Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Of Aspirations, Of Constitutions

Constitutions are enduring documents. They are testaments of a people's mission and vision, their aspirations and their hopes and their unwaivering resolve for a future of their choosing. These should be the reasons why we must throw away the 1987 Constitution, write a new document that reflects our desire for the future.

The 1987 Constitution was a document of its time and every right and wrong that has been done since its inception was a direct by product of its wisdom. Aptly nicknamed “the Freedom Constitution”, it speaks of the power of the oligarchy, as it sought to balance socialism (because of our society's strong religious ties) and democracy--- equality for all. Yet as this was the intent, the language and the means has only empowered an Oligarchy, and has driven a mindless socialism and misguided sense of freedom and heavy reliance on Government and influence, instead of hard work and talent.

The 1987 Constitution is not a very easy document to read. It is a lengthy piece of brilliance because it sought to incorporate such ideals as setting onto stone government policy on education, which should be beyond its purview. It mandated the formation of a national police, one that should have been relegated to law and spent a half meant initiative to empower local government thus further set in motion the Republic's greater reliance on Imperial Manila. These are but the tip of an iceberg of items that should not be in such a fundamental document that may be addressed by laws. All it does is limit future generations in addressing their circumstance.

In its brilliance, the 1987 Constitution laid down a Bill of Rights--- appropriately reflecting on individual rights. Yet as that was laid down, the luminaries failed in their understanding of human nature and did not lay into stone our duties and responsibilities for each other, thus setting to motion a society hellbent on anarchy and selfishness. Thus the dignity of every individual that is the cornerstone of the human race's idealism is misplaced in our society because there isn't any responsibility that each individual must carry out. Though of course every society, person can fall into such a trap--- it is the status quo and every citizen and every people has been endeavoring to break it since the dawn of human civilization. Our people must do a better job in struggling to break such shackles.

The framers perhaps in their hope to establish a more perfect society sought these rights and at the time of its writing and for the past twenty years, we do not doubt its appropriateness. Yet this nation has reached a moment, a crossroad because this Constitution is inappropriate to meet the challenges of the future and our people's need to mature and go beyond mere idealism.

As such, a Constitution for Filipinos must accept our past and our present circumstance and it must lay the foundation for our vision of our collective future. It must show brevity as it must be read and construed by every Filipino. It must give the gift to every generation to dream, to break chains, to explore and experiment within ourselves, and allow every generation to make their own choices for themselves and for our progeny. It must be ambiguous with details and free flowing to meet the unknowns of the future and yet it must not be queazy on issues we all agree on: the preservation of the dignity of every individual which is founded on the guidance of responsibility and civility.

Our emancipation begins when we have determined that we are willing to take into our hands the means to create our own destiny--- not limited by our people's pedestrian angst over colonial mentality or nationalism or that we are today or ever have been an oppressed people. We get over it! Our future is just over the next horizon! Emancipation begins when we rise above our mediocrity and struggle to be more than who we are and let that become the cornerstone of our Republic and let that be the gift we give future progeny. It was more poetically stated by the Itallian Pico della Mirandola who said: Above all, we should not make that freedom of choice God gave us into something harmful, for it was intended to be to our advantage. Let a holy ambition enter into our souls; let us not be content with mediocrity, but rather strive after the highest and expend all our strength in achieving it.” Our Constitution, our guide for future generations ought to reflect these ideals and not mediocrity.