I’ve been watching CNN all morning. When they announced that Barack Obama would be the next president of the United States, I started crying. It’s insane! I’m not even American! And people who know me will tell you that I’m not a very “political” person. Sure, when I was in college, I was political party president – but I saw first-hand how dirty and desperate politics could be. “If this is what college politics was,” I remember thinking, “then real-world politics must be a million times worse.” After I graduated, I stopped taking interest in national politics altogether. Our presidents were ousted and reinstated, tried and impeached and freed, promised and dealed and lied… and I stopped caring.
At the same time, in college, I saw how inspiring politics could be to some people. When I remember the kids I trained and led while I was president, I’m still overwhelmed with pride. Several of them now are leaders in their own fields, and I know that the principles we believed in then are still driving them to do good things now. But I have never been inspired again. Not until Obama.
So for the past few weeks, I found myself watching the US presidential and vice-presidential debates. Hell, I don’t even watch CNN -now I was checking it every day. I developed an admiration for Obama and Biden and a distaste for McCain and Palin. (I don’t want any flames – I’m just saying I picked a side.) And though I have never identified with the United States, unlike many millions of Filipinos who believe it is the Greener Grass, I have traveled to the US almost every year and experienced, as an outsider, both its successes and failures as a nation. And I’d considered living in the US for three years to study, so maybe this election would have affected me directly. But now, while I am safely in the Philippines and should be doing many other things this morning, I am instead glued to CNN and marveling at this historic hour.
I am happy for the United States that they will have Obama as president. Now, Philippines, will you please give us somebody to believe in too?