More fun than a Pacquiao fight . . . almost . . .

  11. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I have gone back to read PNoy’s inauguration address and the SONA of 2012, and I am struck by the absence of the following words or phrases in a proper context:• No patriotism or nationalism• No freedom or liberty• No individual rights• No call for the duty of citizens• No love, charity or compassion• No EDSA2. There is mention of:• Martial Law• Objectives/Achievements• Corruption• Justice3. There is no history beyond Martial Law and no vision beyond the short-term goals of the administration.4. In short, there is no overarching narrative of what the nation was, is or will be.5. In contrast, Obama’s speech – and I believe all inaugural addresses of US presidents – looks back to the vision of the founding fathers, redefines what America stands for, and where he thinks it is headed. And each of these is framed in terms of what it means for the individual citizen.5.1 At the very start, Obama talks about “you”, and he cites individuals. His speech is studded with people – organizers, folks, child, brother, spouse, kids, teachers neighbours, worker, soldiers, young boy, entrepreneur, doctor, scientist, etc.5.2 He speaks of moral values.5.3 Like Kennedy, he speaks of the duties of the citizen in the “necessary work for self-government”.6. Going back to item 4, I think this is what the Philippines needs: a definition of the Filipino dream, a narrative that will capture what battles we have fought, why we fought and, not necessarily where we are going, but what our hearts’ delight in. What is in it for each of us. And what is in it for us as a nation.6.1 I believe the story can start with Martial Law and EDSA.

  12. Edgar Lores says:

    There was one comment I liked: "Romney blew $500M; I didn't spend a cent. So who's the better businessman now?"

  13. Hey Joe I was bit busy for the past 2 months or so and I haven't got the time to write a blog for you and now the US presidential election has passed and I was quite relieved that Obama trashed Romney in the Electoral College. However I was disappointed that the Democrats failed to gain control of the House. Anyways, the world got 4 more years of sane US policy and rejected the extremism of the Republicans with all or their vote denial tactics and another hell of a mess of an election in Florida. And although the popular vote was much closer than most of us liked, Obama got his mandate and that the coalition of minorities, liberals, the youth and the LGB community held true for what I hope will continue after Obama and even within the near Congressional elections. I hope that the Philippines can replicate the elections and for PNoy to stay true with his vision of "Daang-Matuwid". I also hope that the coalition that elected Noynoy will support hims still in his vision of a better Philippines and that the youth will become more active in politics just like what they did for Obama back at the States.

  14. Wow, what a startling revelation that certifies what I was trying to say in the opening comparison between Obama and Aquino. You know, of course, that you are probably best skilled to write that dream, or propose the core of one. I tried it with the preamble to the Constitution and came up lame. I totally agree that it is the vision attached to passion attached to clear direction that the Philippines is lacking. It has an empty direction because the "founding mothers" were Sottocopying the U.S. ideas but did not have the same immigrant passions to attach to it.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Basically, rednecks are prejudiced, racist against white. Ignorant, probably uneducated living in rural midwest/mountainous. They are also mostly conservative and some highly religiousespecially those around bible belts of Virgina,West VA, Tenessee, Mississippi, kentucky etc.They stuck with their principles for decades.Fil-Ams biased against Obama are educated, well to do,community leaders. Disdain against him were poisonous emails, they knew were false but chose to believe because their principle is plain hatred or in my analysis on their principle it is due to Enviness because a black man became US president. There is no reason to malign him when his wife is trying to be fashionable with her dresses or social entertainment. I was receiving those despicable emails before too until One time I voiced out against their ideas and my emails stopped. In fact Filipinos should have overwhelmingly supported Obama just for his immigration agenda because it will be beneficial to many Filipinos suffering in US now and also their relatives in the Philippines. What is sickening is many of those Fil-Ams against this immigration proposal of Obama were once illegal aliens themselves and their elderly parents upon legalization/petitioned received SSI without working in US! My personal experience among them and opinion. Everyone has a choice but in a foreign land, principle must be to support the betterment of fellow but unfortunate Filipinos especially if on your own you made it already. That is me only! Johnny Lin

  16. Anonymous says:

    Correction:Against Non whites"Johnny

  17. Ah, Dave, good to hear from you again.Yes, I was very relieved as the votes were rolling in, clearly favoring Obama.I think in a way it is best not to have all elements of Executive and Legislature in the same hands. What would be nice if they pea-minds in the Congress would decide to be diplomats instead of fanatics. Ted Kennedy was liberal, but he could negotiate. And I do think Republicans must feel slapped down, and maybe will look at the new marijuana laws and gay rights laws and say "we are being left behind".We'll find out very quickly what the tenor is likely to be because January 1 is drop dead day for automatic budget cuts if the donkeys and elephants can't agree on a budget.I'd still welcome a blog from you when you get "unbusy".

  18. Yes, great quote. The Republican super-PAC sponsors (e.g., Rove) are sweating bullets trying to explain to their donors what went wrong. I figure it did a lot for the U.S. economic recovery. About $2 billion of mostly rich folk's savings pumped into the economy by Democrats and Republicans combined.

  19. Very good description of rednecks, and I will accept your readout on FhilAms, as you clearly understand it better than I do. I agree on Obama. It is hard to understand why any immigrant community would back the Republican agenda.

