Emil Guillermo: Did you Lochte Olympics like I Lochte Olympics?
August 22, 2016 10:57 AM

The Summer Olympics, the great quadrennial global escape, is over, and now we can all go back to worrying about Zika, Brazil's impending impeachment of its President Dilma Rousseff, and the games' biggest news story, American Ryan Lochte's gold medal prevarication on vandalism, public urination and white privilege. 

If it weren't for Lochte, it would have been as good a set of games as we've ever seen with the medal performances of Phelps, Biles, Bolt, Ledecky, Felix, et al. 

Even the Philippines won a medal.

But there's the arrogance of Lochte with that lingering bad aftertaste of all his lies.

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Robbery? Extortion? With a gun pointed to his forehead? None of those things happened. And even as he admitted to errors of omission and apologized on Saturday for having "over exaggerated," his whole demeanor seemed disingenuous.

Really, it's worse than if he were caught using steroids or banned substances. Oh, that's still disgraceful, but one can begin to understand cheating as the extreme example of an ultra-competitive Olympic-sized will to win. Some come back from disgrace.
 
USA sprinter Justin Gatlin was banned in 2001, and again in 2006. 

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But there he was a new man in Rio, at age 34, running the 100 meter in 9.89 seconds. Good for silver, but second to the iconic Usain Bolt, who won the gold with a time of 9.81 seconds.

Lochte's lie had nothing to do with athletic prowess and everything to do with character and what he is like as a 32-year-old man. Arrogant, self-serving, disrespectful of the host country and condescending to its people. Lochte's the example of "We're No. 1" taken to the extreme. I'm sure the white male medalist made it seem like he can do no wrong. And when he was caught, he simply sold out his teammates with drunken but calculated lies. 

One can overcome performance enhancement lies. As Gatlin proved, the drugs wear off.

It won't be so easy for Lochte to overcome his lies of character enhancement.

But I wouldn't worry. Even though Speedo has undressed him, dropping Lochte from sponsorship, Lochte's privilege will ultimately save him. After his on-screen lesson from Matt Lauer, I could see Lochte eventually doing PR for an embattled Olympics committee, or better yet,the corrupt FIFA. And always available to him is professional politics, where lying is an art form.

ROOTING FOR ATHLETES FROM ANCESTRAL LANDS
And even with all that, it was still was a pretty good Olympics, especially from an Asian American perspective.

As Americans of Asian descent, we get the best of most worlds. We can choose to root for good ole "USA, USA," as well as our ancestral countries of origin. It depends if the sport is badminton or rhythmic gymnastics.

So we're practically always in a medal hunt, especially if you're of Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean ancestry. All three countries were in the top ten. China won 70 medals, Japan 41, and South Korea 21.

This was also a big year for the smaller Asian countries to flex some muscle. Central Asia's Uzbekistan won 4 golds, 13 medals overall. And Kazakhstan, land of the mythical Borat, won 3 golds, 17 medals overall.

But for real muscle flexing, who would begrudge me, an American Filipino, from rooting for a Philippine national in the 53kg (116.8 pound) class in Women's Weightlifting--an event so obscure I was lucky to find it streaming on the web when the games began two weeks ago.
 
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The Philippines usually gets lost in the opening ceremonies, with networks cutting to commercial somewhere between Peru and Poland. Typically, it gets honorable mention for best cultural costume.

This time, a Filipina actually medaled.

Hidilyn Diaz, 25, became the first Filipino medalist in 20 years, winning Silver after lifting 112 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
  
The 116 pound Filipina lifted 246.9 pounds in that round. Add that to her 88 kilograms (194 pounds) in the snatch, and her performance earned her second place in her weight class with a total lift of 200 kilograms (446.9 pounds). 

I don't think Imelda Marcos' entire shoe collection weighed that much.

It was just the tenth medal ever for the Philippines, which has never won gold, but now has a third silver in its Olympic trophy case. 

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Indeed, that one woman's weightlifting event could have satisfied a whole gaggle of Asian Americans curious about competitors from their ancestral homelands. 
 
The gold was won by Hsu Shu-ching, who lifted 212 kg, while competing for Chinese Taipei. 

If you're wondering where the heck is Chinese Taipei, it's the possessive phrase compromise that China and the International Olympic Committee came up with for Taiwan.

It may not have made some Taiwanese very happy. But the 53g Women's Weightlifting event did give the country its only gold medal for the games, one of three medals this year.

