United States

Kamala Harris first woman, Black and South Asian Vice-President

Commentary

Teodoro Alcuitas

Editor, Philippine Canadian news.Com

After a week-long emotional see-saw watching the U.S. elections, we woke up this morning to a new dawn in the country so racked up by fear and division.

“Democracy won over atrocity,” says Vancouver mother Anna Dequito.

“My hope is that the US election result will encourage and help Filipino people to do the same thing in 2022. Vote out the wicked man in Malacanang,” she adds.

Ago Pedalizo, spokesperson of the California-based Filipino American Human Rights Alliance (FAHRA) called Biden’s victory a “monumental achievement” for Americans aspiring to restore equity for immigrants and rule of law.

“For Filipinos in the US. the victory brings forth better options for FIlipino nurses at the front line, young undocumented “dreamers,” and FIlipino WW veterans wanting to petition their families.”

“ Biden’s victory is a defeat for Duterte, current global authoritarian leaders, and all apologists of murderous and corrupt governments,” he ends his FB message to Philippine Canadian News.Com.

Let’s not be naive, there’s a long, hard road to rebuild  a clearly divided country,  but for the moment, let’s savour the euphoria of winning.

A break, albeit momentarily, from the almost year-long pandemic living and the endless call to arms from the Trump campaign to incite his followers to violence.

All we can hope is that the calm and jubilation will prevail over the possibility of chaos.

“A Rubicon has been crossed..” was the analogy that BBC Washington, D.C. correspondent Gary O’Donoghue described the results referring to Julius Caesar crossing the river in 49 BC that precipitated the Roman Civil War.

Emotions run high – from the spontaneous joy from celebratory crowds to tears from CNN anchor Van Jones who broke to tears unabashedly in the middle of reporting.

“Well it’s easier to be a parent this morning. It’s easier to be a dad this morning. It’s easier to tell your kids, ‘Character matters, being a good person matters,’” Jones posted on Twitter tears streaming down his face. 

“This is vindication for a lot of people who really have suffered. ‘I can’t breathe.” That was not just George Floyd. There were a lot of people who felt like they couldn’t breathe.”

Joe Biden Jr’s victory is a historic moment not only for Americans and people everywhere who value democracy but more a personal victory for a man who surmounted obstacles in his quest for the White House.

At 78, the oldest president to be elected president of the U.S. he was one of six youngest senator elected in 1972 as senator of Delaware at age 29. His life has been plagued with tragedies – he lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972 just as he was starting his term as senator. He eventually became vice-president to President Barrack Obama.

His son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at the age of 46. Beau was only three when his mother and sister died in the car crash.

This is Biden’s third run at the presidency.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the Black and South Asian and first woman to be elected. The former California prosecutor who finished high school in Montreal, Quebec had worked with Biden’s son Beau during their work as prosecutors.

Playing the fiddle as Rome burns

As massive celebrations erupted throughout the country and Trump supporters mounted counter demonstrations, President Trump slipped to play golf reminiscent of the Roman emperor Nero playing his fiddle while Rome burned.

He is still very adamant and defiant, maintaining his unsupported allegations that Democrats “stole” the election from him. Meanwhile, his legal team has commenced legal challenges in the states that he lost and recounts are on the way.

Implications for the Philippines

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who had cordial relations with President Donald Trump, both authoritarian and tough-talking persona, could face challenges with the President-elect Joe Biden, Jr.

As early as February, Duterte urged U.S. citizens with Filipino links to vote for Trump, according to an Inquirer report.

Duterte is trying to wean away from the U.S. in terms of bilateral support and is openly courting China to the consternation of most Filipinos who accuse him of selling the country by not fighting aggressively to defend the South China Sea dispute.