The countdown to Presidential Elections 2010 may as well be a countdown to Ocho-Ocho “Revolution” Fiesta as well. In the latest burst of news “reporting” from that venerable beacon of heroic press “freedom”, the Inquirer.net, some old relic came out of the woodwork to give some “advise” on the matter of people power “revolutions”:
“For those who advocate people power in case they are dissatisfied with the results of the election, it is not enough that they agitate. Talk is cheap,” he said.
Arroyo added: “They must be the first to be felled by police and military truncheons, water cannons, tear gas like the old man Tañada, Chino Roces, Rene Saguisag, Butz Aquino and other leaders in the anti-Marcos protest marches.”
The trouble with old farts like Joker Arroyo is that they talk (which, by the way is apparently considered “cheap”) but do not listen and therefore fail to take stock of the pulse of current thinking before they mouth off their foggy rhetoric. The issue at stake here is not whether some poor sods are willing to “die” for the cause. It’s more like whether there is something to die for to begin with.
Is there something to die for?
That is quite a headscratcher for most. But considering the simple present reality that there are, in fact, lots of options available to the average schmoe in terms of his right to participate in governance, this is almost a no-brainer. For one thing, we have representatives in a legislature duly elected by popular vote. What does this mean? It means the people in principle have a voice in Government to keep the Executive and Judiciary branches in check, the earlier by the power of veto and threat of impeachment among others and for both earlier and latter, through the application of the Law that, one would expect, reflects the interests of the constitutents of those who legislate it (which I might point out is the whole point of being a “democracy”).
The above paragraph is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? That is why it is not surprising that not too many people get it. This is the Philippines after all, a society not exactly world-renowned for its collective intellectual faculties and populated by a people averse to reading anything of substance.
Consider the following ululation taken from another “report“. It comes from someone who supposedly lives a life subject to a vow of obedience:
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, a convenor of the poll watchdog Kontra Daya, said taking to the streets was the only option available.
“With due respect, I disagree vehemently [with Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales],” Mananzan said.
“It’s more irresponsible if you do nothing,” Mananzan said at a press briefing. “Where would you go? To Congress, to the Supreme Court? Even Art Panganiban, the former Chief Justice, said all of the institutions of government are severely compromised. So where will you go but to the power of the people?”
She said a candidate and his supporters had a right to protest if they were cheated, just as any citizen should not sit idly by if his rights were trampled upon.
“If you don’t, you are an irresponsible person,” she said.
Like everything to do with organised religion, the whole disturbing scene of clerics and Madre de Cacaos getting involved in politics is interlaced with oxymoron. Consider the headline of the article from which the above excerpt was taken: “Church militants oppose cardinal on people power”. One’s gotta ask: How in hell does an organisation fundamentally held together by a vow of obedience have “militants” within their ranks?
I suggest, Sister, that you leave the thinking to people who, according to the hierarhcy you willingly submit yourself to, hold a monopoly over the right to think. That is what a vow to obey implies — that one abdicates one’s self from a responsibility one would normally take for granted: thinking for themselves. Funny then that someone who lives by a vow of obedience would now presume to lecture us about “democracy” (a form of governance where thinking is not only essential but expected).
The results are quite telling. The only real irresponsible act going on here is people with half a brain inciting rebellion. You tend to get that kind of laughable outcome wherever there is a failure of thinking. And considering that there is a chronic failure of thinking in this cross-section of the national “debate”, the question gets begged: Is a “failure of election” the REAL issue?
Classy indeed. There is no shortage of “advise” of the flawed variety in a society as intellectually bankrupt as ours. One comes from a museum piece laying 1980’s thinking on 21st Century minds, and the other comes from some schmoe who had chosen an entire way of life that is the anti-thesis of the “democracy” she presumes to defend.
You can quite easily roll this up into the Biggest Oxymoronic Question of all:
Is the Filipino worth dying for?
This is indeed such a big question that I’ll opt to defer to the wisdom of a mind greater than mine:
* * *
An exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor:
She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”
He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
* * *
Well, some choose to die. Others simply vote with their feet. It’s the Great Filipino Dream! I think we should change the last line of our National Anthem.
All together now:
Marahil nga na nakakabagot
Ang mga suliranin ng ‘sang Lipunang
Sa kabiguan lamang nauuwi
Mula munting pakitang-taong ambag
Hangga’t sa mula pusong alay na palag.
Makabuluhang resulta’y di inaasam
Sa mga kilusang kinakamkam
Bagama’t punto ng pag-alsa
Kahit pinuno’y di alam
Basta’t “sugod” ang kanyang damdam.
Ngunit saysay ng sigaw di malaan
Pagka’t kailan ma’y walang nakamit
Na pag-unawa sa pinagmulang prinsipyong
Makabuluhan kung mayroon man.
Sa mga susunod na kabanata
Ng kasaysayan ng bansa
Ang paglitis ng madla
Di magtutugma sa iba
Kundi sa malinaw na pangamba:
Pinoy nga naman talaga,
Parang aso umasta
Matangkad lang kapag naka-upo
Sa tawag ng amo lang tatayo.
[Dedicated to the Filipino “Revolutionary”
by benign0, Lyricist Extraordinaire]
Look who’s laughing
all the way to the bank…