South Korea's Yoon Jin-hee was the bronze medalist. Overall, South Korea won 9 gold, 3 silver, 9 bronze for 21 medals, good for 8th place among all nations. 

Of course, I rooted for the Americans, but really felt nothing for the great swimmer Michael Phelps, that is, until he lost to another Asian rooting interest, Joseph Schooling. Technically a Singaporean, and therefore an Asian in America, Schooling, 21, is on the University of Texas-Austin swim team and has Bevo the Longhorn tattooed on his body. 

In the 100 meter Butterfly, Schooling outswam Phelps, the most decorated Olympic athlete ever with 28 medals overall, 23 of them gold. But in this event, Schooling denied Phelps another gold. Phelps, who tied for 2nd, shared the silver.
 
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It was Singapore's first gold medal ever in the Olympics. It won just four medals in previous Olympics, but no gold in table tennis and weightlifting.

It's harder than you think to get any medal, as more than a dozen Asian countries like Pakistan, Samoa, and Cambodia were shut out again.

But it's just good to be there as an obscure athlete from some small country, right?

And not some NBA multimillionaire big-footing the games and staying in a luxury yacht. But they were in there together at the opening and closing ceremonies, all with their cell phones out for the ultimate selfie. Champions among champions.
 
That's the Olympics, all the athletes just walking the track together not in competition, just holding their flags and bathing in cheers.

Oh, the individual events were often as goosebumpy. I felt that way watching Allyson Felix win her sixth gold medal, the most ever for a women's track and field star. I thought I was watching Secretariat as I saw Katie Ledecky smash the field in the 800 meter freestyle, 11 seconds ahead of the silver. And even in injury and defeat, there was the crash and fall of Ivy League runner Abbey D'Agostino, who helped her opponent up and then finished the race with a torn ACL. Those were all great moments.

Let's hope they become the enduring memories of these games, and not the lies of Ryan Lochte.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: Bill Clinton and a veteran Sacramento TV reporter make my AAJA
August 15, 2016 7:58 PM

The best thing about last weekend's Asian American Journalists Association convention in Las Vegas wasn't necessarily the Presidential Election Forum, co-presented with APIAVote.

Oh, yeah, President Bill Clinton showed up. He's running for First Grandpa. More on him later in this column.

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But no one else showed up who was actually running for the high office. Not unless you count Gary Johnson the Libertarian, who actually drew loud cheers when he admitted to getting high. 

He said he last used marijuana three months ago.

Johnson was also asked what "AAPI" meant. I'm sure his campaign wasn't happy that he was totally clueless. Was he suffering from cannabis deprivation?

To hear him stumble on that question was disappointing. 

It's a new level of AAPI invisibility when the semi-anonymous Libertarian candidate for president doesn't even know us by our acronym.

Oh well, at least the totally anonymous Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein was able to say what "AAPI" meant. But so what? She's not the Bernie alternative.

The real newsmaker would have been Republican standard disruptor Donald Trump, but he was a no-show. After his disparaging comments last week about wanting to vet Filipino immigrants more carefully for terrorism, The Donald showed just how little he cared for Filipino Americans, specifically, and Asian  Americans, in general.

His concern for us? Not even measurable.

Just think, he could have shown up to help the Republican who wants to replace Nevada's Harry Reid in the Senate.

Trump just doesn't care about anyone but himself.

And to add insult to injury, Trump sent a surrogate, Utah's Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Filipino American, to do his bidding.

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Reyes told jokes about cooking rice and eating spam in a pandering ploy to ingratiate himself.

The crowd was polite. But Reyes didn't touch the Trump headlines of the day. 

Trump's Russian coziness? The non-release of his tax returns? The "sarcastic" comments that Obama was the "founder of ISIS? That veiled threat of assassination against Hillary Clinton? Maybe a hint of the new "extreme vetting" plan Trump wants to implement?

Nothing.

Reyes did read off Trump's positions from a fact sheet better than The Donald could have, showing what a semi-respectable Republican might sound like mimicking Trump. 

Not very appealing.

Of course, Reyes did comment on the Filipino statements. But it was a simple clarification. Not really an apology.

"[Trump] welcomes law abiding Filipinos," Reyes said.

Of course he does. We all do. No one is for illegal immigration. The problem is Trump's divisive, inflammatory rhetoric that makes all Filipinos into suspected terrorists. 

And that's about it. Reyes ended with another attempt to charm the crowd--most of which had emptied out by then. He did a rap song!  

He didn't stay for questions.
 

