HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRIPE-VINE:OUR NEW ABNORMAL
Now that our 2022 elections are done and dusted; the truly worrying part begins. I’ve often said that I don’t envy the ones who were running for the highest office in our land. For along with the victory, will come a plethora of thorny issues and even thornier economic and national debt problems, that would stymie even the greatest of thinkers at the best of times.
The team this new administration will put together will have to be a veritable combination of the Avengers and the Justice League – superheroes in their respective departments and areas of responsibility. The pandemic has put in check the state of our national coffers, plus set back whatever economic gain had been made over the last decade.
I can only hope that our best and brightest will set aside their political differences and join hands to bring this nation forward. I can only hope that our new President will use wisdom and a true assessment of capabilities as the new government is formed, and not just fall back on political favors owed, or the almighty optics. I can only pray that the country we deserve, and want to bequeath to our children and children’s children, will be the framework of how we move forward beyond these elections.
For so many decades now, we’ve been frustrated by how our nation has been beleaguered by a “two steps forwards, three steps backwards” kind of development. And we’ve watched from the sidelines as other Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Singapore, and even Vietnam, have steadily overtaken us in terms of progress, average standard of living, and trickle-down economics. Poverty is still a major issue in our country, and the sad truth is that it can even be seen as a status quo politicians want to retain, as it translates to being able to run for office with a paucity of platform or issues, and depending more on mere name recall and popularity.
In a developing country, democracy will always be a double-edged sword – one example being how the vote of the educated and well-meaning will carry as much weight as the vote of the one living at subsistence level, ready and susceptible for any form of hand out. That’s just the way it is, and now that our “vox populi” has been heard and counted, I just wish our culture of the “sore loser” (pikon), doesn’t raise it’s ugly head.
On Monday, Election Day, I saw posts that were referring to the empanadas created by my fellow Manila Bulletin columnist, Sandy Daza. Proud to call presumptive president BBM a long-time friend (they’ve been friends since the 1970’s), his posts on the political situation had triggered an irrational response that were suggesting and encouraging people to boycott his empanadas. I found that truly silly and “babaw.” His running a business should not be impacted by his political affiliations; in the same manner that if you were supporting any of the other presidentiables, it shouldn’t be held against you. The only question is whether your empanadas are yummy or not. Calling for a boycott, or even suggesting that, reeks of stupidity and small-mindedness.
It may sound like a trivial matter to bring up, but that’s precisely why I mention the sore loser syndrome that this highly charged partisan elections has elicited. Cancel culture on social media is often taken to silly extremes, and if it affects people out to make a living, why should their political affiliations be part of the picture? That’s a crazy way to move forward – and it’s partly reflective of why this country is in the mess it’s in.
To this day, some of these “righteous” continue to act like they hold the monopoly on wisdom and common sense; and will excuse their loss on the stupidity of the electorate. They thereby ignore the fact that they’re preaching to an empty church! The choir loft may be full of those that are like-minded; but they refuse to acknowledge that they’ve lost the congregation in the pews. I hate to be cynical, but sometimes, it’s really just a matter of replacing one set of “the entitled and dynastic” with another set.
And don’t talk to me about sincerity and the call of public service; as while your candidate may possess those attributes, they won’t be ruling alone. It’s the people who surround them and will form the government that may be perpetuating the miserable status quo we’ve been mired in for decades.
There are an abundance and diversity of more important problems facing us. This kind of knee jerk reaction in frustration to what transpired, because our candidate didn’t win, makes no sense at all, and serves no purpose. The unity message BBM espoused was, and is, a potent one. While some critics may call it mere lip service to the concept, BBM now has a wonderful opportunity to live up to his call for unification – and rewrite how history books will treat his surname.