Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cariño: Baguio Connections 125

Baguio Stories

LAST week, about disturbances, weather, and political.

This week, about their aftermaths.

First, it is rare indeed for the world to witness this manner with which the US 2020 Presidential Elections are playing out.

On one hand, the US and the rest of the world are rather used to seeing the US, the great experiment in Democracy, conduct its elections with seeming ease, regularity, fairness. For the past decades, people my age and older have marveled at how the presidential candidates who do not make it each choose a crucial point to—in chess terms, resign with honor—concede, doing so with grace and equanimity. Am quite certain that neither writing nor delivering those concession speeches is ever easy.

Four years ago, when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral college, she did the valiant thing and called up Donald trump in the middle of the night after election day, November 8th, and gave a beautiful concession speech before noon of November 9th. Another Democrat who won the popular vote and yet conceded, albeit after a month of court wrangling amid much talk of irregularities in Florida, was Al Gore. That was in 2000.

George H. W. Bush conceded to William Jefferson Clinton in 1992 and John McCain to Barack Obama in 2008. McCain, Bush Sr., and Gore all delivered concession speeches that made points of thanking their supporters, respecting fair-play/the people’s will, and subsequently getting behind their opponents, in unity with their countrymen, for love of their country.

That tradition, if you will, of the gracious concession speech is the one hand.

On the other hand, we are now watching incumbent US President Donald Trump refused to concede to his opponent, Joseph Biden, despite what seems to be the latter’s clear victory with both the popular vote and the electoral college. There are allegations from the incumbent’s campaign of election irregularities, but the resulting legal challenges that said the campaign has brought to courts of law have reportedly been thrown out for lack of evidence. It is a moment when we rather expect to hear a good concession speech, that item Statesmen have at the ready for when the unthinkable happens.

While we wonder what then will the aftermath of the 2020 US elections be, Hillary Clinton’s concession speech gets played and one wit says of Trump: Is he ever going to be woman enough to do that?

Speaking now of the past week’s great weather disturbance in the Philippines, while Baguio has once again thankfully escaped being battered by a typhoon, this time Ulysses, its aftermath in Cagayan and Isabela is enough to make anyone weep.

And frankly, there is no place in any part of this heartbreaking crisis for peddlers of fake news, rumor-mongerers, to look to score against Vice President Leni Robredo, while she goes about the business of her office, including extending what relief she can where it is so needed. Sadly, courtiers who may maliciously be whispering into the President’s ear are perhaps believed too easily.

This column has long maintained that the RP and the US are karmic twins politically, making us now appreciate men around here being woman enough.


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