Between “a kook and a crook”

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On November 8, or barely two weeks from today, US voters — or at least those who will bother to vote, most Americans being too cynical of the process to go to the polls, let alone be politically engaged enough to care about how they’re governed — will choose their next president. In one of those rare moments when he’s right, the Republican Party candidate for president, billionaire Donald Trump, has described the elections as “historic.” But it’s not because he could be Barack Obama’s successor, but because the Democratic Party nominee, Hillary Clinton, seems likely to be the United States’ first woman president.

As of this writing the opinion polls are saying that Clinton — the wife of 42nd US president William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton and therefore a former US first lady — is 50 percent ahead in voter preference compared to Trump’s 38 percent.

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Trojan horse

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INTERVIEWING University of the Philippines student Marjohara Tucay, editor of the UP student newspaper The Philippine Collegian, GMA7 TV’s Howie Severino implied in so many words that by expressing his opposition to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) during a GMA7 TV event with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Tucay was in violation of the ethics of journalism. Severino asked if what Tucay did was reflective of the kind of journalism his generation was being taught. Severino argued that the journalist’s task is merely to cover events, to be “objective” and not engage his or her subjects in debate.

And yet that was what Severino was doing. While demanding “objectivity” on the part of Tucay, Severino was being so “objective” he was haranguing the latter in favor of his own views — and over his own network, which also described Tucay as the student editor who disrupted (nanggulo) the GMA7 event. Was the media spectacle GMA7 and Severino put in place in behalf of Clinton indicative of what his generation has learned about journalism?

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Black man’s burden

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It’s become conventional wisdom among observers in the United States and other countries that a Democratic Party victory this November will mean a shift in US government policies at home and abroad. It doesn’t matter who the Democratic candidate for president will be. Although they have different styles, the thinking went, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would undo the damage eight years of the George W. Bush presidency have inflicted on both the United States and the world.

Barack Obama’s emergence as the Democratic Party candidate for President this November is at least partly due to the results of the surveys, most of which show that despite his race, Obama could defeat Republican John McCain. Despite her support across a broad spectrum of white workers, the middle-class and women, Hillary Clinton’s being a woman, and an aggressive one at that, has been widely held against her. It suggests that sexism’s an even more difficult hurdle in US politics than racism.

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