November 2004

Perryscope
by Perry Diaz

 

Music maestro! It’s Cha-Cha time! 1-2-3 cha cha cha… Three steps forward, three steps backward. Few simple steps make this relatively new dance — introduced in the US in 1954 — very popular, especially among the middle-aged Filipino-Americans. Go to a Filipino party and you’d fill the dance floor when Cha-Cha is played. One thing good about Cha-Cha is that you don’t need a lot of space to dance it. You can dance it with little steps. And chances are you’ll end up on the same spot where you started.

Filipino-Americans seem to practice in life the way they dance Cha-Cha, three steps forward, three steps backward. Now, what am I talking about here? Does it seem like I am trying to say that we — Filipino-Americans — live a non-productive life? On the contrary, Filipino-Americans are very productive, prosperous and successful in life. Yes, we live in majestic style. Our poverty level is less than one percent (lower than the Jewish community) and our average household income is one of the highest compared to other ethnic communities.

However, this rosy picture of the economic state of Filipino-Americans is negated by our lack of political voice. Several months ago, I wrote an article about our “Guest Mentality.” We still have a mindset that we are in America only temporarily. Folks, you’re wrong. We’re here to stay. So, let’s take stock in America.

But things are now beginning to change. In the election earlier this month, Filipino-Americans were more participative and noticeable than in prior years. In California, where 50 percent of Filipino-Americans live, there is a good number of Filipino-Americans who ran for elective offices. Several Filipino-American candidates won including Jose Esteves who was reelected as Mayor of Milpitas, Christopher Cabaldon as Mayor of West Sacramento, Frank Batara who will be elevated to Mayor of Hercules in January, Jim Navarro who beat an incumbent Council Member in Union City, Tony Ubalde to the College Board of the Solano Community College, and Mitz Lee to the San Diego Unified School District.

Several Filipino-Americans were defeated in their bids. Of particular interest was the defeat of two Filipina-American candidates. In San Francisco — where Filipino-Americans have yet to be elected to the Board of Supervisors — Myrna Lim lost in her second attempt. She placed second to the incumbent Gerardo Sandoval, a Latino, who was reelected with the votes of Filipino-Americans. Yes, Myrna Lim lost because of the campaign against her from our own community! What is really sad was that the Filipino-American Democratic leadership in San Francisco endorsed Sandoval. In my opinion, had the Filipino-American community rallied behind Lim, the outcome would have been in favor of Lim, particularly because of the large Asian population, 46%, to the Latinos’ 26%. The question is: Why did the Filipino-American Democratic Leadership dump Myrna Lim? I asked one of the Filipino-American Democratic leaders and he could not tell me why his group would not support Lim. However, he said that supporting Lim was like supporting Marcos. But that was what made the campaign against her insidious.

San Diego — one of the largest concentrations of Filipino-Americans — has a politically active Filipino-American community. During the past 25 years, Filipino-American candidates ran for various offices, from school boards to the US Congress. However, to my knowledge, only two have been elected. Some 20 years ago, Angelito Gale, a Filipino immigrant, ran for Board Member of an affluent suburban school district in San Diego County. It was a school district that hardly had a Filipino-American community at that time. A Republican, he ran as Angel Gale, and won handily. He was reelected to a second term. On his third bid, the local newspaper published the candidates with their photos and Angelito “Angel” Gale (pronounced Gah-lee by Filipinos and Gayle by Americans) lost the election. Could we then surmise that he was elected because the mostly Caucasian voters thought that he was a Caucasian? With a name like “Angel Gale,” he could have been anybody but a Filipino.

In the 2004 general election, Mitz Lee, a Filipina-American Republican, ran for Board Member of the San Diego Unified School District and won! She was the first Filipino-American elected to the San Diego school board. I know Mitz personally and I am sure that her wide network of supporters and her ability to reach out to the large minority communities brought her over the top. However, one might surmise that her Anglo-sounding name helped her also. Hey, if that would help, there is nothing wrong with that.

