CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/16 May) — Did we just have successful elections? No. A mixed success at best; remains to be seen to what extent it could be called a success.
Is it a time for celebration? No. It is time for circumspection and discernment as to where our society and political system are headed.
It is now over a century of so-called independence (since 1898) and over half a century since the umbilical cord of U.S. tutelage (since 1946) was severed.
Can we already say we have a democracy? No. We have a nominal democracy at best. What can one expect of a nation of nominal Christians, nominal Muslims, and nominal most other things? Nominal citizens of a nominal democracy, of course!
Otherwise, how does one account for the absence of real political parties, of nominating conventions, of nomination formalities? How justify substituting dynastic surrogates or a gang of conspirators for party faithful? How explain unworthy scions of self-proclaimed trapos as candidates?
Were there qualifying standards, debates, a pledge or declaration of patriotic service? Was ever an oath of allegiance to the Constitution or to the Flag intoned? How explain rampant, shameless, gross resort to vote-buying in a democracy? There is so little to celebrate!
But there are lots to be gnashing and grinding one’s teeth about. Lots to regret, to sigh over, to exclaim: what a pity! Pity naman! Maawa naman kayo!
Pity our body politic, now thoroughly encrusted with political dynasties that pitilessly feed upon the infirmity of a still-evolving political system.
Pity our people, ignorant and politically immature, clueless about their power as the wellspring of sovereignty and government authority, upon whose choices hinge the destiny of our nation.
Pity our community, badly organized, its resources blithely exploited, the popular will readily molded like putty by manipulators.
Pity democracy, trashed by unscrupulous trapos with insatiable appetite for power and pelf.
Pity our political system, starved of statesmen and stately women, firmly in the grip of vested interests.
Pity our Republic, hostage to corrupt, rent-seeking sectors that turn politics into family enterprise and economics into monopolies.
Pity our culture, victim of plunder and barbarism by opportunists and hypocrites with a hammer-lock on state resources.
But no pity for the corrupt and the venal who will not be denied their pound of flesh, who will buy their way to office with cash, kind, or whatever.
Lots of pity for our youth, though, the next generation, victims of their elders’ stupidity.
Pity too for our countryside, playground of predatory insurgents that victimize simple folk, sowing anarchy, wreaking havoc on a still-to-be-civilized polity.
Pity for ourselves, unable to forge consensus, bereft of political will, failing to organize effectively, helpless against predatory public servants.
Pity for leaders bankrupt of patriotism, incapable of scaling heights of statesmanship.
Pity for the worker and the farmer, without real representation, unable to obtain his due, deprived of attention and a fair share of the national wealth.
Pity for the economy, captive of oligarchs, plutocrats and rent-seeking cacique.
Pity for the future, already mortgaged to Taipans and Masons and multinationals.
Pity for the Party System, drowning in an alphabet-soup of indeterminate, greedy interest groups.
Pity for bona fide party-lists that provide ersatz legitimacy for Communist fronts that rake in billions in pork to finance armed insurgency in order to topple legitimate, democratic government.
Pity for the so-called mainstream parties, bereft of platform, principle or ideology, with no worthy champions, failing miserably to provision our democracy with a pool of committed democrats and civil servants.
Overall, Pity for the Philippines and countless Filipino citizens that toil from afar to rescue the homeland from the depredations of all the above! [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. ([email protected])]