May 15, 2019
A REPRESENTATIVE democracy serves the common good best when citizens are wise, mature and thoughtful. Recently, Dr. George V. Carmona defended his JSD dissertation at San Beda and developed the concept of “earned sovereignty.” While we eagerly and jealously make bold claims in the name of democracy and sovereignty, we must earn it. And the question is whether or not, by the choices we have made, we deserve democracy.
Digong’s endorsement makes a difference — whether we hate admitting it or not. And the continuing appeal of Digong, despite his rudeness, his uncouth manners, his vicious attacks on established religion — particularly the Catholic Church — his shady relations with women, is a matter that social theorists and phenomenologists must study with greater attention. I read it as a rebellion against the established order of things, a snub of pretensions at righteousness, a challenge to traditional centers of power — the bourgeois, the intelligentsia, the Church, even the universities.
Without a doubt, people like Romy Macalintal and Chel Diokno deserved to be in the Senate — but I think that their undoing was their labeling as “the opposition” and worse, their association with the detested Yellow cabal. One thing is clear: The Yellows are so detested that their support and endorsement constitute fatal contagion.
As a priest, one of my priorities would be the evangelization of government. Thus far, most of those who won were not among the “chosen ones” of many of our bishops and lay leaders. I repeat: the CBCP never endorsed any slate or list of candidates — and for this, it must be admired. But clearly, most of those whom many bishops preferred to be elected were not elected, and rather than turning its back on government, it will serve the Kingdom of God for the Church to endeavor to evangelize government.
The “town” and “gown” fisticuffs of eras past has taken a new form. Universities have a subculture of their own that seems distant from that of the communities around them. Not that that is bad, but that the universities should have a greater impact on the countryside beyond its exalted precincts. The average Filipino does not speak the language of the university — and that might not be necessary. It might not even be possible. But when the sentiments of the town are so distant from those who wear the gown, then what we have is the undesirable scenario of islands of enlightenment in the midst of communities that go by idle talk and empty chatter.
Then there is the crucial point that media establishment endeavored strenuously to demolish Imee Marcos’ credibility by reviving the ghosts of martial law and going the extra mile of asking UP and Princeton to clarify her allegedly fraudulent academic credentials. None of this seemed to matter to her supporters. This says a lot about what media is NOT and what a popular base IS.
Finally — but still related to an earlier point — we have overestimated the so-called “youth vote.” I am not completely surprised by this, because I have long observed that while we idealize the youth as that sector of our blighted community going by the light of undimmed ideals and blazing zeal, many of them in fact are card-bearing, partisan conscripts, and those who are not do not impress the larger population as credible, but are written off as consistently bickering, if not detestable obstructionists.
But all these thoughts the morning after are things we should talk about more and are certainly open to revision in the wake of further phenomena still to emerge and more phenomenological thoughtfulness on my part that must still follow.
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