Being a Republican in San Diego is like being a Catholic in Rome. Angel Gale, Mitz Lee, and Marissa Acierto are Republicans. The party label may have helped Gale and Lee in more ways than others. But Marissa Acierto failed in her second attempt to win a seat in the San Diego City Council, where no Filipino-American has ever been elected in to. Considering the large Filipino-American community in San Diego, Marissa shouldn’t have had any problems getting the support of her own community. However, based on my source, Marissa was supported by the Hispanics and Asians. Did the Filipino-American community support Marissa? According to my source, the Filipino-American community leaders supported her opponents and several Filipino-Americans even waged a nasty vilification campaign against her.

In addition to the lack of support from the Filipino-American community, in my opinion, I believe that the San Diego City Council’s decision to hold the election on November 16, two weeks after the general election, created a low voter turnout, particularly in the Filipino-American community. The deck was stacked against Marissa but she was not bitter. She was happy in that “she created an awareness of the great potential Filipinos have in reshaping the political landscape of San Diego.” “I wish,” Marissa said, “that the Filipinos would wield their votes the way they wield their tongues.”

So, we’re back to square one in San Francisco and San Diego — two metropolitan areas heavily populated with Filipino-Americans. And just like Cha-Cha, if you’re good at it, you’ll end the dance on square one.

With a projected five-million strong Filipino-American community by 2010, it’s time to learn a new dance — the “Swing.” This graceful dance is gaining popularity in the Filipino-American community. In politics, hey, the Filipino-Americans could be a powerful “swing” vote in any election. But first, let’s swing around and get our act together in getting more Filipino-Americans elected.

 

Perryscope
by Perry Diaz

 

Music maestro! It’s Cha-Cha time! 1-2-3 cha cha cha… Three steps forward, three steps backward. Few simple steps make this relatively new dance — introduced in the US in 1954 — very popular, especially among the middle-aged Filipino-Americans. Go to a Filipino party and you’d fill the dance floor when Cha-Cha is played. One thing good about Cha-Cha is that you don’t need a lot of space to dance it. You can dance it with little steps. And chances are you’ll end up on the same spot where you started.

Filipino-Americans seem to practice in life the way they dance Cha-Cha, three steps forward, three steps backward. Now, what am I talking about here? Does it seem like I am trying to say that we — Filipino-Americans — live a non-productive life? On the contrary, Filipino-Americans are very productive, prosperous and successful in life. Yes, we live in majestic style. Our poverty level is less than one percent (lower than the Jewish community) and our average household income is one of the highest compared to other ethnic communities.

However, this rosy picture of the economic state of Filipino-Americans is negated by our lack of political voice. Several months ago, I wrote an article about our “Guest Mentality.” We still have a mindset that we are in America only temporarily. Folks, you’re wrong. We’re here to stay. So, let’s take stock in America.

But things are now beginning to change. In the election earlier this month, Filipino-Americans were more participative and noticeable than in prior years. In California, where 50 percent of Filipino-Americans live, there is a good number of Filipino-Americans who ran for elective offices. Several Filipino-American candidates won including Jose Esteves who was reelected as Mayor of Milpitas, Christopher Cabaldon as Mayor of West Sacramento, Frank Batara who will be elevated to Mayor of Hercules in January, Jim Navarro who beat an incumbent Council Member in Union City, Tony Ubalde to the College Board of the Solano Community College, and Mitz Lee to the San Diego Unified School District.

Several Filipino-Americans were defeated in their bids. Of particular interest was the defeat of two Filipina-American candidates. In San Francisco — where Filipino-Americans have yet to be elected to the Board of Supervisors — Myrna Lim lost in her second attempt. She placed second to the incumbent Gerardo Sandoval, a Latino, who was reelected with the votes of Filipino-Americans. Yes, Myrna Lim lost because of the campaign against her from our own community! What is really sad was that the Filipino-American Democratic leadership in San Francisco endorsed Sandoval. In my opinion, had the Filipino-American community rallied behind Lim, the outcome would have been in favor of Lim, particularly because of the large Asian population, 46%, to the Latinos’ 26%. The question is: Why did the Filipino-American Democratic Leadership dump Myrna Lim? I asked one of the Filipino-American Democratic leaders and he could not tell me why his group would not support Lim. However, he said that supporting Lim was like supporting Marcos. But that was what made the campaign against her insidious.

