CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/28 December) — Filipino values tell us it is shameful to monopolize something that should be open to all, because ours is an equal opportunity society.
But instead of being ashamed, dynasty-entrenched leaders strut around like peacocks flaunting their ill-deserved honor, social status, and power. They delight in being the lord of a city or province or even a barangay. They have no compunction about arrogating power for themselves to the exclusion of others.
So thick-faced are these so-called leaders that they actually think there’s honor in acquiring political power through a family monopoly. And so corrupted are they that they think nothing of retaining power through electoral manipulation, abuse, or unfair advantage.
Dynastic officeholders cannot comprehend that winning office or holding on to it by virtue of his dynasty’s power and resources is like purchasing a champion’s trophy, then displaying it or showing it around as if it represents excellence and fairness and honest striving on his part.
Blinded by overweening ambition, dynastic officeholders do not see how the honor their office supposedly brings in fact is a testament to their cupidity, selfish ambition, and shamelessness.
Worse, in their hypocrisy and lust for power, they’re unaware of the harm they inflict upon Filipino society as it strives for equality, fairness, and democracy.
Bankrupt Political Values
That dynasties infest the landscape of Philippine politics betrays how bankrupt is the value system of a certain class of Filipinos that already enjoy privileges and undue advantage derived from birth, economic status, or political connection.
Such so-called leaders fancy themselves as the cream of our society; they are in fact the worst for their disrespect and defiance of political and social values our society holds dear.
Dynasties represent an atavistic longing for the kind of governance that is determined by pedigree. A throw-back to our pre-civilized era, they evince a devil-may-care opportunism that seeks personal satisfaction at the expense of the community.
Self-centered and predatory, their intellectual and ethical mindset is antithetical to the democratic spirit. They bastardize instead of enhance democracy, debasing instead of ennobling it. And their dominance in our political system explains why our society has such a dearth of statesmen and honest public servants.
Dynastic officeholders are basically shameless. To them it doesn’t matter that being in office by virtue of family status reflects badly on their character and brands their family with the stigma of selfish opportunism. Nor does it occur to them that cornering political power unfairly is unethical and unbecoming for an educated or honorable person.
Dynastic politics not only tolerates greed, opportunism, and dishonesty in public affairs, it capitalizes on these to aggrandize political and economic benefits.
Exploiting Community Weakness
Dynastic politics takes advantage of the corruptibility of some sectors of the community. It exploits the ignorant and the impressionable. It corrupts the masses, showering them with favors, getting them indebted in exchange for patronage and handout or charitable services.
This sense of indebtedness is readily fostered in people who naively interpret a politician’s service (an obligatory duty and responsibility) as a personal favor to be repaid in votes and campaign support.
It is this mistaken sense of indebtedness that leads simple folk to lionize grandstanding personalities with a flair for self-promotion. They mistake the act of aggrandizing or flaunting power and wealth as a virtue to be emulated. And this accounts for the widespread political corruption at the grassroots, our barangays.
The existence of political dynasties from Aparri to Tawi-Tawi is an indictment against both our society for its naivete` and our dynastic officeholders for their hypocrisy and duplicity about being democrats. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa writes from Cagayan de Oro and is the president and national convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)