Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama's Flips

I didn't know we are currently celebrating Filipino American History Month. Then again no United States Congress has resolved to recognize it. But apparently Barack Obama and his people knew that October has been set aside for little brown Americans by little brown Americans.

In his statement to the community, he acknowledges these citizens as an integral part of American life and society:
Filipino Americans have participated in the triumphs and struggles along our road to a more perfect union, from farm workers who helped found the United Farmworkers Union, to the soldiers who fought bravely in World War II, to the thousands of nurses who have saved and improved countless lives, Filipino Americans are an integral part of our country.
His sensitivity to the issues and concerns of Filipino Americans and other Asian Americans stem from his own experiences in Hawaii and Indonesia. And from being a person of color with Asian kin.

He thus promises policies important to the group:
As President, I will work to ensure that you have access to affordable, accessible healthcare that will also reduce the language and cultural barriers that limit access to our medical system. We will make sure the economy works for you by fixing our financial system, rebuilding public education, and making sure that schools have the resources they need to educate all of our children, regardless of the languages they speak or their family’s income. And we will provide a path to employment by creating a $4,000 annual college tax credit, a new Community College Partnership Program and new training opportunities for workers, and helping minority-owned small businesses.

Many Filipino families rely on family reunification policies to help them build better lives in the United States. However, AAPI families have some of the longest immigration backlogs. That’s why I’ve fought to improve and pass a comprehensive immigration bill. I introduced amendments to put greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together and to revisit a controversial new points system that would dramatically alter U.S. immigration policy.

While it might seem pretty obvious that Obama is the better candidate for Filipino Americans, there are those who still can't come around to voting for him. Referring to an earlier post, Little Brown Americans, a friend emailed:

I thought of it again yesterday because my hairdresser, a young Flipino born in Chicago, told me his parents are disgruntled that he's for Obama. Their reason: "If you vote for McCain, your stimulus check this year will be doubled!" It's sad how short-sighted some people can be about the economy. But you know what else, other intelligent (Asian-American) parents I've met refuse to admit the failed economy is Bush's fault. They say it began to decline even during the Clinton era. I think there is something called selective forgetting. We've seen it at work in the Philippines too.

This is not at all surprising, especially for older and immigrant Filipinos who tend to be conservative, not only on economic issues but social ones as well. An Indonesian buddy told me about his Filipino colleague's fear that if Obama wins, there would be more abortions. The woman is a highly educated World Bank employee. So is she a staunch Roman Catholic.

John McCain has not issued a statement acknowledging Filipino Americans.

P.S. Flips is supposed to be a derogatory term for Filipinos, of the same ilk as the N-word. Personally, I am not offended. I find it funny ... and flippant.

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