LONNIE WONG'S MOMENT
Given all that, for me, the highlight of the AAJA convention was the honoring of Lonnie Wong for lifetime achievement. 

Lonnie Wong? 

Who he?
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He stayed put and covered your basic local news in Sacramento, California for 30 years.

He's not famous. But he does yeoman's work and shows up every day at KTXL in Sacramento, an independent station that struggled along until FOX became a real fourth network.

Thirty years in one place.

In my news career, I've never been in one place more than eight years.

Lonnie is a throwback. He's a guy who hasn't let his ego get in the way in the fake showbiz world of TV News. Throughout all the changes in media, he's hung on, and reported the stories where he lived. You never hear Lonnie complain about not getting a shot at anchoring, or getting the big story. 

But he's still there in Sacramento, and viewers notice. He's part of the community he has covered for a long time. As an older veteran, he represents wisdom.

That, unfortunately, isn't what local media outlets are looking for these days. Too often, older reporters are shipped off, early-retired, or just fired. They're replaced with younger, cheaper, less knowledgeable talent who look at a mid-market like Sacramento as the stop before the big time glamour markets of TV News.

They're journos out of touch with their communities. Out of touch with their ethnicity. Out only for themselves.

There's a lot of that in the world of journalism these days, which makes the Lonnie Wong story a refreshing anomaly, worthy of an AAJA lifetime achievement award. 

Such an award for life experience connotes wisdom, something too often in short supply in media and politics.


CLINTON'S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Enter President Bill Clinton at the presidential town hall in Las Vegas.

Hillary sent Bill, and it was a good choice. He was the star of the entire event and got the loudest cheers. 

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For many Asian Americans, Bill Clinton represents an historical sea change in politics when he won in 1992, ending a solid block of Republican leadership since Reagan in 1981. 

Seeing Clinton on the stage Friday reminded me of the time I covered the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York. Back then, I recall how he talked about "unity and community" and bringing the country together.

The same topics came up again this time, accompanied by a wise observation by Clinton of the state of American politics.

"A democracy only really works when people talk to each other," Clinton said. "When I think of my dream America in the 21st Century, it includes an inclusive society where we value our diversity and we make so much progress in the last several years. As a nation, we made so much progress in the last several years. We're clearly less racist, sexist, homophobic than we used to be. Not withstanding some unfortunate incidents in this campaign, most Americans are not bigoted against other people because of their religion.

"But we do have one remaining problem, and you see how we self-select everything from the television talk shows we watch to the neighborhoods we live in. We don't seem to want to be around anybody who disagrees with us anymore. And that makes it hard to have a democracy."

It was a call for understanding, common ground, and the need to work out our differences. It is, after all, how governance works. Through a sense of compromise for the good. More "us," less "them."

Clinton said if you read the Constitution, it might well have been subtitled, "Let's make a deal," referring to all the different branches of government that are in play.

"We were set up as a country that could never become a dictatorship," he said. "[One that] could not change and adapt to changing times and meet future needs unless we were comfortable listening to each other and speaking to each other. And discussing with others and, yes, arguing with each other."

These days, people don't just like to argue. Politics has become a blood sport, where hate is a driver that divides and conquers.

But look who has survived so far. 

Bill and Hillary. 

On stump speech mode, he outlined Hillary's familiar initiatives on small business loans, comprehensive immigration reform, and no-cost college plans. It was more of the "stronger together" rhetoric we've heard to date.

But he ended his speech with the high stakes of this campaign and what a new Clinton era could bring.

"I never dreamed when this election started that by this point I'd do anything more than argue about who's got the best trade plan, who's got the best investment plan," Clinton said. "This is about what kind of country we're going to be. About whether you, and everybody else who lives here, can feel at home here in America. If you can, I believe the chances are far better than 50-50 that the next 30 years will be a period of enormous prosperity, broadly shared, rising mobility, declining inequality." 

Clinton couldn't get out of the room without one question on emails--not his, but Hillary's.

Trust is the No.1 thing people mention when they talk of their dislike for Hillary. 

Bill Clinton said there was a double standard for her versus other career diplomats, compounded by the fact that the State Department and security agencies had very different classification systems. 

"These things were never resolved," Bill Clinton said. "It's too complicated to explain to people, but basically, do you really believe there are 300 career diplomats--because that's how many people [were on] these emails--all of them are careless with the national security? Do you believe that? Forget about Hillary. Forget about her, is that conceivable? If it were that important, shouldn't we have all heard about that earlier? 

Bill Clinton said the email situation was simply not a cause for distrust.

