I promised myself that I will not blog about politics. I do not think there is any remaining opinion, suggestion, assumption, foregone conclusion that has not been talked or written about. There is no point in going there.
Every morning even before you start your day it feels like taking a heavy dosage of a downer by simply opening the papers and reading the front page. I end up needing an anti-depressant to go with my coffee. Even social media reeks of the stench and deafens the senses with the noise of politics, politics, politics. You begin to wonder whether elected officials are there for endless investigations for the sake of legislation so that they devote more time interrogating, grandstanding and performing in front of the cameras to convince people that they are worth the taxpayers' monthly contributions. You also wonder whether they still have time to make laws rather than making sure that they get media coverage and leverage.
It is as if the career of lawmakers nowadays are founded on sound bites they can feed local and international media. Not content with the kind of live tv coverage they get from mainstream television ... or all those flash reports that interrupt the highlights of Minute to Win It ... that they still have to mount these press conferences where they can exhibit their powers of elocution or some flavorful impersonation of our favorite Maalaala Mo Kaya monologues.
After a while it gets a bit too much. Amidst all these brouhaha, you still spend more than two hours in traffic just to get to work. You get to hear the rabid (I cannot emphasize that enough --- rabid) pronouncements of your friends about the state of the country after the first hundred days of the new dispensation. You are constantly bombarded by all this negativity--- because nowadays if you do not belong to this camp, then you must belong to the other camp. There is no such thing as dancing in the objective middle. No, you cannot be neither here nor there.
You either love the president and all of what he represents --- or you are a Yellowtard, wanting to bring back the glory days when Kris Aquino still had a tv show, believing that her family is the deserving equivalent of the Kennedys of the Philippines. You cannot criticize Duterte without being branded as part of the Yellow Army: you cannot appreciate PNoy and his administration without being castigated as a Dutertard.
In all honesty, this has really reached the level of the sick and sickening.
I am not even going to talk about the President and his idiosyncrasies. I will not even venture into the repercussions of his earthshaking statements which rock the world and becomes delicious fodder for media because ... everybody has an opinion about that. I am constantly shocked, sometimes frightened and often confused but I will leave my better judgment to tell me not to make pronouncements about things I do not completely understand.
Instead, I look at what is happening to the country and the people ... and how we have become a nation so divided. We are divided by our partisan loyalties as if this were a battle between them versus us. It is all about SILA against TAYO. People keep shouting at each other, hurling hasty even ruthless accusations against each other without taking time to think as to what went wrong before ... what has happened to bring us all to this here and now.
I tell myself (as I remind my students) that the timeline of history is designed by cause and effect. Everything that is happening now is an effect of what has transpired before. People blame the sixteen million people who voted for Duterte, nudging them into taking the blame for his somewhat devil-may-care pronouncements that pass for foreign policy and international relations. People accuse those who placed the Feisty Mayor from Davao of stupidity for putting him there --- but wait! The bigger question is WHY?
Why is a man like Duterte the kind of man sixteen million people would want as president? What has happened to the country ... and the faith of the people to find a need for an astig who insists that he never wanted to be president but was brought by fate to the highest office in the land? Why did the Filipinos entrust the next six years to a man who seems to be the exact anti-thesis of every politician who came before him --- in looks, in packaging, even in his way of speaking?
It is too simplistic of us to blame everything on this man. Remember that he would not be there if there were no overwhelming reasons for sixteen million people to want someone like him to be the Father of the Nation.
Let us not oversimplify equations. This is not about the leader alone --- it is about understanding the people and knowing what they want and how despite all he has done for the past three months that the SWS Surveys show that he still has the high approval of the majority. It is about the bases of their choice and what were the past failures to want and approve of this kind of administration.
No, let us not play the blame game again. That is really, really lame and evasive. Rather, let us filter out the noise and start asking why things are as they are --- and what were the series of events and circumstances in the past to bring us here. History is useless unless there is a sincere effort to analyze rather than to go make a privilege speech and criticize.
Unless we really shut up a bit and start thinking instead of whining, complaining and grandstanding, then this will yet become another exercise in futility. And what is really, really sad is that there seems to be truth in the observation that the Filipinos' greatest enemy is not a foreign conqueror or manipulator or abuser of his manpower and resources. It is his fellow Filipinos who cannot sit down, talk calmly and intelligently and plot out a true and lasting national vision for the future of his country.
That is why I prefer to do my work in the sanctuary of my classroom.
I still believe that the better future that awaits this country is in the next generations of Filipinos who shall choose to stay in this country and forfeit all the dreams of finding a better tomorrow as a naturalized citizen of a foreign land. It is by educating our kids to study what is happening and see our shortcoming that they can understand what a mess we have made during our time.
Maybe we will still be around when these kids become far better leaders than all of us and prove to us that we learned from our mistakes and became stronger and wiser from all that we have gone through.
Only then can this nation with all its seven thousand islands truly be one.