Is it being “destructive” to publish a litany of the gaffes that have come to collectively characterise the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III? Some people dismiss such an exercise as “nitpicking” and exhort the “offending” parties to take a more “positive” perspective, while others preach the virtues of dismissing these call-outs as nothing more than noise dished out by “hecklers” and “thugs”.
The alternatives offered to calling out the truth about these gaffes and triumphs of flawed thinking is to simply overlook them and continue to latch on to the illusion of “hope” and “change” that formed the core pitch of the Aquino campaign of 2010.
Induced delusion is what the Aquino campaign has morphed into and is the active ingredient in the “positive thinking” mantra that Administration and party publicists are now pitching to Filipinos. We are in the midst of a massive mass communications campaign to distract from and even whitewash the reality of how Noynoy Aquino has so far bumbled his way across the first month on the job — a month characterised by much creation of division and much erosion of cohesion. It is an executive comedy of errors of the sort not seen since the honeymoon period of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 1998.
That these presidential gaffes are so amusing belies how potentially damaging (if they had not already resulted in such) many of these are — Noynoy’s imbroglio with Chief Justice Renator Corona potentially undermining the independence of the judiciary, his commuting approach that unnecessarily endangers himself, his security personnel, and innocent civilians that surround his motorcade, his second-guessing courts that have jurisdiction over rebel leader Antonio Trillanes’s case thereby further contributing to the sharpening of rebellion as a political tool of choice, and his coming so close to creating a diplomatic row with the Japanese who he presumed to lecture on long-term thinking (thankfully the Japanese have far healthier egos than the average Pinoy male).
We are encouraged to cut the President some “slack” and remember that it has “only” been several weeks. But that begs dusturbing questions around the heights to which expectations among the electorate were made to soar by an astutely-engineered campaign that was electrified by nostalgic, emotional, and nationalistic diarrhoea delivered by the best entertainers and spin technicians that Kamaganak Inc money could buy.
Ladies and gentlement, this is your President.
Lesser minds encourage us to be positive about the next six years. I beg to differ. We’d best defer to the bigger minds who encourage us to be constructive.
There is a big difference between being “positive” and being constructive. The earlier is a mere mind trick that inclines one to gloss over faults and continue to latch on to often dwindling prospects (ironically eroded by the same faults that are purposely ignored in the process of latching on to them). Positive thinking is at the core of a billion dollar industry that cons weak-minded people into thinking that they could make things happen simply by willing it. Not much science behind that one, folks. In contrast, the latter — being constructive — is a discipline underpinned by a structured, critical, and realistic take on things.
In short, when asked to have a bit of “hope” or take on a bit of a more “positive” perspective, we should make it a habit to ask of those who presume to tell us how we should feel about what is real the following question:
Hope in what exactly?
Hope is ok as long as it can be substantiated by the disciplines that underlie what it really means to be constructive.
Let’s forget being positive and focus on being constructive. And to be truly constructive, we need to make sure that weaknesses in the foundations of what it is we aspire to construct be identified and highlighted, so that we can break out of the cycle of having to keep telling everyone I told you so and earn ourselves the right to tell ourselves, That’s the way!