Some Lessons in Moving On—Or How to Solve the Problem like the Philippines

If there is one thing that can best describe the way many Filipinos in other countries feel about what is happening in the home country, it is this: hopeless.

There is this general feeling that the home country is irredeemable, beyond redemption.

There is some grain of truth to that general feeling.

With the continued moronic machinations of loquacious politicians of the political crises of which they are a party to, this hopelessness will be with us for a long while yet.

We say here that the crises that beset us and which are holding us back to address the more important issues of the day have something to do with the practice of politics of these politicians.

We wonder what causes this hopelessness among us—we who are in exile or we who remain in the home country. The hopelessness is the same wherever we are.

Gone are the days of decency and self-respect among the political leaders.

Gone are the days when being politician is an occasion to serve the public and to pursue the realization of public good.

Gone are the days when politicians were really ministers of the people, the servants of the many who needed to be served because basic justice required them to do so and that they held on to the requisites of democracy and fairness.

Gone are the days when to be a politician came close to being called to serve and not to be served—when to be a politician for and in the name of the people was a calling, a vocation, a mandate.

With the oppositionists and the ruling power so damn busy accusing and counter-accusing each other for the many sins they inherited and they themselves have committed, we can hardly move on.

We are now at the mercy of these people and we stand helpless watching them work on with their ruses.

We can enumerate the many reasons for this helplessness that has become widespread.

We fear that this is going to be a social malady.

If that happens, we will certainly miss the opportunity for social redemption.

We speak of elections that do not make sense anymore because the ballot, previously sanctified, is now for a fee.

Many of those who took the oath to protect our choices from among the ranks of useless and impotent politicians and choosing from them what we think are the “lesser evils” have proven themselves to be clowns and cheats, not to mention, election mercenaries.

We call for snap elections now and we do an injustice to our people because: (a) we have a discredited Commission on Elections, with a number of its members with dubious loyalties and thus any election under its watch would be suspect; and (b) we have a Constitutional provision that sets forth the means and methods to succeed the president and the vice president, assuming these two highest positions are the problem.

The economy is taking all the beating in these moronic machinations of moronic politicians with a penchant for pharisaical pronouncements on what is best to be done to the presidency, to the people, and to the patria.

During the last few months after the Arroyo admission that she was the voice in the genuine tape—the voice that talked to one Comelec official prior to the official pronouncement of who made the grades for the presidency, we have had enough of the sideshows and extravaganzas that border on the slapstick and the farcical.

At best, many of those who are stealing the limelight and landing on the pages of the dailies and getting media mileage for free have nothing new to offer, nothing novel, but just empty phrases on how best to love oneself and how to keep holding on to power.

With dubious characters peopling marches, attending religious services and prayer rallies, and spewing fire and brimstone against the alleged abuse of power of the Arroyo presidency, everything has been going on to opposite direction. The people are losing patience for this wastage of energy for nation building.

Some of these characters are social tricksters and political operators.

They are manipulators, too, of our collective memory, with a number of them giving aid to the conjugal dictatorship, lending their name and honor to the man that promised us greatness but never did.

Well, he gave us embarrassments—one that we will continue to pay for till kingdom come for acquiescing, for not shouting enough, for not crying out enough—for not saying that the many years of dictatorial misrule are tantamount to shame.

Even as we complain, we are not complaining enough.

We take things one at a time, sometimes taking everything in stride, taking it all in, taking it easy—and then eventually forgetting the sins of the fathers.

The dubious characters in the social drama called opposition, protests, marches and all other forms of showing disgust for the Arroyo presidency have nothing to offer. Zilch. Nunca, nada, zero, nil.

They have nothing better to offer to solve our problems as a people except to grandstand with their self-righteousness and self-aggrandizing statements on what to do with the political crisis affecting not only the tenure of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with the presidency but also the livelihood of the ordinary people.

Even those who are left behind to live with the kind of our everyday politics are desperately hopeless.

We can understand the oppositionists of every political stripe—those people who have wanted the presidency so bad they are having nightmares because they did not make it.

They wanted the ritualized parade-in-review for their political aphrodisiac, with the sight and power of the armed forces stimulating their small minds.

We can understand the priests and clerics of every social commitment and/or political pretenses. They gave legitimacy to the Arroyo presidency with the bishop conference’s pronouncement on the presidential elections. With the protests they are joining in, they are kept busy.

We can understand the frustration of professionals whose brainpower is an unlimited social resource. Some of them are going away—and for good—because living in the country is now like living under the spell of political sorcerers.

We can understand the well-meaning individuals who have lent their hand, name or honor either to the presidency or to the opposition because they wanted all these forms of disorder to end.

We can understand the everyday masa who has to live with the minimum wage that cannot promise him and his family any decent meal except to indulge in the fantastic that goes with imagining the porridge beyond vetsin and salt and water to taste.

At the end of the day, we all need to resolve one thing: that we need to go on, that we need to move on, that we cannot go hung.

We have wasted enough of the patience and understanding and wisdom of our people.

We have aborted their dreams of the good life.

It is high time that we all learn from this—learn from the lessons of history, learn from where we stumbled, learn to pick up the pieces, and learn to move to the bargaining table.

In that bargaining table, we need to re-learn how to set our vision for a social life that takes its cue from the need to put our acts together in order to be of service to our people.

Resisting forgetting and, therefore, perpetually remembering the mistakes of the presidency, we can begin to think of granting forgiveness and pardon and from there we go on to demand the serious pursuit of social justice for the least of our people.

Pub, INQ, V1N19, Nov 2005

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