Emil Guillermo: Donald Trump's new heights of megalomania
July 22, 2016 1:18 PM

Considering the evangelical tilt of the GOP, the only time Donald Trump came close to talking about God in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention was when he talked about himself.  

"I am your voice," Trump declared to the American people.

If you ever wanted to speak in tongues, Trump's offering.
 
And that's as close to godliness as it got on the last night of the convention, this week's megaphone for Trump's megalomania.

Need a definition for that malady? Look at a picture of him delivering  that acceptance speech. 

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After breaking with tradition and appearing every night at the convention of the GOP faithful, Trump's sales pitch to the rest of the nation began in earnest with that last night face-to-face close.

The Donald doesn't just want your vote.

He wants to gentrify you. 

He's like a developer eyeing a teardown. He doesn't want to be you. He just wants to be your voice. It's executive ventriloquism, and you get to be the dummy.

Trump isn't really interested in governing. Of course, he's the least qualified to govern. That's "for the people, by the people," public sector stuff. 

Trump's no boring government worker, after all. He's above all that, a private sector guy driven by profits (when he doesn't use the bankruptcy laws). He's all about making deals. And here's his biggest: He wants to come on down, be our voice to help those of us "neglected, ignored, and abandoned," be part of Trump's World.

It's Trump's message. He's rich. You're not. He's fearless. You're not. He's the self-proclaimed God's gift to brand-name "democracy." He's the CEO, a semi-benevolent bully who likes to play by his own rules.

"I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people who cannot defend themselves," he said to a full nine seconds of conventioneer cheering. 

"Nobody knows the system better than me," Trump said, pausing to another nine-second cheer. 

"Which is why I alone can fix it!" Another ten-second cheer.
 
"I alone"? I tweeted that out as soon as I heard it. 

I didn't think automatically of "dictator" or "authoritarian." 

Because the speech was sprinkled with enough passable good will. He expressed concern for the youth in our inner-cities and their lousy education; for the blue collar workers, hurt by all the bad trade deals that a businessman like him wants to fix.

And all of it said with a typical lack of Trumpian humility, which is really why he needs his own country.  Preferably not ours. 

But on Thursday night, in "always be closing" fashion, Mr. Art of the Deal continued to close.

And his best close revolves around fear.

Trump took advantage of the coincidental rash of violence on both international and domestic fronts, and packaged them into a powerful law and order theme. 

But then he went a step further and linked the recent police shootings with immigration. 

Trump said: "The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens."

What do the two have to do with each other? Nothing really.

But he continues: "The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources. One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law."

With the shameless tug of the heart, a call to emotion, the crime wave is suddenly due to illegal immigration. 

That's the kind of racist illogic we're dealing with.

As Trump said, "One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders."

Poetry is not his strong suit.

Trump then bundled it up in a Hillary wrapper and said, "Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration and mass lawlessness." 

Oh, and did you know she's responsible for ISIS, too?

Reasonable people may be quick to dismiss Trump's rhetoric. But then who thought Trump would have any credibility left in the tank after all that racist birther nonsense about President Obama?

Trump is refueling, using Hillaryphobia and xenophobia, and telling us he's is the only way out of this "rigged system" that has kept you down.

The guy is a loon. 

But apparently he's not alone.

There's a lot of smart people who are saying, "I'm with him."

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A young Asian American, Minyet Hua Palich, 32, from Columbus, Ohio, and an active member of the state's Republican Party Central Committee, was at the convention. 

She texted me her reaction to Trump after the speech: "A man of the people!!! He doesn't need to do this, but he's frustrated just like most of us are from the past 8 years & politics as usual. It was a very well rounded speech! He's with us!!!"

This is the political Rashomon. Same speech, different views, almost as long as Kurosawa's classic.

When I heard Trump link immigration and terrorism by saying, "We don't want them in our country," it rekindled the fear-mongering hate rhetoric of the 1930s that led to the exclusion of Filipinos to America.

Palich heard something different. But then she would. She came to America in 1994 as a 10-year old political refugee. Her father, a South Vietnamese Army official, had spent seven years in a concentration camp. A special deal got her to the U.S. during the Reagan years. Government helped her there, and she admitted to me she wasn't like other refugees. She's been fortunate.
 