San Diego — one of the largest concentrations of Filipino-Americans — has a politically active Filipino-American community. During the past 25 years, Filipino-American candidates ran for various offices, from school boards to the US Congress. However, to my knowledge, only two have been elected. Some 20 years ago, Angelito Gale, a Filipino immigrant, ran for Board Member of an affluent suburban school district in San Diego County. It was a school district that hardly had a Filipino-American community at that time. A Republican, he ran as Angel Gale, and won handily. He was reelected to a second term. On his third bid, the local newspaper published the candidates with their photos and Angelito “Angel” Gale (pronounced Gah-lee by Filipinos and Gayle by Americans) lost the election. Could we then surmise that he was elected because the mostly Caucasian voters thought that he was a Caucasian? With a name like “Angel Gale,” he could have been anybody but a Filipino.

In the 2004 general election, Mitz Lee, a Filipina-American Republican, ran for Board Member of the San Diego Unified School District and won! She was the first Filipino-American elected to the San Diego school board. I know Mitz personally and I am sure that her wide network of supporters and her ability to reach out to the large minority communities brought her over the top. However, one might surmise that her Anglo-sounding name helped her also. Hey, if that would help, there is nothing wrong with that.

Being a Republican in San Diego is like being a Catholic in Rome. Angel Gale, Mitz Lee, and Marissa Acierto are Republicans. The party label may have helped Gale and Lee in more ways than others. But Marissa Acierto failed in her second attempt to win a seat in the San Diego City Council, where no Filipino-American has ever been elected in to. Considering the large Filipino-American community in San Diego, Marissa shouldn’t have had any problems getting the support of her own community. However, based on my source, Marissa was supported by the Hispanics and Asians. Did the Filipino-American community support Marissa? According to my source, the Filipino-American community leaders supported her opponents and several Filipino-Americans even waged a nasty vilification campaign against her.

In addition to the lack of support from the Filipino-American community, in my opinion, I believe that the San Diego City Council’s decision to hold the election on November 16, two weeks after the general election, created a low voter turnout, particularly in the Filipino-American community. The deck was stacked against Marissa but she was not bitter. She was happy in that “she created an awareness of the great potential Filipinos have in reshaping the political landscape of San Diego.” “I wish,” Marissa said, “that the Filipinos would wield their votes the way they wield their tongues.”

So, we’re back to square one in San Francisco and San Diego — two metropolitan areas heavily populated with Filipino-Americans. And just like Cha-Cha, if you’re good at it, you’ll end the dance on square one.

With a projected five-million strong Filipino-American community by 2010, it’s time to learn a new dance — the “Swing.” This graceful dance is gaining popularity in the Filipino-American community. In politics, hey, the Filipino-Americans could be a powerful “swing” vote in any election. But first, let’s swing around and get our act together in getting more Filipino-Americans elected.

 

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

In 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy of Boston, Massachusetts was the Democratic presidential candidate against the Republican candidate, former Vice President Richard Nixon. It was a very close contest. But what made this particular political duel unique was that Kennedy — or JFK as he was popularly called — was the first Roman Catholic who ran for President of the United States at a time when the White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) were the absolute political lords in America. Nixon, a WASP, was considered the establishment candidate. After all, he was the incumbent Vice President.

Kennedy, being a Roman Catholic, was mistrusted by the Protestant leaders. One of the rumors that floated around insinuated that Kennedy, if elected, would become a puppet of the Pope. The celebrated debate between Kennedy and Nixon turned the public sentiment around and Kennedy won the presidency by 118,574 votes and captured 309 electoral votes to Nixon’s 219 electoral votes. He became the first Roman Catholic president of the United States.

Forty four years later, 2004, a similar scenario occurred in the recently concluded presidential election. Senator John F. Kerry of Boston, Massachusetts was the Democratic presidential candidate against the Republican candidate, incumbent President George W. Bush. It was a very close contest. But what made this particular political duel interesting was that Kerry — or JFK as he was oftentimes referred to during the campaign — is a Roman Catholic. President Bush is a WASP. Déjà vu. Was history set to repeat itself? Almost. President Bush won by 3.5 million votes and captured 286 electoral votes to Kerry’s 252 electoral votes.

