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November 2, 2008

Americans are electing a new president. Many of those going to the polls are Filipino-Americans, immigrants, sons and daughters of immigrants and those who grew up or were born in the Philippines but have since obtained US citizenships.

All are holding in their hands or are within sight of the American dream: the good life of material self-sufficiency, sufficiency enough to look after the life of the loved ones they left behind, those in the next generation, waiting for their own chance to leave the Philippines and live a life of peace and contentment in the “mainland.”

But today, the “mainland” is in the throes of its worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depresion.

So Filipino-Americans or American-Filipinos are trying to make a choice that will impact on their own lives and that of their kin living lives of socio-political and economic uncertainty in the Philippines.

Will they and their far away motherland benefit from the election of the leading wannabee, the nominee of the Democratic Party who has captured the American imagination with his battle cry “Change we can believe in”?

Or will the Republican candidate who is hoping to score an upset, weighed down by the “failed” economic policies of George W. Bush scored an upset?.

“It’s the economy, dummy” people are crying out, saying Barack Obama is the obvious choice.

Barack they say can nurse the US economy back to good health and make it recover from the ‘stroke’ it suffered because of the unmitigated greed Wall Street’s crooks in suits

But there are also many who believe with a passion that the putative first-ever black American president, despite his ‘Kennedyesque” projection, has simplified the equation too much andthat his inexperience in foreign policy will be bad for America and rest of the Free World.

Indeed many are asking whose finger will be at the nuke button in the White House if a global security crisis erupts?

This may indeed be just a bogey, but a valid issue of concern for the Philippines given the prominent implementation here of the US military strategy of forward deployment of forces and the participation of US military Special Forces in the continuing local version of the war on terror.

So yes, as America votes over the next 72 hours there is something big at stake for Filipinos beyond the state of the US economy.

UPDATE: With the polls some 24 hours away, the political surveys including Galllup poll are saying Obama holds a firm lead of anywhere from 6 to 8 percent over his rival. The Huffington Post has this map on its website from Pollster,com:


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