But that doesn't stop her from being suspicious of any potential overstepping of government, even in an America that is so far from communism.

She knows, we're not doing so bad in America.

America is still the country with a growing economy, a stock market that keeps rising, and unemployment below five percent. 

But doom and gloom sells, and Trump knows that. He's sold Minyet. 

Before the convention, she admitted to me that Trump was near her bottom choice (Paul Ryan is her fave.) She's in the small government, low taxes, "anyone but Hillary" camp.
 
And now after the speech, she's on board the Trump train.
  
"The party isn't so bad," she texted. "We do care about people; We just don't want the government to make us and control it (sic)."
 
She says she'll be working for Trump in the state he must win, Ohio. 

I'd feel a whole lot better if Trump had more of Melania in his speech. And not just the cribbed Michelle Obama parts.

There was a bit of rhetoric I call the "litany," that I only heard Melania say in her otherwise maligned speech. 

"There's a great deal of love in the Trump family. That is our bond and that is our strength," Melania Trump said on Monday.

And then she said what The Donald didn't say.

"Donald intends to represent all people, not just some of the people," she said. "That includes Christians, and Jews, and Muslims. It includes Hispanics, and African Americans and Asians, and the poor and the middle class."

Nothing in The Donald speech was so clearly inclusive, full of love. His was all hate and fear. And him, him, him.

There was a shout out to LGBTQ people, which I'm sure had a few evangelicals choking on their angel wings. 

But Donald's political gender is fluid. He picked anti-same sex marriage, pro-trade Mike Pence, the former Democrat. Now Trump is his voice. And the undocumented and Hillary are the root of all evil. 

That's what the voice says today.

"We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore," Trump said in his speech. 

So in the final days, he's going to let it fly. And we'll end up with more speech lines like this: "We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order."

Mouth it and let him be your voice?

In a democracy, we don't give that up so easily.

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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: My interview with an Asian American for Trump
July 15, 2016 1:48 PM

Dr. Toribio Flores is an ear, nose, and throat guy at the Cleveland Clinic. And he's going to the Republican Convention.

"I'm not afraid," he tells me. 

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But I know most of America is.

We've arrived at the point many of us have been dreading. The GOP is all set to be re-branded Trump's Old Party, the TOP.

So why does it feel like American democracy has hit rock bottom?

By the time we get to this point in an election year, we all should be soaring with the hopes and aspirations of the triumphant leader of our respective parties. Remember hope and change? 

This year, however, our leaders seem so flawed-- instead of flying high, we're all mired knee deep in the dung of our choice. 

I've covered politics and been to a few conventions since the 1980s, and while the idea of "holding your nose" while voting is not a new concept, there is a sense that in this cycle, we find ourselves close to asphyxiating more than ever before.

According to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, more than a third of Republicans say they're disappointed with Donald the Disruptor. And for the Democrats, more than a quarter say they are disappointed with Hillary Clinton, with another seven percent saying they are upset. 

"In a development not seen in any modern presidential contest, more than half of all voters hold unfavorable views of the two major party candidates and large majorities say neither is honest nor trustworthy," the Times continued. "Only half of voters say Mrs. Clinton is prepared to be president, while an astonishing two-thirds say that Mr. Trump is not ready for the job--including four in 10 Republicans."

This is not exactly what one would call a ringing endorsement for either of our major political standard bearers.

What's a believer in our American system supposed to do?

Maybe you need one of these this year to survive the political year: 

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Don't go voting without one?

That's when I knew I had to call Dr. Flores, my ear, nose, and throat acquaintance at the Cleveland Clinic. 

He has access to industrial strength nose clamps. 

Flores, 65, a leader in the Filipino American community in the Cleveland area--and a mad rhumba dancer--wishes he could be as passionate on the convention floor as he can be on the dance floor.

But his attitude reflects the polls. This is not the year for political passion unless your passion coincides with Trump's vanity. 

"I really don't like him," said Flores, who during the primary season backed his home state's leader, John Kasich. 

For Flores, Trump was near the bottom of the pack. That wasn't to be the case for the rest of GOP voters, and now even the establishment is falling into line, and so is Flores, reluctantly.

