Thoughts on a birthday
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.
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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.