CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/06 June) — People who subscribe to the idea that their family has a right to rule over other families—meaning, the rest of the community—betray an arrogance and an insensitivity that sets them apart from civilized society.
To think of one’s family as entitled to a superior position, enjoying special privilege, in a community of peers, is to presume that one’s family is in a class above everyone else’s.
It is unseemly, to say the least. It insults other families. It shows no respect or loyalty to the community. And it belittles the equal right of others to vie for public office, as if they belong to an inferior caste in politics.
Establishing a ruling dynasty projects an attitude and an intent to monopolize political power and impose family rule by excluding others from contention.
No individual or family in a democracy can claim superior rights over others. Everyone is bound to honor and respect the community and its values, institutions, and traditions—especially the principle of equality of opportunity.
One’s intents and acts must evince a sense of community, therefore, of belonging in it, and of one’s readiness at all times to uphold its well-being. Common good must be the supreme consideration.
To impose dynastic rule over the community or the larger society is wrong. It superimposes the interests of one family or clan over everybody else’s interests.
This violates social harmony and solidarity—the interdependence and interrelationship of citizens and their communities and an awareness of it.
Solidarity binds everyone to do whatever is necessary to bring about the equal sharing of the benefits of freedom and democracy, including opportunities for public service.
The participation of every individual in public life and in decisions that concern him represents an essential element of democracy.
In its insistence on monopolizing the seat of power, a political dynasty deprives others of the opportunity to participate in government or to aspire to public service. It bespeaks absence of statesmanship.
The attitude conjures up the days of indulgent feudal rulers, selfish oligarchs, and medieval monarchies that believed they had a divine right to govern.
Political dynasties are out of place in our democratic age. It dishonors the people’s sovereignty and distorts the functioning of democracy, violating its commitment to openness and fair-play.
Members of a political dynasty should know that insulting the community and offending solidarity shows them to be bereft of statesmanship. To the community, they’re saying: we have a claim to special privilege; to the nation: we claim the right to rule and the rest must follow. Shameless and presumptuous!
It has been very wrong for our society to allow dynastic rule to creep into our political system to the extent that it has. It has stunted our political maturity and caused many jurisdictions to regress and revert to feudal governance.
We cannot allow our political system to drift further away from the democratic tradition. We should apply to politics the same ethical standards that we expect in our personal relations. That is to say, we must adhere to the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you would have others do unto you!
Let us be considerate, not selfish and aggrandizing in pursuing political power. We belong in the same community. Whatever affects one affects the others. And the good fortune of one should be a glad tiding to others.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Manny Valdehuesa is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific, secretary-general of Southeast Asian Publishers Association, director at development academy of Philippines, vice chair of Local Government Academy, member of the Cory Government’s Peace Panel, and PPI-UNICEF awardee for outstanding columnist. Author of books on governance, he is national chairman/convenor of Gising Barangay Movement Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org)