The Dark Days Ahead

by Jose Ma. Montelibano

The very exercise which citizens depend on to effect change has become one of the most suspect. I speak of elections, automated or otherwise, and the Commission On Elections or Comelec.

The very body which stands as the last resort before justice is totally abused cannot sustain a high credibility with the people. I speak of the Supreme Court.

The very institution mandated to protect the republic and the democracy it has chosen to stand on is seen as a tool of its own commander-in-chief who has achieved being the most unpopular and untrustworthy of all Philippine presidents.

What, then, does the future hold for us? How, then, can decaying morals and ethics find a fresh whiff of integrity and nobility? How much lower can a people and nation fall before the shame of dishonesty and thievery awakens the comatose integrity and honor of the Filipino race?

Last week, I asked if Filipinos are for sale. Comments from readers mostly said that, indeed, Filipinos are for sale.

With so many things working against hope and change, the near future does not look bright at all. In fact, there seems to be only dark days ahead. People have cause to be alarmed when hope for change is dampened by the vulgar use of money to buy a people’s favor, the vulgar use of power and authority to insist on one’s ways even if, like fart, it emits a foul odor although invisible.

Billions are being spent, and more will follow, to get the poor to believe in propaganda. Yet, the hunger of the poor is real, with the last quarter of 2009 registering the worst hunger incidence in record Philippine history. To mitigate the hunger of the stomach, people are deliberately led to fantasize, hoping to win money and houses in game shows. The billions for food do not come, only billions to further blind the minds of the hungry from the truth of scandalous spending in the face of shameful need.

One year ago, a black man defied the odds, history and culture to win the presidency of the champion of democracy. The world celebrated what could pass as miraculous. The world found an icon symbolizing change. Filipinos were not an exception. Many looked to Barack Obama as the antithesis of Gloria Arroyo and hoped he would continue to ostracize her as he seemed to do in the beginning. They may have been right, but incompletely so.

Filipinos must slap themselves on the face to jolt themselves out of a romantic stupor and illusion. America is for America, as any proud and powerful country would be. It would be par for the course if the United States openly moved to protect or promote its own interests. However, the United States also tries to pose as the hero of democracy, an image that challenges the US government endlessly. Democracy is a noble state. It is not achieved by gimmickry or image-building. It is the hypocrisy of the America government, including its highest officers in the White House, that comes into play when it is not honest enough to admit it wants to load the dice in its favor.

Those who believed that Barack Obama is the antithesis of Gloria Arroyo may have been right, but they failed to understand that the US Presidency is hostage to US interests, even if such interests counter democratic principles. America must want something in the Philippines that overrides its desire to be known and seen as the global statue of liberty. This can be the only reason why Obama would turn from cold to warm in his treatment of Gloria Arroyo.

The desire of America for the Philippines has many motivations and permutations. But if one will take a map of the world, a map of Asia, and a map of the Philippines, there will be many hints as to the strategic location of ouer beautiful islands. If one has the eye of the satellites and can penetrate earth and water, more hints will be discovered. Defense and natural resources are critical benefits that powerful countries do not usually disregard.

Exploited from within by traitors and exploited from the outside by sharks, the motherland has no choice but lean on her children who have not forgotten the wisdom of their forefathers and the bravery of their warriors. How much honor and pride remains alive in the hearts of Filipinos, most especially the poor, the weak, the sick and the hungry?  Can those who need the most find a buried nobility and bravery to rise against injustice and apathy?

There are a few who do not believe that the older generation will live long enough to see change take root in our society. They choose to lean on pessimism and despair, pointing to negative instances of reality which have dominated our political landscape. What they have seen are true and now form part of our history. Yet, what they have not seen is true as well, the idealism of the young, their emerging nobility, and a deep-seated desire to build a better world.

Technology and mobility have allowed Filipinos to see what the rest of the world have, or do not have. Filipinos see the best and the worst, a comparison of which prods them to go for the light against a prevailing darkness. And when Filipinos as a people feel impotent or afraid to risk change of any kind than no change at all, they witness other people around the world face death rather than live in perpetual fear. Fear is more easily set aside when there are models of heroism to show the fearful of options open to them.

This is what I believe, that the attraction of the light will make us reject the darkness, that the promise of dignity and honor will weigh more heavily than the fear of pain or death, that our young will respond to an inner calling for heroism and generosity more than the temptation of power and wealth. There are dark days ahead, but they will seed the burst of sunlight of a new beginning.

There is always a philosophy for lack of courage. — Albert Camus

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