#Halalan2016: Managing the stress out of this mess called the Philippines

A LONGTIME friend posted on Facebook: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Your résumé may look good on paper, but can you deliver? Can you untangle this mess, cleanse our institutions, inspire and lead us to do our bit for the motherland, and bring us hope for a better future for our children? Will you not sell us out to corporate sharks at the expense of our health and safety? Do you have the political will to make unpopular decisions that may be of benefit to most of us long-term? Looking at my options, I can’t find one perfect candidate who has all the qualities and qualifications I would like our president to possess. So, something’s gotta give.”

The now call him #dodirty? Images from Tribune, Philnews, manila Bulletin and Rappler

The now call him #dodirty? Images from Tribune, Philnews, manila Bulletin and Rappler

With this she summarized the stress that engulfs many. This was posted immediately after the latest blasts from the mouth of Rody Duterte in his proclamation exposures including, but not limited to, his tirade against Pope Francis. “Oh no!” was the collective sigh. Haven’t we had enough of Jojo Binay’s dynastic plunder, Mar Roxas’ mindless epalizing, Miriam Santiago’s insane intellectualizing and Grace Poe’s tear jerking telenovela that we have to add for our consideration this philandering thug?

Months ago I wrote that our political reality is that we have a field of bad choices and only from this can we choose the best bad choice. Because of this many of us are thrown into much despair – that feeling for the loss of hope and inspiration for a brighter future for us and our children and our children’s children.

But are we all just getting caught in our own social media driven drama? That whatever the outcome of the 2016 elections the oligarchs who comprise less than one percent of the population and hold 99.9 percent of wealth and capital in this country will weasel their way into the corridors of Malacañang, Congress and the Judiciary and rule our lives anyway?

In fact, even now as the 2016 elections are just around the corner they are reading off their playbook, influencing events and conditioning thinking to the desired outcomes. In my previous post I half jokingly wrote about this master plan. As the days progress I must admit I am more convinced that indeed this country’s political and economic elite are making sure that they can perpetuate their cacique ways.

The latest Duterteisms are a big push for this agenda. He appeals to the nasty and rowdy EDSA Tres (3) forces, that movement of “the great unwashed” (to borrow the idiom) who trooped to EDSA and defiled that sanctuary of the yellow ribbon forces – the polite society of EDSA 1 and 2 –  for having unseated Joseph “Erap” Estrada and installed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

With this Duterte entry the cacique puppet masters hope to scare the pants off the ordinary, social media connected upper and middle classes and have a consolidation of their forces. With this, plus the consolidation of other social and political tools – the “equity of the incumbent”, unaudited logistics and resources from the highest office of the land, support from that less than one percent of the population who holds 99.9 percent of economic power – these caciques are almost sure of the prized vote conversions. Remember, a big portion of the masa vote, especially in the far reaches of this country, are dictated by their political leaders.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin. The Commission on Elections came out with these following statistics in the last 2013 national elections:

Total number of voters: 57,427,051
Total Voter Turnout: 44,664,218
Average Voter Turnout: 81.18%

You can turn these statistics around every which way, just like the great job GMANews did in analyzing where the mass of votes were coming from comparing 2013 pre-election stats with the 2010 election results. But what these numbers do show us is the truly massive voice that the people have in determining their future sans the manipulation of the few standing at the tip of the pyramid. That is the dream.

So how do we mix the dream with the reality that stands before us? Perhaps we should first dial our drama down, manage our social media stress and look again at our choices from a different light. Social commentator and GetReal.com blogger Paul Farol has simplified the process with a mix of personality, character and issue oriented one liners. Our choices, he posted on Facebook, are thus (translations mine):

  1. Drunken Dictator Wannabe
  2. Magnanakaw (Thief)
  3. Inutil (Inutile or useless)
  4. Baliw (Crazy or insane or lunatic)/ terminal cancer in remission
  5. Pulot (Foundling)/ American Citizen

This succinct characterization of the presidential candidates gives us a clear picture of what our choices really are and what lies ahead in terms of our leadership and governance. Having realized this we should just take a deep breath and dive into our choice, not worrying about the consequences. That’s because the consequences – the way are to be governed and how this will affect all of us for the rest of our lives – will be the result of either of two things AND only of these two things:

  1. be dictated anyway by the people who pull the strings, all the way up, on the tip of the pyramid; or
  2. Be dictated by the one elected who decides to topple the less than one percent that sits on the tip of the pyramid by destroying the pyramid altogether.

Note that Ferdinand E. Marcos proclaimed that he was doing that in declaring Martial Law – destroying the rule of the oligarchs – but instead of demolishing the pyramid ended up sitting on top of it, creating a new oligarchy.

The solution isn’t radical at all. It has been staring us at the face for millennia.

Jon W. Quinn writes in “Jesus the Revolutionary”:

Our world has witnessed many revolutions, but none quite so profound as that which divided human history itself into two parts: B.C. and A.D. Very seldom have there been bloodless revolutions, and this one was not entirely bloodless either. Jesus shed His own blood to bring about needed change. But it is important to understand the kind of revolution Jesus brought about.

It was not a political revolution at all. Some of the disciples had wanted that kind of revolution. They wanted a revolt against Rome. But that is not what Jesus’ mission was all about. The church’s business is not political, at least not if that church is faithful to the Lord’s purpose. Neither is it economic or cultural in nature. It was not a social revolution. Today many religious leaders emphasize these things, but Jesus did not. Changes may be needed in these areas, but that is not why Jesus died on the cross.

Jesus’ mission had to do with sin. It was sin that estranged men and women from God, and is the origin of all kinds of problems, including ultimate separation from God which is eternal death (Romans 6:23). Jesus’ birth began a sequence leading unto salvation from sin (Matt. 1:21). He lived His life and then gave His life to save the lost (Matt. 18:11). His blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28).

You see, Jesus had to do with reforming what was inside of us. To change hearts and lives. To prepare us for life, for death, and for life everlasting.

Go forth and vote.

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