What was intriguing in this year’s election was how the Roman Catholics voted. Since Kerry is a Catholic, is it fair to presume that the Catholics supported Kerry? Yes, it would be fair to presume that Catholics voted for Kerry. However, the CNN exit polls conducted in Maryland showed that Bush got 57% of the Catholic vote to Kerry’s 41%. On the other hand, Kerry got 53% of the Protestant vote to Bush’s 46%. Clearly, the Maryland exit polls have defied conventional wisdom.

Kerry took the Catholic vote for granted. He was confident that the Catholics would not abandon one of its faithful sons. That would have been true had Kerry demonstrated that he was true to his Catholic faith. But he didn’t. Instead, he placed himself on a teetering position favoring abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage — three issues opposed by most Catholics. On the other hand, President Bush’s pronounced stand against abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage, has created a strong bond with Catholics.

The Filipino-Americans, one of the most socially conservative ethnic groups in the United States, have very strong feelings on these issues. The Catholic Church leadership in the Philippines is more conservative than the Catholic Church leadership in the United States. With a high percentage of immigrants, the Filipino-Americans are highly influenced by Philippine social standards.

With the emerging Catholic vote, the political shift in the Filipino-American community is beginning to change the voting preferences of Filipino-Americans. Political bond between the Filipino-Americans and the Hispanic-Americans is beginning to gel and would soon solidify into a strong political alliance. It is not a coincidence that the Hispanic and Filipino shifts to the Republican Party are happening at the same time. It is because the conservative social issues are beginning to resonate in both communities. Why not? The cultural similarities of the Hispanics — particularly the Mexicans — and the Filipinos are very strong.

Mexico and the Philippines have maintained close cultural ties for more than 250 years during the Spanish era in the Philippines. They were, for lack of a better word, “colonial” cousins. In the United States, Hispanic-Americans and Spanish-surnamed Filipino-Americans are oftentimes lumped together: thus, creating a larger number for Hispanic-Americans . I would not be surprised if the Census had classified a large portion of Filipino-Americans as Hispanic and not Asian. Certainly, this would increase the political value of Hispanic-Americans. If this trend continues, the Filipino-American political community should start capitalizing on its affinity with the Hispanic community. It should work both ways, benefiting both communities. Better still, a political alliance between Hispanic-Americans and Filipino-Americans based on their conservative values would certainly become a powerful political bloc.

How would it affect the “API” coalition that mainstream political power brokers have tried so hard to keep together as a political bloc? “API” as the Asians and Pacific Islanders are called, is an attempt to simplify access of politicians to the “API” community and vice versa. By lumping all the communities together, the politicians would only need to talk to the “API” leader. The “API” leader — most likely a Chinese-American — would be the only person that has access to the politicians; thus, giving that leader near-absolute control over the “API” coalition. This advantage is translated into benefits such as political appointments. In most cases, the Chinese-Americans have virtual lock on appointments. During the first term of President Bush, more than 200 “APIs” were appointed by the Bush administration. However, due to the exclusive access of the “API” leader-godfather, who was Chinese-American, 90% of the appointments were given to Chinese-Americans. Other ethnic groups within the “API” coalition, such as Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis and others, have to settle for “crumbs.” Through this “API” leader-godfather, only one Filipino-American was appointed. The other Filipino-American appointees in the Bush administration got their appointments by working with mainstream leaders and not with the “API” coalition.

In order for the Filipino-Americans to gain political clout, we must have our own political organizations and work independently of the “API” coalition. However, we should not be precluded from partnering with other ethnic groups to achieve common goals. Filipino-Americans should also start running for offices. In San Francisco, California, with one of the largest concentrations of Filipino-Americans, a Filipino-American candidate who ran for the Board of Supervisors lost. She placed second. However, the irony of it is that the Filipino-American Democratic leaders endorsed and supported her opponent. In my opinion, the Filipino-American candidate could have won if the Filipino-American leaders supported her. So we’re back to square one. Too bad, we’re still dancing the crab dance — one step forward, one step backward.

 

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz
 

 

I received an email a few days after the presidential election with a picture of the map of the United States in red and blue colors. ‘The Map’ as it was called shows the counties in red where President Bush won and the counties in blue where Senator Kerry won. What a beautiful tapestry America is in red and blue.