"He's not an ideal candidate," said Flores about the man he is voting for, who then explained his hesitancy. "I don't think he's a conservative. He's acting conservative because he wants the Republican nomination."

So why not vote for Hillary Clinton?

"I can't trust Hillary," Flores said. "I think she's a very dishonest person."

As if Trump in his own myriad of misstatements is a paragon of trust.

But again, as the polls suggest, the outcome of the email scandal has hurt Hillary. And Asian American Republicans like Flores can't seem to find a way to forgive her.

"It bothers me the FBI and the attorney general won't prosecute," said Flores. I think the electorate will treat her harshly for what she's done."

And that's the mental calculation among many Republicans these days. Trump's not great, but he's no Hillary. 

Funny how Democrats are saying just the opposite.

Still, it's strange to hear someone like Flores, a standard immigrant success story, voting for Trump. The Times/CBS poll also showed Hillary as the one who overwhelmingly scored highest on doing a better job with race relations--60 percent to Trump, 29 percent.

But maybe that depends on how much money you have, or if you even care.

Flores said the Filipinos in Cleveland were upper middle class and above. They're successful aspirants with politics to match. Flores said 65 percent of the Filipinos in the Cleveland area were Republican. 

Flores calls himself a fiscal conservative and a good Catholic who is strong on religious values. His success in America defines his political profile. He's for low taxes and a small, efficient government that is rid of waste and inefficiency.

It's the political value system of an immigrant who came with nothing, and thinks you can make it too, if you work hard.

Flores came to America during the Marcos dictatorship as a Philippine-trained doctor. He took all the tests he needed to qualify to practice here and started out doing medicine in the little towns of Pennsylvania. America has been his land of opportunity.

And if you doubt his compassion, he'll say he's ready to provide care and even perform surgery for free to all who are truly in need. 

When he arrived in the U.S., Flores said he was actually a die-hard fan of the American Camelot story, the Kennedys. Over time, he's shifted his views. But he's still managed to preserve a fairy tale. Flores honestly believes he's seen little discrimination in America. So little, in fact, that for him, race doesn't even come into play in the election.

But democracy this year is imperfect. And even a Trump-voting Asian American Republican ear-nose-throat doc realizes that casting a ballot will require a nose clip.

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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: On John Leguizamo, colonial mentality, and Dallas
July 8, 2016 7:26 PM

When Dallas happened, I was already upset by the shootings all over the world this summer, from Bangladesh to Baton Rouge and Minnesota. But I was in Berkeley, Calif., where I was hoping a little art would help.

Berkeley already puts me in another world. But I was in yet another subworld because I was sitting in an American regional theater way off Broadway, the Berkeley Rep, watching a live theatrical performance. No video shield, no digital connect. This was real, human to human.

The way life's supposed to be.

Up on stage live, alone with the audience, armed only with wit and style, was the actor John Leguizamo, making history right: getting after Cortez for slaying Montezuma; excoriating Pizarro for devastating the Incans; clowning Columbus for thinking he was in India. Leguizamo didn't cover Magellan, who was boating in Asia until the Filipinos--the world's only Aspanics (though some may prefer Astinos)--took care of him.

But the focus of Leguizamo's show is the truth-side up history of the colonization of the Americas. Although Magellan may get a pass, "Latino History for Morons," now at the Berkeley Rep, is worth seeing as it works its way east to NYC.

As a journalist, I've interviewed Leguizamo before, and I've also seen him pop out of my video screen (hell, explode is more like it). But I've never seen him perform live. Now that I have been performing my own solo show, "All Pucked Up: The Short History of the American Filipino," it's definitely a treat to see Leguizamo's virtuosity used to defile the oppressor.

He powerfully commanded the stage in an energetic, physical performance that exposed all the colonial misdeeds that screwed up the Americas some 500 years ago. 

And he undoes all that history in less than 90 minutes. 

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But then Leguizamo's solo show ended, and so did the idealized world of my imagination.

Micah Xavier Johnson's solo world took over. 

The "us" versus "them" world. The colonial world, where violence and death is often the only answer. 

The arts would be my oasis for only so long. Life disrupted my time with the arts. 

It was back to reality. Back to the news.

Even Leguizamo had to pause.


