Crisis of leaders, crisis of voters
The United States has just gone through one of the most consequential midterm elections in its recent history. Filipinos are keenly interested in the elections in the so-called land of milk and honey, even if we are distant spectators from our islands of misery and hopelessness. In fact, it’s the only foreign election where many Filipinos take sides in, either expressing preference for the Republican Party or voicing out affinity with the Democratic Party.
The reasons are obvious: a Filipino who has no relative in the US is as rare as a white carabao; the Philippines remains both an economic and cultural colony of the US, because the latter persists as our biggest trading partner and our lives are inundated with American music, movies, fashion, sports, food, and all kinds of merchandise, and; an overwhelming number of Filipinos still long for the American dream.
I have not encountered any professional survey so far, but from my anecdotal appraisal of the sentiments of fellow Filipino citizens, it’s safe to say that an overwhelming majority of our countrymen identify more with the Democrats rather than with the Republicans.
As outsiders who view American politics from afar, it’s easy to understand why this is generally so for Filipinos: Democratic leaders sound friendlier to immigrants and minorities, they show more empathy for the working class, and they express more hostility toward abusive foreign governments. In contrast, Republican leaders are viewed as unwelcoming to immigrants, they’re reputedly pro-rich, and they’re tolerant of oppressive foreign governments.
When it comes to Filipino immigrants in the US, however, there is a marked increase in the number of Filipinos who support Republicans. The reasons often cited by US-based and pro-Republican Filipinos are as follows: they espouse policies that are good for the US economy; they’re hard on crime; they are against illegal immigrants and “over-generous” handouts, and; they’re on the side of “conservative values” when it comes to issues of abortion and LGBTQ rights.
Even when the Republican Party was taken over by former president Donald Trump, who has been a magnet of many scandalous controversies all his life, there’s still a substantial number of US-based Filipinos who are rabidly supportive of Trump as a Republican. This has been the case even if Trump has uttered brazenly racist comments against Mexicans and Muslims, who are colored people and minority groups with whom Filipinos should naturally empathize with. Trump has also been recorded bragging about his exploits at seducing married women and at kissing unsuspecting ladies. He was caught on tape saying: “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” At another time, he publicly declared that he trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin more than he did American intelligence agencies. Trump also fomented the 2021 violent attack on the US Capitol, aimed at the unthinkable objective of unconstitutionally keeping himself in the White House despite his reelection loss. Yesterday, Trump announced that he will seek the US presidency again in the 2024 elections.
Democrat leaders are not exactly saints in comparison, because they’ve had their own share of scandals, but it’s not supposed to be a pissing competition aimed at extolling and elevating to power the most wicked of each party.
But what do we Filipinos know? We have installed in power far more scandalous leaders in our recent elections. It’s a strange phenomenon that more of this mold of leaders are being elevated to power in multiple countries around the world. Some bizarre new elements must have been added to our planet’s biosphere that are causing voters worldwide to behave strangely.
This regression in the world’s choice of leaders represent a step-back in the progress of human civilization. It should prompt experts across all countries to come together in order to find out the common denominators of what’s happening and to identify potential solutions. If they do, they will find out that the world does not have a crisis of leaders. Humanity has a crisis of voters.
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