Remember On May 14!

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Carabao Square by Gloria
Also published by American Chronicle in a slightly different version; slightly revised 15 May

Or, Corruption Begins At Home

What say the thousands of news items, editorials and columns relating to the government ent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and tomorrow’s mid-term Philippine elections? Mostly Cimmerian, Stygian, Tartarean – never mind what they mean!

After the elections? This is (still) the image in their minds: With GMA, they see dark, foreboding shadows – not intelligence to the left of them, not understanding to the right, not empathy with the past, not insight into the future.

They have an unspoken belief that the future of this country lies in the President.

Even the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines believes the unspoken. The editorial of the Sunday Times (13 May) points out that the CBCP is ‘an organization of bishops out to checkmate the Queen‘ (manilatimes.net).

They forget past and ignore current history. The Queen is merely a figurehead; it is the politicians who dictate on the Queen what to do, the national and local lords and masters.

They focus on the news of the day. The Associated Press insists that GMA has ‘plenty at stake in the Philippines’ midterm elections Monday’ (iht.com). The AP points specifically to the House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings emanate, as the House has twice tried to impeach her for alleged cheating in the 2004 elections, but they didn’t have the numbers. Once enough of her enemies get in, they will kick her out with all their might.

They focus on election cheating. ‘The AJLPP reiterates (its) call for the Filipino people to be vigilant and fight with all their might against … wholesale cheating … in this coming May 14 elections.’

They focus on political dynasties. That is why Carlos Conde reports on ‘family ties (that) bind Philippine government’ (nytimes.com).

They focus on the violence, on the assassinations of political rivals. That is why F San Juan Jr points to a ‘historic showdown in Philippine politics‘ in that after the May elections … the Philippines descends into barbarism’ if GMA candidates win (globalresearch.ca).

They focus on celebrities and rebels running for Senator or Representative. That is why Fabio Scarpello points out that ‘whoever wins in the upcoming elections, ‘it appears that the Philippines’ democracy might be a loser’ (8 May, worldpoliticsreview.com).

If you don’t recognize that the Philippines is the freest democracy in the world today, you don’t understand democracy.

World boxing champion and Philippine national hero Manny ‘PacMan’ Pacquiao is running for Representative in General Santos City; Manny Mogato reports on Pacquiao as saying, ‘I’m not afraid‘ of the death threats to his person, as he challenges ‘a deeply entrenched political family in his hometown’ (abs-cbnnews.com). If you don’t understand that PacMan wants to set an example of a leader, you don’t understand democracy.

To understand, read beyond the news.

Winston A Marbella reports that the ‘nation goes to polls on a wing and a prayer,’ with ‘a million volunteers to watch the polls, do a quick count, and attend to the thousand and one details that make elections work,’ with Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr hoping to announce the winners within 72 hours (inquirer.net).

What they are all trying to say is that these May elections are a joke. And I say: If it’s a joke, laugh!

We Filipinos pray a lot. Winston Marbella has more to say about our prayer this time:

The prayer – mainly for HOPE, or honest, orderly and peaceful elections – will be supplied by millions of the faithful who are heeding the call of Catholic bishops, evangelical church leaders and Muslim leaders.

If they are not faithful to the call, there will not be honest, orderly and peaceful elections, right Winston?

Some 38 million voters, or 86 percent of the 45 million registered, have told pollsters that they intend to vote because their votes will determine the kind of government they will get.

‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ That, ladies and gentlemen, is the crux of the matter. Those pollsters are bringing the wrong message from the people to the leaders. And the wrong message is?

That the future of this country lies in the President. Like GMA. Like Erap.

The pollsters are saying that the people themselves don’t understand democracy.

Democracy is of the people, not leaders. My American Heritage Dictionary tells me democracy is from the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (strength, power): power to the people!

The Filipinos redefined that into People Power in 1986. But they didn’t go far enough. In practical terms, watching the polls and being vigilant about cheating is a proper exercise of democracy – for democracy must be exercised. In the presence of physical threat to life, liberty or limb, it is a heroic act.

But that is not democracy enough.

Abraham Lincoln put it perfectly in just a few words when he spoke of a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The future of this country lies in the people doing their part. You complain of government officials stealing, and steal from the office. You complain of corruption, and pay off the police for a traffic violation. You pay the accountant to hide your net worth. You pay the judge to rule in your favor. You pay the customs man to get your goods out and not pay duties. You pay the official to get a project. You corrupt the minds of the youth, not to mention the young ladies.

You are contributing your best to the corruption of your country.

Education in honesty – and therefore against corruption – begins at home. After the Home, it becomes the duty of the School. After the School, it becomes the duty of the Church. Rampant corruption in society means so many failed homes, so many failed schools, so many failed churches.

Don’t point at others, because when you do, three fingers are pointing at you. So? I’m pointing at me!

 

Copyright 13 May 2007 by Frank A Hilario
Researched for, written, organized-reorganized & formatted via Microsoft Word 2003.

 

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