BIG D
As I drove back home from Berkeley to the Texas part of California, I was riveted to the live audio of MSNBC through Sirius XM. 

I just couldn't believe it was still unfolding deep into the night. Every bit of downtown sidewalk they talked about I knew first hand. From Dealey Plaza to Main Street, to El Centro College. 

I could remember it all from my time as a somewhat green, curly-haired TV reporter in Dallas, my office at Union Station at the foot of downtown. 

Truth is, I loved Dallas. I made some good friends at the time and worked with good people, including CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. 

And even though people often mistook me for Latino--asking me to join LULAC and then wondering WTF was a Filipino--it was a great place to be a young reporter. 

A lot of firsts for me. My first 5-alarm fire. My first rape-murder confession. My first stalker (stalking me). My first big-time prison riot. My first mass murderer (Alvin Lee King, five victims, June 1980. He went into a church in E. Texas, declared, "This is war," then opened fire with his AR-15.)

There were some pleasant firsts too. But Big D always meant Big news stories.

I know what I was like covering them as a 25-year-old, the same age as Micah Xavier Johnson, the former Army reservist who spent a year in Afghanistan, the man now called the lone shooter in his own big story.

On Thursday, Johnson told the police he was mad about Black Lives Matter, mad at the police, and wanted to shoot at whites.

And then he fought the "us" versus "them" colonial battle with guns and bullets.

That's not the way to solve all the societal ills we're seeing now.

It may be necessary to start with a basic understanding of policing.

The police aren't Cortez coming in to rape, pillage, and conquer.

It only looks like that sometimes, especially these days in places like Oakland.

Besides Dallas, I lived in other communities, both big and small. When I lived in small suburban towns that were 80 percent white, the stereotype was built-in. He who looks like he doesn't belong is the bad guy.

I used to get stopped quite a bit and asked "What are you doing here?"

Uh, I live here.

But police in those small towns often act like private security. Unless they know the communities they police, they have no imagination. They resort to stereotype.

It makes for lousy policing. Until they know you.

Urban cops should take the time to know their beat. But often they're too busy. 

So if the police don't know the people in their community, guess what?

You end up with a lot of mistakes in policing that end up feeding fear within communities.

And here's a wakeup call to Asian Americans. Don't think you're going to get a pass just because you're Asian.

I've developed empathy because on the Asian American Yellow-Brown scale, I'm not often mistaken for white.

And I know how non-whites are treated.

A Japanese American friend of mine told me recently that when stopped while driving, he always keeps his hands visible, so there's no question.

I first heard that from an African American friend, two years ago when Ferguson erupted.

I was in Washington, DC and my friend told me one of the first lessons of survival passed on by his father. Essentially, it was to keep your driver's license in view and accessible so you don't have to reach for your pockets. 

Otherwise you can be killed.

It's kept him alive. And in dreadlocks.

The sad thing about Dallas is that the march was winding down. People were hugging cops and celebrating a peaceful march.

There was joy in being able to vent and let off steam, to use anger in a productive way to show a community's ire, peacefully. It was a community working toward progress.

And then it was all destroyed when Micah Xavier Johnson thought he was in an old-style colonial battle.

Of all the politicos, Attorney General Loretta Lynch emerged as the nation's healer. 

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"[T]he answer must not be violence, the answer is never violence," she said in her news statement. "Rather, the answer must be action: calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined. We must continue to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law...We must reject easy impulses of bitterness and rancor and embrace the difficult work of finding a path forward together."

Politicial rhetoric is often cheap. But Lynch got emotional.

"[W]e must remind ourselves that we are all Americans--and that, as Americans, we share not just a common land, but a common life. Not just a common goal, but a common heart and soul," Lynch said. " I implore you not to let this week precipitate  a new normal in this county, I ask you to turn to each other not against each other as we move forward. Let us support one another. Let us help heal one another. And I urge you to remember, today and every day, that we are one nation, one people, and we stand together."

OK, I'm in. But if it doesn't work, art can be an answer, when the real world seems to be spinning out of control. 

I'd rather see Leguizamo again. He made me laugh and lets me get square with the colonizers like Cortez and Pizarro.

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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: A bombastic July 4th is needed to drown the sorrow of our Summer of Terror
July 2, 2016 7:13 PM

I hope you have a bang up July Fourth. 