At a glance you see a trend in America, it’s red in the middle and as you move outward, it’s turning blue. The West Coast is mostly blue and the East Coast is split between red and blue with the northeast and southeast predominantly blue.

What does this mean to Americans? And to Filipino-Americans? The victory of President Bush is the watershed of the conservative revival of America. America is going back to its roots as a conservative nation. The liberal agenda of the Democratic Party is losing support from its traditional allies, in particular — the minorities. Exit polls showed that President Bush’s support among the African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans — and Filipino-Americans — has improved dramatically.

Why? I believe that moral issues transcend the racial divide. In general, voters are more concerned about their children’s moral upbringing and education. Parents — black or white, poor or rich, immigrant or natural-born American — care about the future of their children more than anything else. The “Leave no Child Behind” program that President Bush promised in 2000 and approved by the US Congress still resonated with voters in the 2004 election. Yes, the election in 2004 is all about the future of the next generations of Americans.

Prior to the presidential election, I wrote an article titled “The core of our values.” I stated that “our religious upbringing, our strong family ties, our deep-rooted tradition of self-reliance, and our time-honored spirit of bayanihan have ingrained in us a core of values that directs how our brains think and how our hearts beat.” I believe that a majority of Filipino-Americans have these conservative core values. I believe that a majority of Filipino-Americans voted for President Bush because of their affinity to the President’s conservative beliefs and moral agenda.

The Philippines is probably one of the most conservative societies on earth. The population is about 90% Roman Catholic and the people adhere to the strict practices of the church, which include the following: divorce is not recognized, family planning and birth control must only use natural methods of contraception, and abortion is not permitted. Philippine law punishes rapists with life in prison or the death penalty and metes out stiff sentences to drug dealers.

I posted “The core of our values” on several list-serves in the Internet and I received mostly favorable comments. However, a few Filipino-Americans questioned my article and one of them Emily (not her real name), an educated Filipina with an MD and a PhD degrees, emailed me and said the she disagreed with my article. She said that my article did not represent her beliefs. She said that she is “an agnostic, pro-choice, and anti-war.” True, my article did not represent her beliefs. I replied to her email and told her, “Based on how you described yourself, you’re profile is that of a liberal and you’re most probably a registered Democrat.”

Filipino-Americans in California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey are mostly registered Democrat. However, they vote according to their conscience and they cross party lines for the candidates of their choice. In 2004, their candidate of choice was George W. Bush. This is a phenomenon that has left a lot of Filipino-American political leaders wondering. For example, in California, in the past 25 years, Filipino-Californians have crossed party lines to vote for a Republican president and governor. In 1980 and 1984, Filipinos in California voted for President Ronald Reagan. In 1982 and 1986, they voted for Governor Deukmejian. In 1988, they voted for President George HW Bush. In 1990, they voted for Governor Pete Wilson. In 1992, their support started to shift to Democratic presidential and gubernatorial candidates. After 10 years, in 2002, the support of Filipinos in California began to shift back to the Republican Party. In 2003, the Filipinos overwhelmingly supported Arnold Schwarzenegger when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled. In 2004, notwithstanding the Democratic victory in California, I believe that a majority of Filipinos in California voted for President Bush.

With President Bush’s reelection, the question of the day is: Will the Filipino-Americans in California abandon the Democratic Party in the 2006 gubernatorial election? My guess is “Yes, they will abandon the Democratic Party to reelect Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

The rightward swing of the Filipino-American vote will play a crucial role in future elections. If the momentum continues, the Filipino-American vote will become a key factor in California and in the United States beginning in 2010 when the Filipino-American population would increase, as projected, to more than 5 million.

With that large a number, Filipino-Americans will become a swing vote. But the question is: Will Filipino-Americans get elected to the United Congress? However, before we can even talk of electing Filipino-Americans to the US Congress, how about electing them to city councils, county boards of supervisors, school boards, and the multitude of local offices? The time has come. All we need now are Filipino-Americans to step up to the plate.

