Dreams of America

I was reading the opinion section of Philippine Star last Saturday. My day of reading would not be complete without Alejandro Roces’ Roses and Thorns. One of my favorite commentary in print. His article was entitled, The great US experiment – the Philippines. Although I happen to disagree with what was written, I was even more surprised by the comments when I scrolled down.

Bunch of people were talking about the good years we had with the US, and how we could have benefit as a nation if we were an American state – that we needed them, one even went far as saying that we should lobby to be part of the states today. When I signed in, and shared my view of how far fetch their ideas were, they made jokes out of it, in fairness to them they were funny.

The Forbidden Book

It’s unfortunate that some of our young people would even spend time dreaming about the this so called ‘land of opportunity’. It’s a clear sign of desperate times, aspiring that we could go back in Americas good graces, that they could retake their prodigal son and help it regain past glory. 

I’m reminded of the “federalistas” during the turn of the century, when America cut short Aguinaldo’s republic before it could even legitimize its existence. When US was already in power, this party was so eager to join the American states that they shamelessly threw themselves at the feet of the new rulers, untiringly lobbying for the poor Philippines to be assimilated to the great empire, to be with the great states in the mainland, only to find out that we were unwanted, that US does not need this country to be theirs, only its resources and its strategic location.

I love reading old notes, it reminds me of the reality – how we were treated as a people, like this one from Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana in 1900, his take on Filipinos, ”not of a self-governing race . . .. Savage blood, Oriental blood, Malay blood, Spanish example — are these the elements of self-government?”

It was said that imperialism is always, racist. I think with that kind of statement from an American leader. It is.

American regards themselves for converting us to Christianity, when we already are Christians, thanks to Catholicism. We have stronger Christian values and beliefs than them when they came, that I am sure.

We are all happy to recall our deep relationship with the US, but we find it hard (almost impossible in most cases) to even visit relatives in the US mainland when we want to, while Japan, who once attacked them, killing thousands, not counting their soldiers who fought in the Pacific – enjoys the luxury of a pass, without restrictions. Its high time that we accept that America is a friend, when it can find good benefit, but if you’re the third world nation, the sick ol’ man of Asia, reminding them of history is fruitless.

I’ve come full circle in my political history studies; I have been an admirer as a young man of the American ideals for this nation of ours. Later on, when further study has shown that, the ideals that I once admired are but a façade of a more intricate plan, that of an ambition of an imperialistic super power, the “large policy” as it was called by its leaders.

And like Aguinaldo and his men, many people have been fooled by the cunning of the American leaders. For they have been after this lands long before the revolution has even begun, only using it to further their advance here and in the region, their real purpose can be understood by this letter of John Hay to his friend Theodore Roosevelt, referring to the war with Spain, “a splendid little war, begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that Fortune which loves the brave.”

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4 responses to “Dreams of America

  • nold

    all good Don! thank you.

    Actually – my reply was in defense of a relative who reminded (scolded?) me that I have brothers and relatives living in the US, who are naturalized American citizens, they are classified as Fil Am’s. Wow. One brother, actually is a career Navy officer.

    Ain’t that beautiful 🙂

  • Don De Alban

    “Let me set things clear, the American people and the Amercian government are two different entities.” — Ah! thanks for clearing that up; I’ll keep that in mind.

    Thanks for visiting my site, by the way… and for the link up too 🙂 I have your site linked as well.

  • nold

    I’m familiar with kipling – but yeah, i think that book you just recommended is a good read. hope i can afford it!

    let me set things clear, the American people and the Amercian government are two different entities. Only terrorist like bin Laden would see them as one, his definition explains his actions.

    Not because the US govt seeks to intervene & exploit conflicts all over the world, means that the American public is behind it, their government naturally -like all the empires of antiquity, seeks to gain advantage for its people. Even if it goes against their peoples will (i.e., vietnam, iraq war)

    I still believe in the American peoples generosity and warmth toward Filipinos for I have witnessed it myself.

  • Don De Alban

    In those days (and even till now), the Americans and Europeans believed it was their calling–the White Man’s Burden in Rudyard Kipling’s words–to save the ‘savages’ and impart to them the benefits of their technological advancement and development. Their superiority complex brought some benefits, of course, but it also came with a fair share of failures too, which are still evident in much of Africa and some developing countries in Asia today.

    Have you read Stanley Karnow’s “In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines”? I suggest you get hold of a copy; it’s a good historical account on the Philippine-American relations. I think you will enjoy reading it.

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