By Beting Laygo Dolor, Contributing Editor
Friendships and family ties have been strained, even broken, when Filipinos and Filipino-Americans took opposite sides in the one-on-one battle between President Donald Trump and former vice-president – now President-elect — Joe Biden.
Even after Biden reached 270 Electoral College votes, verbal and written jousting continued from the two sides.
Nowhere was this more apparent than in the mostly friendly but sometimes ugly exchanges between longtime buddies, men who have known each other for more than five decades.
Ten high school graduates of an exclusive boy’s school in Manila had migrated to the US, mostly in California. There, they maintained their friendship even after they graduated back in 1971, making most of them 66 or 67 years old.
Of the group, six were registered Democrats and four were with the GOP. One of the latter, however, had been a Democrat from the Clinton years all the way to the Obama period, only switching sides when Trump became the official bet of the Republican Party.
Social media became the battleground in the exchanges, with Facebook being the preferred site.
One of the seniors who is based in Arizona said he was aware of the character faults of Trump but would vote for him anyway “because he produces results.” He echoed the 45th president’s claim that under his watch, the US economy would reach peaks it had never attained.
The Democrat-leaning men countered by saying that Trump merely inherited an economy that was heading upwards, no matter who occupied the Oval Office.
“Why does he keep taking credit for the things Obama did?” was an oft-asked question.
All the Democrats said they could not accept four more years of the “immature” and “despicable” Donald Trump.
A San Francisco-based newsman said he was stunned when his LA-based sister said she and her husband would vote for Trump in 2016. But this year, her entire family including their children who reached voting age in the last four years said they were voting for Biden.
The change of heart was somewhat difficult, the sister said. As devout Catholics, they were all necessarily pro-life.
“But we could no longer stomach Trump’s non-stop insults to everyone who disagree with his views,” she said.
Her husband’s family, all based in LA, still planned on voting for Trump because they could not vote for Biden’s pro-choice stance. This, despite Biden being a practicing Catholic like them.
Religion or Roe vs. Wade was not an issue among the 10 old friends, whose insults to the two candidate grew progressively worse in the last few months of the campaign period.
Three of the four FilAm Republicans repeated the claim – eventually proven false – that Joe Biden’s son Hunter was involved in questionable business activities.
“Where’s your proof?” the Pinoy Democrats asked.
When finally Biden became the president-elect over the weekend, the mud-slinging continued.
“Donald Trump won,” said two of the four Republicans, while one said Biden’s victory was a tainted one. The fourth said he was sure that the 46th president would falter because he was not the leader that the 45th was.
The worst comment came from one Democrat who accused Filipinos and FilAms who voted for Trump as being “brown-skinned guys wishing to be white.”
About the only conciliatory statement coming from both sides was that it was “time to move on.” And while Trump is not expected to concede anytime soon, they all agreed that Biden will occupy the White House on January 20.
There will, however, be a re-match in 2024, said one.
Given the extended period of enmity that existed between them, it remains to be seen if the regular dinner and drinking sessions among the batchmates will be resumed any time soon.