Philippine politics 2021/2022: Partisan and parting (aka send in the clowns)

Published October 17, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPEVINE: OUR NEW ABNORMAL

Philip Cu Unjieng

Let’s be honest, we are such an immature nation when it comes to politics. We’re onion-skinned, fiercely partisan, and ready to part with the best of friends over political affinities. Our political landscape is personality and cash-driven, supported by the pillars of fame, name recall, and how much largesse is spent. As with all things in the world, there are exceptions to those sweeping opening sentences; but by and large, I will stand by what I said.

This will be our first pandemic election, when the COVID-response of our government may, or may not be, a crucial factor in how people will decide who to vote for. And I say that with all conviction, because if our recent history will teach us anything, it’s that issues don’t always matter to the great majority who are voting. Look at the 2020 US election; sure Biden won, but let’s not forget it was that close, and over 70 million voters still wanted Trump for another four years. And the breakdown of our voting public is a sobering lesson for those who think educated and middle-class choices count.

Profiling of the Filipino voting population, and what’s missing is the 13 percent of socio-economic status E.

Fortunately for me, my column today doesn’t even have to talk about the candidates directly to live up to it’s title. The “clowns” are the partisan supporters of these candidates, and how they prove my point about our toxic immaturity. And for fun, I’ll sprinkle this column with quotes that should resonate with so many of you. Choose your favorite, and let me know which struck a chord!

“Your friends will believe in your potential, your enemies will make you live up to it.”Tim Fargo

But what if your potential is to exhibit ignorance and stupidity? Belittling the Nobel Peace Prize is just lame. When it was announced that Maria Ressa was sharing this year’s prize with Dmitry Muratov, a Russian journalist, I was surprised that she was being quoted as “speechless.” If anything, the two should have thanked Duterte and Putin; for without them, those prizes would have never been won. But while I expected a reaction from the Duterte die-hards, even I was surprised by how banal it was. The likes of Barrack Obama, Kofi Annan, and Nelson Mandela are past winners, and you’ll compare it to the Oscars or Miss Universe? A simple Google search would have yielded that before you come up with some knee-jerk diatribe.

Interesting, true sidebar story here; but did you know Swede Alfred Nobel (1833-1889) was an inventor/industrialist who, at one time, held over 355 patents, and is credited with inventing modern explosives, and the warfare that sprung from that invention? When his brother Ludvig passed away, some media outlets mistakenly thought it was Alfred, and a number of the obituaries described him as a “merchant of death.” Shaken by how he was being written about, Alfred Nobel decided he wanted to leave a better legacy, and from there sprung his philanthropy and the Nobel Prizes, which commenced in 1901.

“I can be on guard against my enemies, but God deliver me from my friends.”Charlotte Bronte

Mind you, the other side had its own “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episodes. Placing the name of Leni Robredo beside Hidilyn Diaz and Maria Ressa was “exagg.” Diaz has brought us the Olympic Gold Medal, and Ressa the Nobel Peace Prize; Leni’s filing her COC just doesn’t equate. Lighting up the social media accounts of a select community isn’t in the same class of achievement. I think we should wait until the 2022 elections are over before we can attribute monumental victories to all three.

Then there were the buildings lit up in pink from Oct. 4 for Breast Cancer Awareness, being co-opted to signify support for Leni, when we know she filed on Oct. 7. That’s disingenuous at the very least, and tells me your side could also be taught lessons in fact-checking and credibility.

“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.”Benjamin Franklin

Some quarters ask me who I support, who I’ll vote for. And I’m not keeping this close to my chest. Come election-time, I’m going to ask my three sons (eldest is now 30, youngest is 22) who they’re voting for, and I’ll cast my vote in support – hoping that at least two of them are for the same candidate. This election is about them, and their future. I’m 66 years old, and we’ve either gifted them with a national legacy that’s something worthwhile, or we screwed it up for them. So 2022 should be about where they want to go, and who will lead them. Win or lose, I want to let them know I’m supporting their voice, and choice.

“I burned my bridges, so the devil couldn’t follow me.”L.M. Browning

 
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