Thoughts on a birthday

On the way to work today, I was listening to AM radio (it helps wake me up, by the time I get to work, I am all worked up and raring to go). I know that many AM radio people are not specimens of sense and reason, but is it too much to ask that they show at least some refinement (or to borrow MLQ's term: civility?) I know, I know, hold your horses please - I know some of you are thinking "Mr. Austero, if you do not like what they are saying, turn that godawful thing off." But I am not ranting about what they are saying - I am ranting against how they are saying it. There is a huge difference. For crying out loud, radio commentators elected themselves to be a mouthpiece of public opinion and if that is the way we as a people carry our polemics, pupulutin talaga tayo sa kangkungan.

Exceptions do not represent the whole of Philippine media, I know for a fact that there are many media people out there who continue to be responsible and fair - but sadly, a few rogues do cast a more sinister shadow over the more responsible ones.

Today is the President's birthday. I will be the last person to advocate that we take a holiday from dissing her just because it is her special day. But surely, there are still some rules on manners that we can all adhere to.

No one is obligated to greet the President a Happy Birthday, and if one does not truly feel like sending her good wishes, then so be it, don't. Contrary to the claims of some people, this is still a free country, there is no law that decrees it, it is not required, even if the person is the President. But should one go to great lengths talking about why he or she does not feel like wishing the President a happy birthday and in the course of the tirade come very, very close to wishing all kinds of afflictions on her?

If we can not respect her as President, then is it too much to ask to at least respect the chair she is sitting in? She is still President and no matter where we stand on the issue of whether she has disgraced that chair or not, that chair is still deserving of our respect nevertheless. And if not for that, then how about respecting her right as a fellow human being to at least exist in this world and live, at least another year, though not necessarily as President?

I think it is not just utterly cruel, it smacks of crudeness to wish someone ill. Particularly on her birthday.

I have been ranting about this many times and I rue the fact that the message is very often lost in the static created by the divergence in political and ideological perspectives: we are losing something very, very valuable in the whole process: our humanity. And some day we will all have to come to terms with the fact that we lost it and will have to pay dearly for it somehow. All these mudslinging, the collective rush to judgment, this hypocritical name calling, this wanton disregard for due process and fairness, this discourtesy towards others, etc. I am deeply troubled that the bounds of intolerance has been stretched so far and people are not taking personal responsibility for their own hateful behaviors and words. Somehow, I get the sense that people think it is okay to hate others. Sometimes it does seem to me that we are watching a telecast of the Jerry Springer show everyday!

I have said this before and I will say it again. I do not like the President. But I will wish her, at the very least, good health on her birthday. I wish her resilience so that she may be able to face all the brickbats that will continue to come her way. I wish her wisdom that she may come to terms with the fact that sooner or later, she will have to relinguish power for the sake of nationhood. I wish her the courage to spend the next weeks and months building a better memento of her presidency.

There. I do not think it makes me any less a human being for doing that. There is room for magnanimity even towards people we do not like.

*** *** ***

And on a related note, I would like to offer my condolences to Senator Jamby Madrigal for the passing of her father Don Antonio Madrigal. I spent seven years of my life as a manager of Solidbank and knew the old man.


kayak said…
Truly stated bong! I admire your magnanimity. Indeed there are those who claim to be holier-than- thou-self-righteous personages who could easily throw accusations and demean other persons dignity as thou theirs is immaculately unblemished. Worse is that they lord it over a the media pushing their brand of self-righteousness ranting in the airlanes cajoling and maligning with impunity. Yet these same people are but lackeys of known personages advancing their own personal interests.

Right on brother, sound the alarm, rock the boat, beat them back into sanity. Yours is not a lonely crusade there are many who share your views. Do not let those nay sayers intimidate you. God has given you the talent to weave the words that truly represent the sentiments of the silent majority. Mabuhay Ka!
Taga-Iyam said…
You truly amazed me! I do not know if it is because you can verbalize my feelings, with much tact and honesty.

Sana naman kahit na lang ngayong araw na ito, tumahimik na lang sila kung wala silang mabuting masasabi sa Pangulo....if they cannot say any prayers for her, then, at least, they should not wish her ill.Our difference is I like her. She is determined to give us hope for a better Philippines.

You are again correct when you wrote that we can at least show respect to the presidency....Having been here in the US for 38 years, and having been politically involved with different civic activities,I can say your attitude will fit well here. Differences are not used to push one down to failure. Waiting for their turn is their priority...ang personal vendetta ata ay hindi you think kulang pa nga tayo nang political maturity?
Anonymous said…
The sad fact is that a lot of us are still bogged down with juvenile attitudes regarding civility, among other things. You, however, seem willing to step up to the plate. Thank God for that. There are a lot of us who think the way you do; I think it's time we make ourselves heard as well. Mabuhay ka!
Joey said…
Interesting that you are finally posting finally, that Gloria might step down before 2010. It's this whole fabricated "people's initiative" thing that might be the final nail in her coffin. If she'd just step back from this whole endorsement of charter change, we might support her. Anyway, Winnie Monsod posted exactly the same thing...
tintin said…
I agree with you! Those AM radio announcers don't have anything nice to say to anybody AT ALL. Some of them make commentaries which are baseless and unverified. Kakainis kasi they're just spreading ignorance. Oo nga naman, birthday naman nung tao eh. Sana man lang for that special day, tumahimik na muna sila. Everyone deserves to celebrate their birthday in peace.
james said…
If senators like Drilon, Pimentel and Jinggoy who claimed to be honorable can be so cruel, how much more these lackeys.

As if Drilon has the purest intention, as if Pimentel is always right and as if Jinggoy is any better than the two of them.
Anonymous said…
"If we can not respect her as President, then is it too much to ask to at least respect the chair she is sitting in?"

you should be asking her this very question: why is she descrating the chair she has the dubious right to sit in. hello?
Anonymous said…
Hello Bong,

I think your thoughts express the sentiments of Christians who look at God not only from the point of view of holiness, but equally from the knowledge of his love, mercy, and justice.


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