"If it were a cause for distrust, it is inconceivable that all these prominent national security people active in all these other administrations, including Republicans, would endorse her,"
he said as the crowd applauded. 

Not sure if that satisfied Hillary haters. 

But Bill Clinton left the stage to cheers, the star of the show.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: The Donald trumps insult to Filipinos with veiled assassination threat
August 10, 2016 2:14 PM

Just when you thought it was bad enough he upset Filipinos worldwide--including the 4 million Asian Americans of Filipino descent in the U.S.--Donald Trump couldn't leave well enough alone. 

Or maybe to erase the memory of denigrating all Filipinos as terrorists in a previous news cycle, Trump felt he had to come up with a brand new inanity.

What else could he do but hurl another Hillary slur?

If you haven't heard, Trump thinks a veiled threat of assassination is just fun and games in the realm of politics.

But like kidding with a TSA screener about how you're carrying a big bomb between your legs, it's best not done.

Especially if you want to set a good example as the potential leader of the free world.

Trump continues to give us a preview of what the political horror show known as a Trump presidency might look like. Instead of inspiring confidence, he's letting us know that one of his chief attributes is his alarming recklessness. 

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It came up during a stump speech in North Carolina on Tuesday, when he speculated about how to stop Hillary Clinton from making a SCOTUS appointment who would be tough on gun laws. 

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," Trump said, according to a report in The New York Times. "Although the Second Amendment people--maybe there is, I don't know."

We all know Trump wasn't really thinking about someone doing extensive lobbying, or anything like that. 

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Trump's statement was what you might call a "double-gun-tendre."

Why talk specifically about the NRA or something real (like the coincidental major donation he just got from the NRA) when he can be ambiguous and have it both ways. Trump dominates the news and keeps people guessing. He drives his loving anti-Clinton base wild, but his critics wilder.
 
And it leaves the rest of us wondering if he has what it takes to lead our country.
 
For someone who wants his name to exude elite luxury, Trump's political brand has come to be known as base, coarse, and covered in mud. 

In a word, ugly.

The Trump gun comments about Clinton came after last week's stunning remarks, when Trump warned that immigrants, including those from the Philippines, represent a pool of recruitment for Islamist terror groups and should be vetted heavily before allowed into the U.S.

It provoked one Philippine legislator to propose that Trump be permanently banned from entering the Philippines.

According to a Philippine law dating back to 2001, the country's Bureau of Immigration and Deportation can exclude or deny entry to the country anyone who has shown disrespect to the Filipino people.

Congressman Jose Salceda's Resolution 143 criticized Trump and said The Donald should be "banned for being inimical" to the Philippines' "national interest."

Said Salceda in his resolution: "There is no feasible interest or reasonable justification to the wholesale labeling of Filipinos as coming from a terrorist state."

Salceda said the remarks have "aggravated the shame" on Filipinos, Filipino Muslims, including Filipino migrants and overseas workers.

Salceda called Trump's remarks "unprompted and undeserved," typical of the "unrepentantly negative, dysfunctionally nativist, aggressively adversarial attitude towards immigrants in the USA where he aspires to be the leader, and thus could be in position to influence policies affecting" the second largest group of Asian Americans in the U.S.

Add to that the long history of the Philippines as a former colony and as a small but important ally during the Gulf War, and Trump's harsh comments sound downright ignorant.

But Trump just doesn't seem to care. And why should he care about anything, so long as the money flow to him doesn't stop.

Trump's already building his brand in the Philippines and has licensed his name to a new Trump Tower in the Makati business section of Manila. The property is more than 94 percent pre-sold.
 
It's hard to imagine how Filipinos would take to living in a high-rise building named after such a newly tagged low-rise villain.
 
Then again, the country is currently rehabbing the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who raped and pillaged the Philippines far worse than candidate Trump. 

But at least Marcos was Filipino.

Trump would have to show up at a Filipino barrio fiesta like the one in Stockton, Calif. this month, dressed in one of those see-through-shirts (barong tagalog) and subjecting his ankles to the bamboo pole dance (the tinikling) with his yellow-orange hair flopping all around.

Even then, for most Filipinos, that still wouldn't be penance enough for the inflammatory comments he's made.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.


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Emil Guillermo: Asian Americans, people of color not taken for granted by Clinton, but she isn't focused on us
August 5, 2016 10:36 PM

On Friday, Hillary Clinton was at a joint meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists and mentioned a South Asian American, Khizr Khan.

The Constitution-toting Khan has become democracy's "model minority supreme."

