I am not even going to talk about the issues of the separation of Church and State.
Everybody has his take on that. And, well, we know how some have decided to interpret what it means to have such a "separation" of power.
I am not even going to talk about the three hours it took me to get home to the south when I left Tomas Morato in Quezon City at 3:00 PM last Friday afternoon. Others had worse ordeals. And, yes, there are those who felt that the protest was perfectly timed to ruin their long weekends.
It was a Friday and a payday and there were sales all over the malls. People made plans to start the three-day holiday with casual unwinding. And what they got was a traffic mess that promised to last far more than their plans for the stretch of their work-free days.
I had a meeting scheduled Saturday morning but then I realized that any attempt to go north is an exercise in sublime masochism. The meeting was eventually cancelled and we had to turn around and go back south after wasting hours trying to go about doing what I was supposed to do for my job.
Yes, it was a bummer. What a bummer.
There were apologies issued by the humongous and admittedly powerful group staging the mass action.
They said that they were only using EDSA as their venue to embody their rights to protest against the interference of the State with affairs of their church.
They issued requests for understanding of the general --- since this is a fight that their group was quite determined to slug it out (or, in this case, stand off ) until they get what they wanted. Panginoon ko, hanggang kelan po ba ito?
But the citizenry did not only react to what the group was doing: they started taking it out on the entire congregation and its leaders.
What used to be decades of peaceful co-existence seemed to have so quickly deteriorated into irritation until eventually contempt for what others felt was the show of muscle by sheer number of a single institution.
Well, taka pa ba tayo?
It is because this group was given that sense of entitlement --- down to this very last moment --- because of their political clout. Our favorite politicos, whether in place of power or aspiring to be up there in 2016, have all given lame or safe or even encouraging statements seemingly beholden to the group.
Why is this so? It does not take a genius to know that by sheer number of membership, the group can be a great determinant in the harvest votes that a candidate can acquire in order to win the elections. Siyempre naman you do not antagonize an institution that can help you harvest votes, right? Alam na natin yon. Noon pa. That is why officials from humble konsehals to the upper echelons of importance bow to the authority of the Church's leaders. And there is nothing strange with that either. That is why there is a verb called politicking and they are called politicians.
Which is why I am blogging.
If there is anything that disturbs me ... it is not that sorry state of traffic going on right now as I pound on this keyboard. This is exactly what they want --- to make us feel the disequilibrium in our daily lives brought about by their discontent.
Apparently, EDSA congregations have become the template of protest --- and has now been done to death to serve whatever purpose not necessarily of national interest --- but of particular concerns.
What is more irking is that nothing is being done: no action is being undertaken to change the situation as everybody seems to be fence-sitting and waiting for the throngs to either multiply exponentially until they stretch from Shaw Boulevard to Taft Avenue ...or hope that the rains will not only dampen but douse water on the fire of their collective conviction.
What disturbs me most is how this event has again divided the country --- Filipinos against Filipinos.
Who is to blame? Whoever, whatever. At this point we can all take sides, but another damage has been done. And no one seems to be doing anything to even pretend that there is repair.
Am I pissed? Yes, I am ... and when I see memes all over the internet mocking, joshing and aggravating this group because of all the inconvenience --- nay, urban paralysis --- that they have caused, I ask myself: "Where will all this lead to? How will this affect the relationship of Catholics with an indigenous Christian group? Just how much more do we need to understand that this not only about this problem or traffic or the garbage they will leave out in the streets.
I try my best to really understand as I know certain members of that Church who are not in agreement to what is happening but would rather keep quiet because --- that is their choice: to be mum and let events take their natural course. That is why it is equally wrong to generalize that everyone who belongs to the group should be castigated for ruining our long weekend. Hard as it is to fathom at this point, there are exceptions who believe that this is not the right way to solve the problem.
What is most saddening is that we have reached this stalemate because we can't get our act together as a people. It is again about how destroyed we are in our inability to share a common vision, to work for a common cause, to go beyond our self-interests. Even I am guilty of that.
But what makes it all the more sad?
There is nobody out there telling us what to do, where we can go ... or how we can handle this beyond testing our patience. We are all waiting it out hoping that this will all go away ... and that we can have our regular share of nerve-wrecking-non-fatal traffic without having to deal with a couple of thousands huddled together under the MRT Rails.
We all deserve something better than this.