Friday, May 19, 2006

Mail call

EAL, a regular reader of this blog emailed me four "simple questions" (ha! when were political questions ever that simple in this country?) that he said he wanted someone "politically sober" like me (ahem) to comment on. There are a couple of things I want to write about such as this national predeliction for coming up with absurd labels for our national headaches (con-ass?!? unidentified flying objects!!?) but my brain is still on vacation mode and I thought I should indulge EAL. So here goes.

1. "Why is the middle class not enraged and out into the streets like they did in the past?"

This is a actually a question that has been paraphrased in various ways in the last few months to the extent that some people's impatience has given way to annoyance and in some instances, outright dismissal of the value of the middle class as a potent force for change in society. I do not believe that Filipinos are tired of people power, or that Filipinos do not believe in it anymore. I think that what many Filipinos are tired of is the rise of what I consider political oligarchy - people who keep on insisting on an exclusivist and absolutist point of view - which, as still evident in many hysterical reactions in some blogs - tends to border on moral fundamentalism. I do know that many people (like me) are turned off by the name calling and the "high and mighty stance" that some people cloak themselves with. This "if you are not with us, you are against us" attitude is tiresome and insulting to many people.

I do not subscribe to the point of view that people are tired of protesting - I prefer to see the inaction as another form of protest.

The question then is not "why" but "what." What will it take to get people out in the streets? Constructive change, an alternative that is inclusive of all points of views; one that does away with all these namecalling and moral superiority.

2. "What is your stand on charter change?"

I do not believe that changing the constitution will bring any major benefit or for that matter, any major setback to the country. The system is important, but it is simply a tool, a means to an end. In the end, it is a confluence of many factors that will spell the difference. On the other hand, I do not subscribe to the belief that just because something is not broken it shouldn't be fixed.

What I feel very strongly about is this: the country needs a major impetus towards change and charter change is a tempting alternative. Thus, I prefer to wait and see how the debate will shape up in the next few weeks. But like I said, I do not think that changing the constitution is a panacea. It is, at best, a collective push that may put the country back on a track - perhaps a longer track, but less divisive and less destructive. If there is a better way to do this, then changing the constitution may not be necessary after all.

3. "Do you think GMA wants to stay on as President beyond her term?"

GMA is a lot of things - arrogant, possessed with a steely determination, etc., but stupid is not one of them. I think that she knows that she has to go sooner or later. Call me naive, but I think that she also wants a way out of the impasse and that her main motivation is self-preservation, i.e., that a better place in history is assured for her and her legacy. And I think she knows that many people are willing to grant her that on condition that she does her penance and this is where she draws strength from. All this talk about GMA being another Marcos is pure political posturing designed to scare people by conjuring old ghosts. Sadly, science has long proven that scare tactics never work. Scaring people has never worked in HIV/AIDS prevention, in preventing new year's day injuries from firecrackers, in not getting teens pregnant, in preventing boys from submitting to hazing, etc.

Unfortunately, people who want blood are not willing to budge either. Too bad the tug of war is hurting the country and turning off people along the way. In this contest, the solution can not be in taking out one side of the tug of war, but in pulling together towards one goal. I believe the President will step down under the right conditions.

4. "Is there hope for the country?"

Yes, of course. I think that's one of the very few things we have left.

3 comments:

alden said...

Hi Bong,

Your writing is definitely has a "calming effect" on me that I always make it a point to drop by to end my blog hopping....

I totally agree! In our yahoo group, one member who is a professor in Ateneo has brought up the idea of Revolution of the Silent. I believe it is a form of protest not only focused on GMA but on the politicians or actions is so out of touch from reality....

We also have the same feeling about the scare tactic on GMA going over beyond her term...

And of course, just like Im very sure their is so much hope for the country....I can see it happening... I can feel it...Politically sober people like you should just keep on illuminating.

Thank you so much Bong for taking time out to write for all of us!

cvj said...

Bong, what's your take on the recent spate of killings of the leftist leaders and the government's response on this matter?

james said...

the one thing that goes for charter change is the abolition the senate which has remissed in its legislative function and yet very expensive to maintain. and the competence of people we put into this supposedly august body is not inspiring at all.