Emil Guillermo: Democrats' resurrection at the home of the Rockettes, plus the trifecta of Easter, Cesar Chavez Day, and Trans Visibility Day

Image for Emil Guillermo: Democrats' resurrection at the home of the Rockettes, plus the trifecta of Easter, Cesar Chavez Day, and Trans Visibility Day

Democrats are hoping the buzz from that pre-Good Friday, star-studded Radio City Music Hall fundraiser lasts through a Good November.

Image by AALDEF

That would be some resurrection for President Biden, whose approval numbers are stuck in the 30s.But maybe the sight of Clinton, Obama, and Biden--three Democratic presidents lined up like political Rockettes kicking in the same direction--will remind voters what we need in a leader right now.

Sure, maybe one day we will see an Asian American in their ranks.

But for now, every day until November we will get a side-by-side comparison on the campaign trail.

It should be clear. We need someone wise. Not white. Just wise.

Someone who doesn’t understand the stakes will likely run our big nation into a standing bridge. Unfortunately, the tragedy in Baltimore makes it more than a metaphor. We know what can happen in real life when the wrong person is at the wheel.

Compare and contrast the three at Radio City with the current Republican nominee, who was speaking in Long Island about the need for law and order.

Yes, the man facing 91 criminal counts is talking about law and order.

Trump once said of the late Sen. John McCain, “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” (Extra hard Trumpy “C “on “captured.”)

To paraphrase the GOP’s standard bearer, I think all Americans should prefer a president who is wise. And definitely unindicted.


I got an email the other day labeled “Perfidious Trump.”

If you don’t know the term “perfidious,” don’t worry. Neither did I. I’m sure Trump doesn’t know what it means either. Let’s appeal to his ego and tell him it’s like a Greek god’s name, Prometheus.

But that may be America’s problem. If we don’t know what “perfidious” means, our country could very well elect Trump again.

The word means “deceitful and untrustworthy.”

It’s a $100 dollar SAT word for liar.

The root is “perfidy,” a term to describe the war crime of putting up a white flag indicating surrender and luring in your opponent, only to shoot them dead as they approach. It’s dirty. Immoral.

Americans were perfidious in the Philippines when during the war no one likes to talk about, the Philippine-American War, General Frederick Funston disguised American soldiers as prisoners of war. It was the bait to lure Emilio Aguinaldo, the Philippine leader of the first democracy in Asia and leader of the so-called “insurrectionists.” Funston captured Aguinaldo and American colonialism was underway.

The lesson? Sometimes Americans are perfidious. If only we knew the word, we’d wish we weren’t.


The consequence of Aguinaldo’s capture meant my father was born under the American flag. He plays a big part in my life story on the stage, “Emil Amok, Lost NPR Host, Wiley Filipino, Vegan Transdad.”

I’m coming to New York to tell my story. If you see it live, part of the show’s profits will benefit AALDEF. And if you are in California, Texas, Florida, the Philippines, etc. and can’t make it, you can buy a livestream ticket. Watch the show and then invite me to your town to perform it live.

One reviewer said the show “exposes America’s ugly colonization of the Philippines, along with other comical and often profound observations.” Which is to say there is fun in pain, and there will not be a test.


March 31st is Cesar Chavez Day, what would have been his 97th birthday.

But it’s also Easter Sunday, as well as International Trans Visibility Day.

I didn’t know that until this week.

It’s a trifecta of holidays. Celebrate the coincidence of all three at once.

For Cesar Chavez Day, Asian Americans in California and a handful of states get the day off on either Friday or Monday (sorry not in New York). It’s to honor the labor leader who helped merge labor rights, civil rights, and non-violent protest. (Just don’t forget to tip your hat to Larry Itliong too.)

Easter normally sends a throng back to church, despite 49 percent in America saying they don’t regularly attend religious services. It’s the one day where people admit to their hypocrisies publicly. So Happy Easter. Go easy on the communion wine.

But the third face of March 31st is worth pondering, too.

Trans visibility. Do we see them?

If we do then you know trans people are the most vilified and othered amongst us. And by whom in particular? Those who took away a woman's right to abortion, the Christian Theocrats.

The Christian right has trans people right up there with book banning, diversity, and critical race theory as enemies of our democracy. It makes it dangerous to be a trans person in America, in the same way it has been dangerous to be Asian or a person of color in this great country.

In my show, I talk about being a transdad (purposefully my one-word coinage) as part of my historical legacy.

Please come see the show!

The first show is on Friday, April 5th. But on Wednesday morning, April 3rd on The Red Steps at 9 am behind the George M. Cohen statue, my Emil Amok show poster will be featured along with the other shows being presented at the New York City Fringe.

Image by AALDEF

Some may wonder why I as a career journalist have taken to the stage at this point in time. Just look at the Radio City Hall event. The person interviewing the three presidents wasn’t a journalist, it was a comedian who plays one, Steve Colbert.The emcee wasn’t a news person, it was Mindy Kaling.

News can be a straight jacket. In Emil Amok, I take it off.

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NOTE: I will talk about this column and other matters on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” my AAPI micro-talk show. Live @2p Pacific. Livestream on Facebook; my YouTube channel; and Twitter. Catch the recordings on I got it working again!