The South Asian immigrant, Harvard-trained lawyer, whose son was a Gold Star hero, may have singlehandedly changed the post-convention media climate with his DNC punchout of Trump. He provoked The Donald more than Hillary's acceptance speech.


At NABJ/NAHJ, Clinton mentioned Trump's reaction to Khan, but also reminded us she has broader concerns when it comes to beating Trump.

"I will stand up and call him out on that," Clinton told the D.C. audience. "But I will also keep reaching out to Americans of all races and ethnicities, wherever they live, to tell them I am not going to forget about them after this election. I am going to work my heart out to help every single person have a better job with a rising income, and make sure their kids get a good education and everything else I think they are owed in America."

Clinton knows she can't stop reaching out to Trump's mostly white supporters, even though the poll numbers for Trump are dropping.

The new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of 800 registered voters had Clinton up 9 points over Trump, 47 percent to 38 percent. A McClatchy/Marist poll had Trump down by 15. A Fox poll had Trump down by 10.

But the poll is taken among registered voters. Those who care. Likely voters.

Those aren't the typical Trump supporters.

The Trump voters are democracy's wild card. They're the ones who are mad as hell and willing to vote against their best interest. It's the monkey wrench vote. 

They are the voters who don't normally participate in elections. They think government is crap. And Hillary's a liar. They love all the off-the-cuff scuds Trump throws into the political air.

Trump voters are the people democracy has forgotten. Generally speaking, they are the non-college educated who haven't registered, haven't voted. But they are just mad enough to vote now.

That's the Trump revolution.

If pollsters are fishing for numbers among likely registered voters, sure, Trump is tanking. But it's the wrong fishing hole.

According to a New York Times estimate, there are 88 million eligible adults who do not vote at all.

Add to that another 73 million who didn't vote in the primaries, but may be attracted by the train wreck that is Trump to cast a "joke" vote.

Those are the potential voters who will make the difference in this cynical election year.

"Some of the appeal is xenophobic and racist and misogynist and offensive, we have to acknowledge that," Clinton said in a Q&A session after her NABJ/NAHJ talk. "But let's not lose sight of the real pain that many Americans are feeling because the economy has left them behind."

Clinton continued: "I want to be the president for all Americans. I want to lift up and give everybody a chance to pursue their dreams, and that means people who are supporting him."

It doesn't mean she's taking people of color for granted, mind you. She said as much to a Latino journalist.

"I don't take any voter for granted," said Clinton.

But we'll see if Clinton shows up and speaks at the Asian American Journalists Association, which has a separate meeting coming up on Friday, Aug. 12 in Las Vegas.

In previous years, there was a journalism confab called Unity that brought all the different minority groups together every four years. No more. No one could agree on how to keep it afloat, and Unity died.

So it's odd that in 2016, here's Clinton talking about unity. But there's no Unity. And it's still unclear if she's coming to Vegas.

Like the black and Latino vote, Asian Americans may go with Clinton. In 2012, Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote. 

What will happen in 2016?

A recent National Asian American Survey found shows the most conservative Asian Americans, Filipinos and Vietnamese, are distrustful of Clinton and aren't giving her a second look. They remain holdouts for Trump. 

"Trump has said so many stupid things during the primaries," one Filipino Republican told me this week, indicating a belief in Trump's immunity to stupidity. "I am unhappy with this Khan scenario," he added. "But it's still not enough for me to switch to Hillary." 

That voter may ultimately switch, after Trump recently included the Philippines among the countries where he'd restrict immigration. But the Trump Asian Americans are small in number and aren't the problem like the poll-spoilers--the non-voters who find themselves drawn by Trump, come out of nowhere and suddenly care.

They're the monkey wrench voters of 2016 Clinton needs to worry about.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.



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Emil Guillermo: Hillary had me at Rodham, as she stakes out the new middle
July 29, 2016 11:45 AM

She's not using the middle name anymore. Maybe that's because it's a new era. She's her own woman now.

But Hillary always had me at Rodham. Her father, Hugh, was a Navy chief petty officer who became a salesman, then started his own drapery business out of Chicago. And on the Howell side, her mother, Dorothy, was abandoned as a teen and later worked as a housekeeper.

Whatever you think of the woman Hillary Clinton has become (and everyone, it seems, has an opinion), she wasn't a patrician, born of wealth. She didn't get to Wellesley and Yale Law School because of connections. And then she married a guy from Hope, Arkansas. White privilege? She understood that to mean public service, not make a buck. Her values are straight out of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist faith: 

"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can."