  20. Well sometimes you have to drive the car over the cliff to slap some sense to them politicians although the sight will be unpretty and be bad to the entire world economy with all this brinkmanship and all. However the Democrats are much likely to concede (the ACA for example) but the buck really stops with Boehner since he control them Elephants in the House and the Democrats still remember his treachery not so long ago about a done deal that was undone.Regarding the blog surely I can find another topic to think of since we were busy preparing for my father's 1st year death anniversary and it is sugarcane harvesting season 🙂

  21. They simply do not care and are afraid because the are already citizens and therefore they hate people who reminds them of what they were and what dirt they came from. I think it is all psychology, with superiority and inferiority complexes playing in the mind.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @Joe/andrewSilver was way off his prediction. So were Gallup, Rasmussen because they were partisans. The networks were right on track in the beginning until waylaid by pundits after first debate. Did some think that the reasons networks and newspaper surveys concluded it was a close race right to the end so they could sell continuing interest by people to follow thru print and tv media? The better one was Sabato because he was objective. His last calculation was closer to my extrapolation posted at Raissa blog "What a dying Singaporean doctor" #47. Jojo, Maude would say to me, "you braggart, that's what combination of worts and kickapoo joy will do to you"Maude, i have a new drink now, MCallan Oscura, try it sabroso! He he heJohnny Lin

  23. Anonymous says:

    JoeLatest News from Interaksyon TV 5:Teddy Locsin: why America Reelected Obama.For the first time I could I agree with Teddy 100%. He deserves credit and applause this time, to be fair to him.Johnny Lin

  24. Do you look anything like Teddy? I was thinkingn about re-labeling that photo in the right column. "The real Johnny Lin?"

  25. MCallan Oscuro. Single malt whiskey. Appearance: burnished copper. Nose: an inviting nose of ripened woodland fruits layered with dark chocolate, orange and creamy vanilla. Palate: soft with dried figs, ripe oranges and hints of crisp apple. Finish: full and lingering with a hint of warming wood smoke. And the bottle is prettier than a tuba . . . er, Kickapoo Joy Juice jug.

  26. Edgar Lores says:

    Haha! I see what you did there! Moi? I've read the Wikipedia entry and there are somethings I actually like.o Do what thou wilt.o Love is the Law

  27. No one around here is immune to a little skewering now and then. You have that same mystic quality, rather five planes of existence above us common folk. The pentagrams are delightful, and, indeed, that dude had a bent brain, which I hold is a sign of highly advance intelligence.Until it goes over the edge . . .Which his might have done . . .Yours? I dunno . . . . I'm running a book on it . . .

  28. Anonymous says:

    Never had a chance to listen to his victory speech, was to busydigging my bunker lest the Iranians decide that using American drones for target practice is no longer amusing.Never had an inkling that I and 48% of American voters are rednecks. I wonder how many blacks are also rednecks, they should be w… for being racist against their Own Kind. Ooops I might just have said something that's racist or politically incorrect but what the hell I'm not broken the law so ignorance is an excuse.amor

  29. Neither ignorant nor racist, amor. Call it "ideating", which is wholly acceptable, indeed admirable.I think the next drone flights might be accompanied by US jet fighters in the sunshine ready to drop the Iranian planes that shoot at the drones. Dig that bunker deeper.

  30. Attila says:

    Has anyone watched the Thomas Peterffy – Freedom To Succeed a political add by the Republican party. He was talking about how his emigration to the USA gave him the opportunity that he never had in socialist Hungary. wants to confuse you to believe that a more social society would equal to communism. He has the nerve to show images of the revolution of 1956 against the Stalinist communist government in Budapest to make his point. What a liar! I guess in his mind the Scandinavian countries that are known to be the most socialistic are communist as well. No he is not that stupid he is just an dishonest man. The Republican party always had the agenda confusing people about socialist with communist.

  31. I've come to beware of anyone who uses a regular word as an insult or pejorative. Socialism as a word does not have negative meaning unless that meaning is attached on purpose. Same with liberal. Or even communist. They describe principles which can be good or bad upon application, depending on circumstances. So someone who uses a perfectly good word the way Peterfly does is a manipulative liar trying to browbeat us into thinking like he does.

  32. Anonymous says:

    JoeDo not bring your wife to Hongkong for 2 years, sacrifice sleeping outside in the doghouse but look forward to your savings to buy 1824 limited from same distiller. Bottle alone is enough to build Gawad Kalinga shelters. If you will show the face behind Maude mask, I will send you a jigger of Louis XIIIDid you hear in your old thick of the woods in Colorado, growers will make a killing on the newly passed referendum? He he heJohnny Lin

  33. Obviously, you underestimate both my wife and Angry Maude. You are clearly armchair quarterbacking this from a safe distance whilst I, on the other hand, am smack dab in the middle of the playing field, paramedics hovering to see if I take up your challenge.Did Colorado pass a weed law? I know Washington did. You know more about more things than anybody I know.My sister's husband must figure he has gone to heaven if that is the new law.

  34. Attila says:

    Except for a few exception the word communist should have a negative meaning. What would be the exception? Some philosophers like Marx, Engels and Lukacs and a few more. It is as negative as the word racist or Nazi. If anyone has any doubt why than I recommend a book called the "The Black Book of Communism". It is the "Complete Idiot's Guide" or the "For Dummies" guide to learn about what the communist did.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Your brother in law should look forward to meet Lucy with diamonds! "You know more about more things than anybody I know"Now you know why Encyclopedia Brittanica closed shop. You should have heard what my 6 year old granddaughter bragged to her classmate, " my grandpa knows more stuff than a computer" ;-)He he heJohnny Lin

  36. Ahh, and a very clued-in granddaughter . . . Nice story.Somewhat different than what I get from my four year-old son: "You're bein' a JERK!"Said with a smile, most of the time.The wisdom and honor of youth . . .

  37. A reasonable argument. Some words are entitled to have negative meaning, too. We'll put "communist" into that pack.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Loved the satire 🙂 You managed to hit everything right on the money with those comparisons.

  39. Thank, Anon. I'm glad you have a sense of humor, too.

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