 

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz
 
The Twelfth Annual Gala Banquet and Ball honoring the Twenty Outstanding Filipino-Americans (T.O.F.A.) in the United States and Canada was another banner year. Held every year in Washington, DC, the prestigious event celebrated this year’s Circle of Leaders, a select group of 20 men and women nominated by various organizations including the 220 previous T.O.F.A. awardees.

T.O.F.A. was the brainchild of Mr. Nonoy Mendoza, the Publisher of FIL-AM IMAGE, the Filipino-American magazine based in Washington, DC. Mr. Mendoza’s vision of honoring the high achievers has passed the test of time. According to Mr. Mendoza, since its inception in 1990, “an impressive list of 240 Filipino-American centers-of-influence, high achievers and leaders representing the various consular jurisdictions of the Philippine diplomatic establishments in North America have been honored. The awardees, known as members of the ’Circle of Leaders,’ come from several states including: Arizona, Alaska, Guam, California, New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Delaware, Mississippi, Kentucky, Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, Philadelphia, Minnesota, West Virginia, as well as from Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” Mr. Mendoza has remained focused in his search for qualified and deserving self-actuated leaders in the Filipino-American community.

Mr. Mendoza elaborated further, “The awardees are the role models of the Filipino-American communities. They are inspirations and pride of Filipinos. They are the reservoir of varied Filipino-American talents and expertise. They have participated and contributed immensely in building and rebuilding the great United States and the vast Canada.”

The 2004 Twenty Outstanding Filipino-Americans in the United States and Canada were honored at a gala banquet and ball at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC last October 22, 2004. The three-day celebration started with an evening reception hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Nonoy Mendoza at their hotel suite on October 20. The following day, the honorees were treated to a brunch at the prestigious National Press Club. In the evening of October 21, the honorees were invited to a reception at the Philippine Embassy hosted by Deputy Ambassador Evan Garcia.

In the morning of October 22, the honorees were accorded a chartered tour of the nation’s capital followed by a sumptuous lunch at a popular seafood buffet restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.

The gala banquet and ball was an elaborate ceremony. Each of the 20 honorees were introduced and given an honorific medal and a plaque of recognition. The following are the 2004 Twenty Outstanding Filipino-Americans of the US and Canada:

* Dr. Nerita R. Ulep, MD of Rockville, Maryland.

* Mr. Isagani C. Puertollano of Union, New Jersey.

* Ms. Editha B. Fedalizo of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

* Dr. Benito O. de Lumen, PhD of Berkeley, California.

* Dr. Yolanda Truckenbrodt, PhD of Dayton, Ohio.

* Ms. Emilie Gaborne Dearing of Fairfax, Virginia

* Dr. Baby Bleza-Guinto, MD of Valley Spring, New York.

* Ms. Carmencita Pintoy Kenney of Baltimore, Maryland

* Dr. Jose Bejar Cruz, PhD of Upper Arlington, Ohio.

* Ms. Tessie Calderon Alarcon of Leesburg, Virginia

* Mr. Perry Diaz of Elk Grove (Sacramento), California

* Ms. Venus Tomaneng of Virginia Beach, Virginia

* Mr. Antonio H. David of Washington, DC

* Dr. Vilma P. Helms, PhD of Dayton, Ohio

* Dr .Vicente O. Enciso, Jr., MD of Phoenix, Arizona

* Ms. Crispina Diaz-Unabia, RN of Downers Grove, Illinois

* Mr. Larry B. Hidalgo of San Jose ,California

* Dr. Vicenta P.G. Maquez, MD of Smyrna, Delaware

* Dr. Joseph M. Arzadon of Falls Church* Dr. Ofelia V. Dirige, PhD of San Diego, California

Congratulations to the 2004 awardees! I hope that they would continue to serve as role models in our community and contribute to the well-being and development of the Filipino-American community.

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

“Neck and neck down the stretch,” the Sacramento Bee headline says. “Six new polls suggest Bush-Kerry race could go either way. It is really down to the wire, folks. Nobody is making any predictions because the presidential derby is at a statistical dead heat. Whoever is going to win in tomorrow’s election will not win “by the nose.” He will win “by a whisker.”In 2000, President George W. Bush won the election after five weeks of impasse over the “chad” issue in Florida. With roughly 500-vote difference between Bush and Gore, Bush captured 271 electoral votes, the minimum it would take to win the election. The rest was history.