It's the "Si se puede" for white people.

But I heard it the first time from my Filipino Sunday school teacher at a Wesley Methodist Church near San Francisco's Japantown.

I heard it again during her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Hillary showed plenty of policy and attack, and a lot of throat clearing from the podium. It was a speech that set off so many responsive chords in me. All positive. All American. All part of the story you'd expect from the first woman to be president of the United States of America. 

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Inclusive. Forward thinking. Positive. Patriotic. Strong. 

Sure, the gender thing made it incrementally historic. First woman nominated, not yet elected.
But how many times did many of us discount the importance of all that during the primary campaign?

I know many people who were Bernie supporters, and frankly, I had my tilt. But those who know my columns over the years know I fell for Hillary much harder in 2008, thinking that was her time.

But then it wasn't.

I remember going to a Clinton party in Denver during the 2008 convention. I was with a large number of Asian Americans who were crying in their beer.

This time, they were elated.

"I had hoped Hillary would decide to run in 2016 but was not sure," said Irene Bueno, who runs a political affairs firm in D.C. "There were times I did not think she would run for President again. Last night was a very poignant moment for me. It was a culmination of many years working in support of Hillary and finally a recognition that regardless of your race or gender, anyone can be President of the United States."

That got to me. But this time, I admit Sanders' appeal just seemed more important. His Goldman Sachs jabs at Hillary made the point. Mega-money in politics combined with the economic inequality in society was making our democracy a joke. That's some appeal.

That's why the most emotional moment for me during the whole Democratic convention was not Hillary's great speech. 

It was really Bernie's concession. Not his speech from the podium, but rather his emotional remarks after the roll call on Tuesday. It was the simple act of declaring the suspension of rules to allow for Hillary to be the nominee by acclamation.  

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That was as graceful and as magnanimous as it gets in American politics.

And that was worth a tear or two.

In this gridlocked, extremely partisan, take-no-prisoners, negativity-infused modern day of big money politics, when Sen. Ted Cruz couldn't even endorse Donald Trump at the Republican convention, it was like a new day had come in politics. 

We can still fight and bicker, and then after some platform concessions, vow to work together toward a better future.

That Bernie moment enabled Hillary's speech on Thursday.

And she hit all the points, invoking FDR rather than Darth Vader.

It was really an old-style traditional Democratic speech. She spoke of the kind of infrastructure spending that creates jobs, the kind of thing that marked Bill Clinton's years. All the economic issues. Minimum wage. Equal pay. And big money out of politics.

So she appealed to Bernie and his supporters. And then she did her Trump Dump.

Marco Rubio talked about Trump's small hands and the GOP nominee started talking about his manhood. No class.

This was class--Hillary quoting Jackie Kennedy talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis. "She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started--not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men--the ones moved by fear and pride."

But she made the stark contrast just a few seconds earlier. 

"Imagine, if you dare, imagine, imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis," Hillary said of Trump. "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."

It's the biggest single scary issue of a Trump presidency. Trump's oversized cartoon hair as built-in mushroom cloud.

If you saw both Hillary's and The Donald's speeches, it's hard not to find Hillary more alluring from all sides.

She was centrist and inclusive. 

If you're a Bernie supporter and you think she's too far to the right, well, she's just defined a new big middle.

Because if there are Republicans who find it distasteful to hold their nose and vote for Trump, now they can dump the nose clip.
 
It's hard to imagine a winning campaign slogan like, "We smell less bad," but that may have to do if Hillary expects to woo a few moderate Republicans.

In my previous column, I pointed out that since both candidates had such high negatives, this would be a different kind of campaign.

But I think Hillary did it with that speech. If you were a moderate Republican watching this speech after the Republican convention last week, I think you'd have to tell The Donald, "You're fired."

The gender thing is a big deal too. But Hillary puts it in perspective.

When Hillary said, "I'm happy for boys and men, too--because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone," it was inclusive.

More important than gender is another barrier that prevents things from getting done in politics--the partisan barrier.

"Even more important than the history we make tonight is the history we will write together in the years ahead," Hillary said.
 
It's the sound of a new governing middle. It's a Democratic Party, with some transplants from the right, infused with an essence of Sanders. And all of it furthered by the ineptitude and fear-mongering of a Republican substandard bearer. 

With a little more than 100 days left, an historic path to victory seems to be taking shape. And all of it in the name of democracy, led for the first time by the vision of a strong woman.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at 
www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.



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