The Inquirer.net Editor has gone on a defensive strike against “so-called pundits” critical of President Benigno “P.Noy” Aquino III’s 26th July State of the Nation Address (SONA). The Op-Ed piece came across to me as no more than a long-winded admonishment of how so much of what was in the SONA that could be “chew[ed] on” even by “non-fans” was left unappreciated.
And how did Mr Editor go about convincing us that these chewie aspects of P.Noy’s SONA were worthy of our appreciation? Three words:
Appeal to emotion.
The Editor juxtaposed the excess rice stocks “rotting” in National Food Authority (NFA) warehouses, against “the context of people going hungry and millions of others forced to travel to various hells overseas to earn the wherewithal to keep their families’ heads above water”. Tell us something we don’t know, Mr Editor.
Of the need to dismantle monopolies and cartels and expand basic education which was also mentioned in the SONA, Mr Editor reminded his dear readers of “the intent to bring about a level playing field and, no matter how slowly, to stamp out the ignorance that effectively keeps populations in the yoke of servitude”. Last I heard, “intent” does not fill stomachs or enrich bank accounts, Mr Editor.
More laughs come our way in how Mr Editor saw those who found “the lack of ‘shockers’ in the Sona, and those who complain of being left high and dry on the scaffold of heightened arousal” as a bunch of androids desensitised to endemic crime and corruption in Philippine society. Just a question Mr Editor, whose bright idea was it in the first place to release teasers that hyped up this SONA’s “shock” and “awe” value to begin with? I do recall too that even the Inquirer.net post-SONA report devoted only a measly 3.4 percent of its wordage to covering P.Noy’s “shocking” accounts of the previous Administration’s criminality.
Perhaps Mr Editor, all of what you say would’ve been valid if Mr President was coming from a zero base; as in, the forward-looking parts of this SONA would’ve been truly enlightening and the retrospective aspects of it truly shocking if we were all hearing this for the first time. But the reality is that P.Noy’s SONA is not jumping off from a zero base. There already is in place some baselines on which his SONA was expected to be built upon.
Firstly, he already has some semblance of a platform. And though Professor Solita Monsod observed a while back that this platform had now been deleted from Noynoy’s website, copies of it continue to live on, and continue to be used as a baseline for on-going evaluation of the current administration. So why then is a big deal being made about a few odd references to the future in P.Noy’s SONA when there already is a broader and (to now give a bit of credit to it) deeper body of work on the subject in his original campaign platform. Considering the existence of this plartform, the SONA’s forward-looking aspects should have been framed by it.
And second, P.Noy’s campaign was almost entirely built upon the notion that the (at the time) incumbent administration is “evil” (and therefore crooked, thieving, and malicious) and that his is the “good” option, the anti-thesis of this “evil”. As such, much of the hyped up shock value in P.Noy’s SONA was already pre-empted by his good-vs-evil campaign. In effect, Noynoy already convinced the electorate during the campaign that former President Gloria Arroyo was a thief and a cheat and that he is the warrior Aragorn who will raise an army to of ghosts to battle the Evil One’s forces. So why did he stand before us making reiteration of this concept the key point of his speech?
It’s simple, really.
The more P.Noy relies on his handlers and his circle of Kamaganak Inc assets to do his work for him, the more he will be putting himself at greater risk of suffering the sorts of gaffes that have come to characterise his presidency.
The call to the President remains fundamentally the same:
Be a man.
Be a statesman.
Be a PRESIDENT.
Not even the pen of the Editor of the mighty Inquirer.net can save you from the gaffes that your handlers expose you to, Mr President.