Is history going to repeat itself tomorrow? By all indications, yes! So, all roads would lead to Florida for a repeat of the historic gut-wrenching political drama that pitted not only the two presidential candidates — George W. Bush and Albert Gore — but batteries of lawyers, hordes of volunteers, and the full panel of the US Supreme Court.

However, I believe it is not going to be Florida, again. Why? With tens of thousands of volunteers including thousands of lawyers from both sides, Florida would not be the mother of all battleground states. There are several scenarios that I would consider “probable” in view of the anticipated close race tomorrow.

As of today, there are seven battleground states, one of which was not considered a battleground state until a few days ago. That state — Hawaii — is seven time zones away from Florida and five from California. By the time the polls close at 8:00 PM Central Time in Florida, it would only be 1:00 PM in Hawaii. By the time the polls close at 8:00 PM Pacific Time in California, it would be 3:00 PM in Hawaii. By 10:00 PM Pacific Time, California would have declared the winner of its 55 electoral votes. So would Oregon with 7 electoral votes. And so would Washington State with 11 electoral votes.

John Kerry, at that time waiting in his hotel room in Washington, DC, mentally counted the electoral votes he captured in all three Western Pacific states: 55 plus 7 plus 11… That’s a whopping 27% of what it takes to win.

At the same time, President Bush has 267, having captured four of the seven battleground states — Colorado (9), Florida (27), New Mexico (5), and Virginia (13) for a total of 54 electoral votes. A few hours earlier, Kerry captured two battleground states — Ohio (20) and Pennsylvania (21) for a total of 41 electoral votes.

At 1:00 AM Eastern Time on November 3, John F. Kerry — beaming with confidence — walked up to the podium at his pre-designated victory party in a plush Washington, DC hotel and was about to declare victory when an aide whispered to him, “You have 267, it’s a tie at this point.” “But what happened to Hawaii, that little speck of rocks in the middle of nowhere has always been ours, do you hear, OURS!” The last word echoed in the room… OURS… OURS… ours… ours… ours…

The aide tried to explain it in a way so Kerry could make his own conclusion: “You see, Senator… It is only 5:00 PM in Hawaii and the people there are still voting. You know how they are… They’re pretty laid back and they didn’t go to the polls until a couple of hours ago. I never understood it myself, but people there say it has something to do with Filipino time.” Kerry, turned red, and shouted at his aide: “What has ‘Filipino time’ to do with my victory in Hawaii. Hawaii is a Democratic bailiwick long before this ‘Filipino time’ came about. Besides they’re all Democrats and they are loyal Democrats.” Crats… crats… crats… the acoustic in the hotel ballroom was terrible. “But sir,” the aide explained, “I beg to disagree. The Filipinos are notorious for crossing party lines for a candidate they like. They’re the key supporters of Governor Linda Lingle when she ran for Governor of Hawaii in 2002. She‘s a Republican.” Kerry looked his aide in the eye and said, “You mean, these Filipino Democrats voted for a Republican candidate?” Finally, the aide said, “Senator, they do it all the time if they don‘t like the Democratic candidate. The exit polls in Hawaii right now are predicting that the Filipinos were voting overwhelmingly for Bush.”

With 267 to 267 tie in electoral votes, Hawaii’s four electoral votes would give the magic number of 271 electoral votes to the winner in Hawaii; thus, giving him the bare minimum to win the presidency.

Kerry left the podium and went back to his room to wait for the election results in Hawaii. “Damn Filipinos, they screw things up all the time. Damn Filipinos!” Pinos… pinos… pinos… The echo continued. Kerry didn’t realize that he still had a little microphone pinned on his lapel.

On January 20, 2005, President George W. Bush was sworn in as President of the United States. On the front row of the gallery, several Filipino Democrats from Hawaii were seated. When President Bush finished his oath of office, he looked at the Filipinos in the gallery and gave them the “shaka” sign. The Filipinos responded with the same “shaka” sign and said, “Hang loose, bro.”

NOTE: This scenario is very possible. With a 267-267 tie, Hawaii will determine the winner of tomorrow’s presidential election.