The Pinoy Irony in Social Justice

Embracing conflict in a positive sense makes society evolve and raises standards to a higher bar. It does not mean you physically kill each other as violence of course has no place in civil society. It simply means engaging in spirited debate between two opposing sides, not to determine who is the victor in the end but to ventilate differing ideas even if no common conclusion is reached. This I have believed since my younger days as a journalist and student activist.

But it is becoming extremely difficult of late to embrace positive conflict if the opposing side, truth to be told, has succumbed to the lowest depths of stupidity, and their arguments, bereft of the simplest and basic rationale. Which leads me to the burning issue of the day, inequality and the Trump response in these (supposedly) great United States.

Many Filipinos and Filipino-Americans have become an embarrassment to the social justice movement in the US, the Philippines and the world. I do not claim to be the bearer of moral compass here but for the life of me, how can a lot of our kabayans profess to stand against racial discrimination yet support Trump and Duterte who are the chief enablers of such practices?

There is a disconnect and it is revolting to see many of our compatriots even changing their facebook profile pictures to “I can’t breathe” or “BLM” memes yet justify, if not endorse, EJKs and the anti-terror bill in the Philippines, and the antics of the orange buffoon now occupying the White House.

Yes, I may be a former democrat and now currently independent so you argue I am biased against Republicans and conservatives. That may be true but it was not too long ago when I actually enjoyed embracing conflict in past US presidential politics when I butted heads, in a civil and spirited manner,with a lot of conservatives across the US. That was when I was a union organizer who door knocked in swing states. For example, I fought fiercely for John Kerry in Wisconsin and although we won that state, we eventually lost to Bush in the final count. I was devastated but somewhat still relieved that we will be ok as there are strong institutions that will see us through to the next four years. It is different with Trump, where all my respect for his supporters just vanished. I do not blame Trump because he is already a certified moron and will not change. I lost respect for his base because of the big disconnect that his supporters have between their professed positions in social justice issues and their blind loyalty to his despicable values. And now that the world is on edge against discrimination, these Trumpsters are suddenly on the right side of history? That is simply unbelievable.

To add insult to injury, these same Filipino and Fil-Am conservatives have so far been focusing on the looting and rioting which of course nobody in their right mind supports. These are bad actions and need to stop. But Filipinos and Fil-Ams do not, or refuse to understand, the conditions that led to this point. They keep pointing to the “right way of protest” that Dr. King did but I bet that if these same Filipinos and Fil-Ams now lived in the time of MLK, they would have hated him to death too.

What is despicable is that these Filipino and Fil-Am conservatives all act like holier-than-thou, pretending to be better than Black and Hispanic people, which of course they will deny. How many times have I heard here the funny bewilderment of Pinoys at the fact that a lot of Latinos do not speak perfect English “when they live just next door.” And Pinoys are proud of their so-called English expertise (which is really non-existent for many) complete with a trying-hard California accent.

And it is becoming tiring when the same Pinoys brag about how “we” invented the fluorescent bulb and M-16 and strut around thumping their chests about some false sense of patriotism. Enough already. It is really embarrassing. To non-Filipinos, you sound like high on something and people are sadly not laughing.

No mean to bash my own people but I feel an obligation to call out stupidity when appropriate. I am again no better than anyone but my simple plea is for all of us Filipinos and Filipino-Americans to re-examine what values we really believe. Either we support racial justice and equality or we reject human rights violations (EJKs and the simple nastiness of Duterte) and the juvenile yet dangerous antics of Trump and Duterte. We cannot have both.

The only power we have left so far is to vote. So for the sake of the world, humanity and your family, strive to break that Filipino disconnect in the fight for social justice. We really are better than this. Vote out Trump in November and since Duterte is not eligible for re-election, reject whoever the effing candidate he endorses. Only then can we truly have both the US and Filipinas, great again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Chandler Ramas III cut his journalistic teeth in The Angeles Sun and Daily Globe, with Malacanang as his coverage. Ramas then worked as reporter in the daily Saudi Gazette in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and assigned in Dammam. In San Francisco, California, he was section editor of the Filipino-American newspaper Philippine News. Ramas is a regular member of the Pampanga Press Club. — Editor