The marginalized majority
I meant to take a respite from the din and dynamics that my open letter has created. But I keep getting SMS messages from my friends updating me when and where my letter was last seen or read. One friend texted me to tell me one guy she knows has photocopied my letter and distributed copies at a church. Another one from Cebu said she was in a symposium where my letter was distributed and read publicly to loud applause. My email boxes are swamped (both company email and yahoo email, plus some comments on this blog).
I get texts from long-lost friends in the Visayas verifying if I am the person who wrote that letter and I can't help but feel truly touched at the "pride" they feel that they know the person who wrote that letter. I also get letters that amplify what I have written. One guy wrote a poignant letter in Tagalog about the laments of the middle class and I salute that guy for having the courage to do that. Some people alert me on online discussions taking place in this or that virtual forum (PCIJ, INQ7, etc). I only wish I had time to answer and post my comments as well, but ordinary work drones like me have to make a living balancing three jobs (unlike others who make a career out of protesting).
One particular letter from a friend moved me. He and his family are migrating to Canada. He said he is ambivalent about his family's decision to leave and has been trying to find more justification that would fortify his decision to leave the country. In the end, he told me that he knows now why they are leaving: because they feel that they have become total outcasts in their own country because they just want peace and quiet and progress.
I know the feeling. I have also entertained thoughts of migrating to Australia or Canada or New Zealand. I know the pain of being marginalized too.
Thanks to the people who have hotlines to God and speak with the conviction of the morally correct, we have been conditioned to think we are not worthy for thinking supposedly immoral thoughts such as forgiveness and acceptance. With everyone who has access to a microphone or a TV show relentlessly telling us why we are so wrong for giving the President the benefit of the doubt, why we are so morally naive because we believe in the basic goodness of people (just because we do not see the evils that they see in 1017), we now feel utterly conflicted about the worth of our moral convictions. Thank you for telling us we are so wrong and stupid and so unworthy for not seeing what you see.
Thanks to the politicians who have redefined for us what a congressional or senate hearing should be (it has to be controversial, with surprise witnesses ready to tell the most salacious details, and with lots of shouting and drama) we now prefer soap operas (the sillier the better) and lifestyle shows (the more sordid the better) to watching the news. We now have guilty pleasures (korean telenovelas for me). Our kids brains are now addled. They now think that the job of senators and congressmen is to become fact finders and third-degree inquisitors.
Thank you to the media, we have become desensitized to brazen pronouncements that border on the seditious. We now know that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are absolute concepts- that the media is the ultimate judge in this country. They can not be touched, they can not be called to task for what they do, they can not be watched. Our kids now know that a media ID is the absolute ticket to everything.
Thank you to our religious leaders, we now know that praying and keeping a vigil need to be done in specific places; that God exists only in specific churches and chapels.
Thank you too to those who continue to conjure the spectre of Martial Law to cow us into absolute fear and terror. Those of us who actually lived through the Martial Law regime see it differently, but then again, who are we to question the morally correct, the intellectually superior and the ideologically exceptinal?
Those of us who disagree are just so wrong. We do not deserve to be called Filipinos.
How did it happen that the majority has become the marginalized?