American Dream

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

THE protest and patriotic outcry on the lopsided security agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the US is not gaining serious support from Filipinos.

Most of our countrymen nurture strong pro-American sentiment that’s what. Our concern, interest, and aspiration for relatives in the US outweigh all rational, historical and emotional arguments against the comeback of US military in the country.

In truth every Juan, Pablo and Jose in the Philippines has a stake, investment and a continuous hope in someone beloved who is in the US. It is either a father, a mother, brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, or siblings who now reside abroad.


Whether these dearly beloved are legal residents or undocumented their blood relatives back home do not give a hoot about the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Wired as pro-Americans, we have supported the mutual defense treaty decades ago. We have supported the Visiting Forces Agreement. We had supported the Vietnam war and have supported children sired by GI Joes.

My ka-barangay, for instance, who have close kin in the US are concerned over the wellbeing of TNT relatives over the legality of basing rights of US military in our shores.

Every Pinoy family is concerned and anxious about their “stateside” kin. It could be a son in LA, a daughter in New York, a brother or a sister in New Jersey, or the father who is keeping two jobs whether in Miami, Seattle, or San Francisco.

The wonder box with its unmistakable and distinct Balikbayan smell is a most welcome arrival periodically or by season. Never mind if the US military stores nuclear weapons in its new bases in our army or naval facilities as long as the Pinoys receive their gift boxes and dollar allowances intact and on schedule.

Students of history are aware of the momentous events that characterized US presence in the country. The mock battle between the US and Spain which led our nation to what it is today, is less significant than the battle being waged by Filipinos to win rights to US immigration, naturalization, and jobs in the American society.

As long as a Pinoy relative abroad stays happy and secure in the land of milk and honey, never mind the unfair bilateral agreements, treaties, and policies on trade, economy and security.

The numerous deaths and humiliation of our countrymen at US military hands aroused tepid and antipathetic cords in the national psyche in contrast to the joy of certain bounties, gifts, and greenbacks engendered by US citizenship or legal residency.

Tatang Juan who has slaved in his small farm to send a daughter to nursing school does not care less if the military presence will compromise national security and sovereignty. He and his family are grateful that their daughter-nurse keeps her high paying job in a Georgia hospital.

Uncle Ciano’s work animals paid for the travel and fixer’s fees to have his engineer son fly to the US on tourist visa. He landed on menial jobs from store clerk to dishwasher, gardener, and gas station attendant. “Anong de facto military bases na pinagkakantiyaw ng mga dating senador? Ang constitutionality ba mapapakain si Junior ng steak dinner weekly sa Pilipinas?” the aging farmer asked in the dialect.

The old man, as with many Pinoys, would not exchange the scent of Washington apples with his pride of country.

In whatever residency status they are in, our Pinoy expats in the USA dream of sending money back to their families. This, as they struggle and aspire to live the iconic American dream. Its symbol is the postcard pretty bungalow with white picket fence, a manicured lawn, a garage for two vehicles, a secure job or two, and children speaking in Fil-Am twang.

The classic dream is a four-seasoned paradise of peace, prosperity, and freedom. It has almost the shape and scent of a balikbayan box in the Christmas season.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 04, 2014.


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