Tuesday, January 30, 2007

so what else is new?

THERE'S NOTHING like elections, more so in the Philippines, to brew a mixed-up slop of hope and cynicism. Nothing like the campaigns, too, to make eyeballs roll as we become witness to a circus of political antics that unravel like a rerun of a primetime slapstick. With your indulgence, here's a reprint of my column in the opinion page of today's issue of Sun.Star Cebu:


Here We Go Again

AS far as fad goes, foot massage is up for a peak season. Beware of varicose veins like forks of lightning burning down the soles on the heels of fancy footwork en route to the razzle-dazzle for the May polls.

Bite your toenails, yes. Or, hide. Legs will be pulled, and there’ll be a riot among those out to take all the voters for a ride. Been there, done that. So goes the chorus of the candidates and the electorate: Let us try again. Until we succeed, sigh.

Really, how far have we gone with the wind of politicians since elections were invented? Talk about democratic exercise, and those flexing up lip service about public interest have often succeeded in buffing up the sphincters and putting up more layers of callus in their faces.

Then again, aren’t most of our politicians merely mirroring who we are as we end up with our feet in our mouths after stomping and swearing of the sanctity of our right to vote?

How long do we allow ourselves to wallow before finding the so-called way to Damascus? How ready are we to take the high road beyond the same old tricks?

Of those running for any of the 17,000 positions in the national and local levels, who are out to keep us running in circles? Or, who among them can inspire us to go beyond the boredom of cynicism? So far, ho-hum.

Last Sinulog, for instance, we saw a few prospective senatorial candidates gracelessly getting in sync with the piety of the festival. There’s a time for everything, we’re told. But the timing simply sucks, period.

Here at the homefront, we hear of local bets flaunting their generosity, doling out PhilHealth cards to the needy as if such act of charity would be a dog-bites-man phenomenon outside the election season.

It’s refreshingly startling, therefore, when a candidate makes no bones about it. “It is not misconstrued,” replied Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña when told that his plan to give out 35,000 PhilHealth cards might be seen as a form of politicking. “It is what it is.”

At the risk of running on empty, any candidate is expected to put the best foot forward. Where have we been all along if we thought otherwise?

And if we voters have what it takes to search for a brain, a heart, and courage—not only from the candidates but also from ourselves—might as well brace for the bumps down the Yellow Brick Road. Wising up, as Dorothy and her friend realized in the end, meant finding out the wizard was just, well, pulling their legs. But, after all their ordeal, what a kick of a reality check!

1 comment:

jase said...

Hi Mike

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Thanks.