Tuesday, November 4, 2008


History is made, and we are part of it.

Congratulations, President-elect Barack Obama. Congratulations, too, to Sen. John McCain for such a classy concession speech.

This morning I left home first to vote, and then to polling places in West Covina and Walnut, Calif. to report live on FilAm voting experiences for ABS-CBN's news shows.

I was supposed to wait for a family member so that we can vote together after office hours but I just couldn't take the chance, if for some reason I can't be at my polling place by 8 p.m.

I couldn't wait to vote. I couldn't even sleep last night because this is all I think about recently. This was my first time to vote, and there's no chance I will squander this right and privilege.

But after voting, I put aside the personal and went to work to report on today's historic elections.

In two live phone patch reports for ABS-CBN, (and for LA18's Kababayan LA - a last-minute request from colleague and friend, Jannelle So), I spoke about how Filipinos supported each candidadate.

Among the Fil-Am voters I interviewed in the area, a majority (around 70%) supported McCain. "He's a veteran." "He is just better." "He's a Republican." were the reasons they gave. Someone also said that her church told her to vote for McCain so she did.

Those who favored Obama were more detailed in their reasoning: "His economic policies make more sense." "Kay Bush, nawalan ako ng trabaho, nasira ang ekonomiya, so bakit ko iboboto ang kagaya rin nya?" "I voted for him because he gives me hope. I hope that one day, I will see a Filipino American president, too."

The news about Obama's win might not be great for those Filipinos we talked to, but as one Fil Am voter said: "Whoever we voted for, what's important is how we claimed our place and believed in our power as Americans - immigrant or not."

What's in store for FilAms who didn't believe in Obama? In his acceptance speech, Obama acknowledged those who didn't vote for him. He said, "I hear you, too."

But will they hear him, too? That is the hope.

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