Cottage Industry, Affects, Politics, and the Heartland

Been conversing with the children lately, 'em who have come to live with me in a faraway land on the other side of the same Philippine ocean some thousands of miles away.

We talk of home, of the heartland, and of the politics of our dreams for a better country.

Not our new country, but the old one that we had to tentatively abandon for a myriad of reasons.

But the abandonment is temporary, and in the circle of time, in that eternity of that circle, we will for certain go back to that country one way or the other.

We all do not believe in people saying that we cannot go back to the homeland once again.

We hold on to the promise of the opposite and dream that home is a porous place.

And so we dream of our own home where memories are locked in the secret chambers of trees I planted, on the walls that turned into blackboards for children's chicken writings, and wooden doors for those cheap but artsy graffiti no one has ever seen in a long, long while.

And our talks turn to something mundane, sometimes ephemeral, like this infamous cottage industry in the homeland we call politics.

Yes, it the same politics we have over here in the United States, but a politics of a different kind.

It is a politics of names, of last names.

It is a politics of parentage.

It is a politics of patronage, the pater familia metamorphosing into stupid wives, equally stupid daughters, criminal sons, hambug children, and equally 'hambugero' grandchilden.

Never mind that some of them are totally idiots, incorrigibly mindless.

Never mind that some of them are assistants of assistants, and that experience gives them the right to become senators, mayors, governors.

Next time you realize, they are presidents, even if in the evenings they play bang-bang video games instead of understanding what social justice is all about.

We have all seen this unruly ways of politics in the home country, and each time we talk about this, there is that palpable feeling of 'sayang'.

We fought two EDSA People Power, many of us veterans of both.

For each of these people power uprisings, we handed on a silver platter the reins of power to the most incapable with the agreement that whoever holds the reins must guarantee that each of us citizens would stand a chance at the good life.

And for each of these occasions, the leaders failed us.

And they failed us miserably. Tremendously.

More than two years ago, when the first two children were allowed to vote for the first time, they queued up at the registration centers and had their names listed as voters.

At election time, they queued up once more to cast their ballots.

By then, they were eager to be heard, like those other young people rooting for that better alternative, Gibo Teodoro.

In my absence, Tony Igcalinos, a former student but now my political mentor, had persuaded them to stand behind Gibo who had uttered those famous words that talked of the possibilities of redemption for a land as wretched as that homeland.

On election day, these two children stood guard, and watched, and joined hands with the rest of the hoping populace to protect their votes.

Another man came out the winner for reasons inexplicable.

But that man has a sister who is on television practically 24/7 and convincing people that her manong is the better option for a land in search of a Messiah.

Heck, he won, handily, because the voters did not know how to choose.

And there goes the same story of mindlessness in a land already filled with mindlessness.

When Gibo lost, my daughter, she who pinned her hopes on him, cried rivers.

She could not be comforted.

On that day, she said goodbye to her homeland.

That sealed a tentative goodbye.

Honolulu/May 10, 2013

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