Our country and the world could use a good explosive, safe, and sane display of freedom and liberty.

We've had too much of the opposite, the stifling, intimidating, freedom-robbing violence that puts all of us, and the world, on edge.

From Orlando, Florida, to Istanbul, Turkey, to Dhaka, Bangladesh, the news of another deadly attack has marred what should otherwise be a period of sunny relaxation.

And suddenly, it's the summer of terror.

I had taken a slight respite from the news when the headlines struck. An upscale cafe in Dhaka during Ramadan is stormed by gunmen, reportedly to be from the Islamic State. Thirty-five hostages were taken, but after an overnight standoff, 20 are found dead.

It was Saturday when the tragedy really sunk in. 

Three of the dead were young students studying in America. 

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From L to R: Tarishi Jain, Abinta Kabir, Faraaz Hossain (photos via UC-Berkeley and Facebook)

Tarushi Jain, 19, was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. That hit close to home. My son is a student there and would love to go abroad. But he's working at a museum this summer protecting art. Jain's trip wasn't supposed to be any more dangerous than that, and a lot more fun. She was visiting her father, a businessman in the garment trade. 

Now world events have claimed her life.

Abinta Kabir, a sophomore at Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, was also killed, according to a report by NBC News. Kabir lived in Miami and was visiting family in Dhaka.

Emory University identified a second student: Faraaz Hossain, from Dhaka. He graduated from Emory's campus in Oxford and was enrolled in Emory's business school.

Three students who lived in America.

And yet I haven't seen the outpouring of love and solidarity on Facebook or social media for those in Bangladesh, or in Turkey, for that matter.

Not like what we saw after Paris or Orlando.

Is it because people just assume violence is supposed to happen in places like Turkey and Bangladesh? 

Maybe it's time you wear your H&M shirt inside out and show off its tag: "Made in Bangladesh."

The fact is Bangladeshis like Jain, Kabir, and Hossain, were all on a familiar immigrant path seeking opportunity through education and business--in America.

It's a story echoed in the pan-Asian community of the U.S. that includes 500,000 Bangladeshis, who have steadily come to our country since 1974.

Many of them live around the New York/New Jersey area. Many of the first wave have made it to the professional ranks and are doctors and lawyers. On my recent trip to New York City, I talked to some more recent Bangladeshi immigrants who had been in America less than ten years.

One was driving a cab, but he had ambitions. We talked about the politics of his country, and he said he would someday like to go back.

"To be president?" I asked.

He smiled and said, "Why not?"

He said he was planning to work more here, maybe go to school. And perhaps go back. 

But he felt what he was doing in New York was still better than life in Bangladesh. 

That is probably the reason why some who remain in that country may be subject to the kind of violence we've seen.  

Religion is always a readily available explanation for the actions of malcontents driven to wage jihad. But religion can sometimes mask the real explanation for violence that is less spiritual and more material: a general lack of economic opportunity and hope. 

The three South Asian students studying in America had all that in abundance, before it was violently taken away.

We should pause to remember their shortened dreams, as we celebrate our freedoms on the Fourth of July.

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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: For many Asian Americans, Vincent Chin's death was an awakening
June 19, 2016 11:55 AM

With Orlando still fresh in the national consciousness, is there anyone who doesn't know what constitutes a hate crime?

And yet, when it comes to Asian Americans, America has not always been sure. 

That is one of the main lessons of the classic case of Vincent Chin, when the legal system stumbled badly. Chin's fatal beating, which took place in a Detroit suburb June 19, 1982, was at first thought to be a hate crime, then not. Then a hate crime again, and then on appeal, not. 

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That public display of non-justice ultimately caused a generation of Asian Americans to rise up for their civil rights. 

Not that there wasn't historical reason piled up on historical reason for Asian Americans to know their tenuous place on the rights continuum. A discriminatory pattern from the Chinese Exclusion, to the Gentleman's Agreement, the Filipino exclusion of 1934's Tydings-McDuffie Act, to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, was well established. There was more than enough for Asian Americans to stay vigilant.

But the 1980s was the decade after the triumph of civil rights in the '60s. Add to that the lifting of immigration limits in 1965, and Asian Americans were generally feeling good about their lives in American society. Everyone was feeling good after the disco '70s. In the early '80s, Asian Americans were in a kind of lull.

