So Where Do We Go From Here?
Not that I lose sleep over it. It's just that sometimes I do feel sad that it seems people can not argue or debate anymore without losing their temper. This is why I can't sit through a whole episode of Debate on GMA7 - I get the sense that what happens in that show is symptomatic of the state of this country - lots of people pontificating and not really listening to each other. Perhaps it is time to remind ourselves, yes, myself included, that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us two ears and one mouth and that there is a powerful message in there; we are supposed to listen twice as much as we talk.
A number of people texted me today to inform me that that letter was read on NBN (the government channel) this afternoon. It seems that letter has reached some people in government. On the off chance that it did, and that they have found their way into this blog, I will now address them directly.
People in government, please take note: just because there are people like me who have taken the trouble to express our support for you (at the risk of being ridiculed and mocked), it should not be construed as blanket authority for you to continue making utter fools of yourselves. On the contrary, it is a challenge for you to perform better and do right. Please do not waste the goodwill and the conditioned support that people like me are giving you. It may not be much, but it is being given to you freely so put it to good use.
For instance, arresting Dinky Soliman and Enteng Romano for walking at Baywalk was a monumental blunder. That was completely unnecessary and you have just made martyrs out of these people. I have always taken the position that that there is nobility in accepting mistakes and admitting errors in judgment. We do not expect you to be exemplars of intelligence and wisdom; we know you are people who make mistakes too, particularly when provoked. So I hope that that unfortunate event does not happen again. Take the higher moral ground, apologize and resolve never to pull that stunt again.
Some semblance of calm and normalcy has returned and there is no point in inviting unnecessary provocation and criticism. In fact, I would caution you against making any more arrests without warrants and cases filed in court. If you want us to continue respecting democratic processes, then you must lead the way. That is the only way. Likewise, I hope that some cabinet members learn how to put their brains in gear before opening their mouths. Secretary Gonzales, please listen.
I think it is high time now to bring the discussion to a higher level. We need to put a closure to the endless nitpicking and debunking of each others’ points of view.
In the last few days, I have received emails from four people asking me what I think is a workable action plan. I am flattered that they deemed me qualified to make prescriptions. It is in this spirit that I have decided to break my self-imposed rule not to offer prescriptions. I thought that the last thing I needed was people to think that fancy myself as some prophet of good news.
But I think it is time to stop the screaming contest. It is time to bring the discussion to a more constructive level - the objective should be in trying to understand where people are coming from and with full cognizance and appreciation of the fact that whatever we say or do, we are in the same boat together. There are differences in opinions and points of views, but despite the venom and the vitriol that is dripping in the comments in this blog, I truly think that this does not necessarily mean we are against each other.
And so, after going through all that and having come from a spiritual retreat during the weekend (thanks to my spiritual mentor Sonny), I went through most of the emails and the comments in this blog with an open mind (it was a truly difficult process, but it was cathartic!). But I think, I truly think, it is time to refocus our energies into more constructive ways. So where do we go from here. Indulge me please.
I think that first, we should get commitment from everyone - and I mean everyone - pro or anti, leftist or rightist, opposition or government - to respect democratic processes. No more extra constitutional solutions. No more coups. No more conspiracies to topple the government through extra-constitutional means. No more arrests without warrants.
Second, I think it is time to bring the discussion to the level of what is "the common good." We can disagree on how to get there, we can disagree on what is the right course of action, but we should all focus on a more strategic goal - a better country in say, three or four year's time. I may be naive in thinking that this is possible, but hey, it is worth a shot. If we can agree on a common vision, then our disagreements can be made more civil and sensible. I think what is tragic today is that we are focusing on short-term goals that divide us rather than on larger goals that can serve as rallying points. And hopefully, viable win-win alternatives can be crafted in the process. And yes, this includes a possible peaceful transition of power through democratic ways.
Third and necessarily, I think that it is time to come to the table with a little more sincerity. I ranted about vested interests and selfish intentions in that letter. It is time to come clean and this is only possible in an environment that is free from moralizing and judging. For example, let us stop obfuscating about whether there was a conspiracy or an attempted coup last February because as the no-nonsense Professor Solita Monsod said on public television: meron talaga coup! And since the threats to stability has been reduced and it has been proven that the people are not wont to support such moves anyway, it is best for government to come clean now, rectify the mistakes, and stop all this senseless posturing.
Fourth, it is time for ordinary Filipinos to take the discussion and the crafting of the solution out of the hands of the politicians. For crying out loud, who actually listens to them? I know I reach for the remote control everytime someone of their ilk comes on television.
It is time to listen to the dreams of ordinary Filipinos. It is time to come together to listen, sincerely and with an open mind, to the sentiments of the people whose only desire is a better future for their children. Who knows, we might be in for some major surprises and true enlightenment.
All these may be unrealistic daydreaming. Call me an idealistic fool, but as someone said, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
But it is time to get to work.