Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Why the hoot!
SCAPEGOATS the likes of “it’s a communist propaganda” or “it’s politically motivated” or, the more recent, “it’s a media hype” are too hackneyed to merit credence, or even just a whimper of attention. They used to sell good during the heyday of Marcos, because during the time of Martial Law there was no way to check the veracity of things except to groan for thy-kingdom-come.
But today with the democratization of all sorts of communication, there is simply no way to slip the truth under the rug. Shortly after Gloria Arroyo and her band left Sirio Maccioni’s Le Cirque at 58th Street in Manhattan, the details of what her group gorged in the menu worth Twenty Thousand Dollars were already circulated in the rooftops of blogs, twits, facebook, and other social networking online communities coming in droves of millions. It was a tsunami of comments and curses from ordinary people who are neither politicians nor communists. And this, not to mention the mainstream media mix of print and broadcast which dedicated hours and hours of primetime on the subject.
Which was why when Malacañang apologists—dominated mostly by Remonde and Macalintal—came to fore in order to spin a win, they looked beleaguered and argued non-sequitors which only got worse when, as habitually expected, they pointed fingers to the media, the communists and the political opposition. Gee, it was like justifying the problem of evil.
A huge amount of money wasted on corruption or lavish government spending seriously means millions of children deprived of classrooms and eventually education; millions of sick people denied of their medicine and health; millions of poor people divested of needed social services and opportunity to earn decent lives; millions of parents leaving their families to get fragmented behind just to find work abroad—and so on and on.
These consequences are pretty heavy. From an economic point of view, the degeneration of a country to penury not purely by global economic fundamentals (because neighboring countries are continually flourishing despite the economic slump of the United States) but largely by the inutility—some call it greed for power and gold—of its leaders is a calculated insolvency in the fashion of Enron or the Lehman Brothers, albeit unbelievably. But here the victims of the financial heist are not the investors but the citizens themselves, the country itself. At the end of the day the question nags, but how can leaders victimize their very own people?
While the destruction of a country’s economy is a national misfortune enough, it still does pale in comparison to the disarray of culture and cultural values. This generation of Filipinos, are still home to the practice of an elder brother or sister working hard and never getting married until all siblings have finished schooling. Or of parents who never buy new clothes for the sake of the children that need new ones. Or of a man who is about to bite his food, but gives it instead to a poor kid looking nearby.
And more values distinctively Filipino that sums up to subjugating one’s needs for sake of the other. Of late, this may have been the reason why, among others, the Philippines saw hundreds of thousands of mourners through many hours of funeral march because people saw in Cory Aquino the homestretch of a vanishing cultural value. In Ninoy and Cory Aquino the value of giving more prominence to the country’s needs more than the wants of their own children, to the common good more than the good of their own selves have become personified.
Today, all these inherent Filipino values are disappearing to smithereens with the current political leaders. Insensitivity is mild. The tagalog “garapal” is more. But just the same, today’s breed of leaders is bunch of whatchamacallit who never gives a hoot to the very people who gave them the hoot in the first place.