Vincent Chin was our awakening.

And to this day. there has never been any ambivalence that Chin's death was a hate crime.

Except for the perp, Ronald Ebens.

Four years ago, I interviewed Ebens exclusively on the phone about the night he beat Chin. He insisted to me that it wasn't about hate. 

Here's an excerpt from that original column

"It should never have happened," said Ebens. "[And] it had nothing to do with the auto industry or Asians or anything else. Never did, never will. I could have cared less about that. That's the biggest fallacy of the whole thing."

That night at the club, after some harsh words were exchanged, Ebens said Chin stood up and came around to the other side of the stage. "He sucker-punched me and knocked me off my chair. That's how it started. I didn't even know he was coming," Ebens said.

Chin's friends testified that Ebens made racial remarks, mistaking Chin to be Japanese. And then when Chin got into a shoving match, Ebens threw a chair at him but struck Nitz instead.

But Ebens' version that there was no racial animosity or epithets is actually supported by testimony from Chin's friend, Jimmy Choi, who apologized to Ebens for Chin's behavior that included Chin throwing a chair and injuring Nitz.

What about the baseball bat and how Ebens and Nitz followed Chin to a nearby McDonald's?

Ebens said when all parties were asked to leave the strip club, they were out in the street. It's undisputed that Chin egged Ebens to fight on.

"The first thing he said to me is 'You want to fight some more?'" Ebens recalled. "Five against two is not good odds," said Ebens, who declined to fight.

Then later, when Chin and his friends left, Ebens' stepson went to get a baseball bat from his car.(Ironically, it was a Jackie Robinson model).  Ebens said he took it away from Nitz because he didn't want anyone taking it from him and using it on them.

But then Ebens said his anger got the best of him and he drove with Nitz to find Chin, finally spotting him at the nearby McDonald's.

"That's how it went down," Ebens said. "If he hadn't sucker punched me in the bar...nothing would have ever happened. They forced the issue. And from there after the anger built up, that's where things went to hell."

Ebens calls it "the gospel truth."

But he says he's cautious speaking now because he doesn't want to be seen as shifting the blame. "I'm as much to blame," he sadly admitted. "I should've been smart enough to just call it a day. After they started to disperse, [it was time to] get in the car and go home."

At the McDonald's where the blow that led to Chin's death actually occurred, Ebens' memory is more selective. To this day, he even wonders about hitting Chin with the bat. "I went over that a hundred, maybe 1,000 times in my mind the last 30 years. It doesn't make sense of any kind that I would swing a bat at his head when my stepson is right behind him. That makes no sense at all."

And then he quickly added, almost wistfully, "I don't know what happened."

Another time in the interview, he admitted his memory may be deficient. "That was really a traumatic thing, " he told me about his testimony. "I hardly remember even being on the stand."

He 
admitted that everyone had too much to drink that night. But he's not claiming innocence.

"No," Ebens said. "I took my shot in court. I pleaded guilty to what I did, regardless of how it occurred or whatever. A kid died, OK. And I feel bad about it. I still do."

Ebens told me he has Asian friends where he lives, though he didn't indicate if he shares his past with them. When he thinks about Chin, he said no images come to mind.

"It just makes me sick to my stomach, that's all," he said, thinking about all the lives that were wrecked, both Chin's and his own.

By the end of our conversation, Ebens still wasn't sure he wanted me to tell his story. "It will only alienate people," he said. "Why bother? I just want to be left alone and live my life."

At least, he's alive.

After the night of June 19, Chin battled for his life for four days, until he finally died of his injuries on June 23.

I've always thought these four days should be a special period of remembrance for all Asian Americans to consider what happened to Vincent Chin.

In some ways, it was fitting that this year, the beating day coincided with Father's Day. Many would consider Chin the father of modern Asian American activism. 

And as the anniversary falls on the heels of the Orlando shootings, the stark reminder is still there after all these years. 

It all could happen to any of us again.

For the four days when Chin was in a coma from June 19 to June 23, we should all pause and think of his case. And then we should move on refreshed, knowing that for Asian Americans, there's still much more to be done.

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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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