In The Name of the Truth
THE “truth” is the new catchword in town, and it’s been hanging from every politician’s mouth the last few days.
“In search of the truth,” they say, and it is truly a blessing that many of our politicians and civic leaders are hams in the acting department. Otherwise, we would not only have to put up with trite dramatic dialogues but awful melodramatic renditions of the phrase as well. (Imagine the great actors in the Senate looking straight at the camera with misty eyes and quivering lips intoning, “sa ngalan ng katotohanan!” and see if you don’t want to run screaming out of the room). If alarm bells were rung every single time someone invoked “the truth” in the last two days, we would all be deaf by now.
If people truly believe that “the truth shall set us free” and want to embark on a major quest to find it, who in his right mind would think of beginning the search in the halls of Congress?
I am not accusing our senators and congressmen of being such big frauds although the idea is really tempting. Even if truth were written in upper case neon letters 20 feet high right where the huge Philippine flag is displayed at the main hall of Congress, I doubt very much if all our honorable congressmen will see it. Or at least see it as such, as they will probably debate on the question of whether words constitute essence, or whether what they are seeing is objective reality or an interpretation of reality, or something just as nonsensical. This is not to say that they all need glasses or brain transplants, although these sound like good excuses too; just that people do not see things that they do not want to see, period.
And to be fair, it’s really not just in Congress where this phenomenon called selective perception is prevalent. Wasn’t it just a few years back when many respected journalists wrote passionate essays about truth being subjective—that it must side with the causes of the oppressed and the marginalized? Didn’t civic groups led by you-know-who (I can’t say her name without going into a laughing fit; it is a long story which involves community singing of “If We Hold On Together”) bend the truth in their favor when they justified that ill-fated CODE-NGO project a few years back? Don’t businessmen hire public relations experts to twist the truth a little to suit their purposes? The point is, we are all guilty of twisting the truth in our favor.
Therefore, if anyone wants to embark on a quest for the truth, I suggest they begin the search in the most logical starting point, which is within their selves (yes, Rep. Francis Escudero, that’s where you should begin). And I guess this is the message of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that sadly got lost in political translation. In effect, what the bishops are saying is, “you cannot accuse someone of being immoral if you yourself are doing something immoral.” (I have been saying the same thing and more in my blog in the last five months and I didn’t have to go through a weekend retreat to do that).
It is shameless and hypocritical the way some people invoke the “truth” as absolute justification for their political agenda. They say that all they want is to know the truth about whether the President cheated in the last elections. Duh. We already know the truth— everyone cheats during elections in this country and I dare any politician to come forward to claim that he or she is clean. All candidates, and I do mean ALL candidates, violate election laws— from the printing and posting of posters, to the distribution of sample ballots, to vote-buying, etc. So instead of asking the obvious, how about asking a more sincere and proactive question: since we all cheat during elections, how do we make sure that cheating is eradicated from our system? But I guess that question requires real work for our legislators and civic leaders. It is just so much easier to just blame someone than to be responsible for the solutions.
I can go on and on, but let’s cut through all this BS and call a spade a dirty shovel. What they really mean when they say they want to find the truth is to dig political mud, dirt and sleaze enough to shame the President into resigning from office, or enough to galvanize people into supporting their cause. In the process, the country can burn and we may lose all semblance of respect and dignity as a people. It is also possible that everyone gets implicated and the bloodbath will run 10 feet deep. But who cares as long as some people emerge as heroes and heroines and we can all live under a new dispensation of new tyrants and more of the same corrupt officials. I know some people who live in ivory towers and can therefore afford to romanticize all these, but tell it to someone who actually lives through the hardships of everyday living and see if you don’t get cursed.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me restate my position. I truly believe that under normal circumstances, impeachment is a valid and legal option. I also believe in my heart of hearts that this President has to go sooner or later—both for her sake and for the country’s. But the problems of this country are bigger and larger than whether GMA should be retained or given the boot. We need to go beyond demonizing the President or looking for someone to blame and instead focus on proactive solutions. In the words of the bishops, focus on “the common good.” And along the way, yes, let us make sure she is made accountable for her grievous mistakes.
Unfortunately, some people who dare to call themselves patriots still refuse to read the writing on the wall. To them, it is still all about GMA. And everything else, including progress and listening to the real needs of the people, is secondary.
GMA is a problem, but there are bigger and larger problems that we need to focus on. We are also part of the problem. Unfortunately, this is the truth that some people cannot handle.