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Thursday, February 15, 2007

what's next

In the Philippines, we don't care much about laws. We dodge taxes, we cut lines, we erect entire neighborhoods in places, people don't own and they by law are expected to be “relocated properly, with pay”. Believe you me or not, it happens the roughly the same way in Italy.

Perhaps we learned it from American ideas--- the notion of civility, and this yearning for a more gentlemanly way of life. “If people only followed more rules. If only laws are obeyed!” We lament. We need only to watch the movie “The Patriot” or “Master and the Commander” to see how gentlemen were expected to conduct war two centuries ago, and we only need to look around us to see, not everyone will adhere to such rules of civility. The Order we yearn to impose simply goes against culture, and of human instinct and an Asian tradition of family ties.

Perhaps the better question is, what is it do we want as a people? Isn't that a better barometer of how good or bad our Republic is?

Grand Coalition and Team Unity have been formed, playing on the weather the politicians perceive as truth. It is... a pseudo attempt to return to a “two party” system, “us versus them”. Nothing like rivalry and a common foe to battle that draws a crowd together. Does it light passion in the same way old timers would feel for their “Toyota v. Crispa,” game? Is its intensity the same way for an Alum of the Green and White banner like myself would feel akin seeing our colors playing any basketball game against the Blue Eagles?

A defeat of the Arroyo's is a referendum against the President and a vindication of Estrada's. Is it that simple? What exactly are Mrs. Arroyo's political principles? What exactly are Mr. Estrada's principles? Both arguably the two power holders in our Nation's political landscape. Is that our screwed notion of political parties? Can we separate the two camps like the GOP or the Democrats?

Who amongst our candidates and political parties is for civil liberties, social freedoms, equal rights, equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility, free enterprise? Who believes that it is a government's role to alleviate poverty and social justice, i.e. Big government and a progressive taxation to pay for social services?

Who is socially conservative and economically liberal?

Who has taken a moderate-to-liberal social/cultural position on political issues and neo-liberal ones on fiscal issues?

What does the “Opposition” offer? “Good Governance,” they said. What exactly is that? On the one hand, what does the “Administration” say: “strong economic numbers”?

Senate aspirant Escudero said in an Inquirer interview he is for this: “For Filipinos working abroad, Escudero said he would push for their protection and security, fair terms of employment, and forward-looking policies to predict labor demands from abroad.” On one hand he said: “Who abandoned the impeachment process in 2001? Who between us abandoned the constitutional process?”

We move forward, we go back.

EDSA 2 was a mistake, isn't that why we are all pushing for an election this May? Because either circumventing our Constitutional processes or boycotting the May 2007 election (however it may seem imperfect such election would be) will not move this country forward.

“Unity,” is such a cliche.

We should really take a page out of “the Toyota Way”. This is from a New York Times article: “Mutual ownership of problems,” is one slogan. Other tenets include “genchi genbutsu,” or solving problems at the source instead of behind desks, and the “kaizen mind,” an unending sense of crisis behind the company’s constant drive to improve.”

The inquirer has a CV of Aquilino Pimentel III and they have a podcast interview with him. Good of the inquirer to do this. I like the idea of the CV and i hope they feature all the candidates. i'll listen to the podcast during my spare time. It would be nice though, if the good people of the inquirer would be able to provide it though iTunes--- so it'll be easier to download, and automatically sync with my ipod. i don't want to be clicking and checking everyday to see if they have a new one. (and yes i already sent them an email about it).

I don't want to vote with the idea--- a straight vote for the Opposition is a chastisement of Arroyo and a vote of confidence for Estrada. I don't want to vote with the idea that a Vote for the Administration is a vote of confidence for Mrs. Arroyo and a lack thereof for Mr. Estrada. Quite frankly, I found during Mr. Estrada's time he exercised his Powers with hubris. I didn't think anyone could top that but Mrs. Arroyo's exercise of Power is in excess of Mr. Estrada's. I find their way distasteful.

Are we poor?

We see children dying everyday. We see unemployed men in the streets wasting in drink and in games. We see how many of our people are poor. Yet equally, our people strive to find jobs. They sacrifice and go abroad. If you think such mentality is limited to Indians and Filipinos, think again.

People everywhere migrate and work for greener pasture. It is the way of the world. Our answer for a better Country? Our people have been doing it already. Our people strive to make ends meet here, no different from any nation or country in the world. Filipino parents send their kids to school. Filipinos have jobs here and they spend here and they have fun here. It isn't a perfect world and it is the nature of our world to build on the shoulders of what has come before. Could it be better?

Doesn't the sun set at night and rise in the morning?

MLQ's column puts evaluating candidates in perspective. an interesting thing:

There are certain things about modern life -- and running a modern state -- that limit the options of those in power, or those who claim to wield ultimate power. Specifically, in recent years, we’ve seen that what a credit rating agency like Fitch or Standard & Poor says seems to matter more than what the Filipinos actually think. No one elected Fitch et al. Yet they have a veto power over both government and public opinion.

There has been little practical difference between the policies of every government after an Edsa People Power uprising because there are certain things no responsible government can abandon (devotion to the free market, private property, etc.) but each government emphasizes various programs differently, because each administration comes to power on the shoulders of a constituency, which it has to please to keep its hold on power. But even as it tries to do this, a government is regularly subjected to the judgment of all; and all things being equal, this means portions of the whole will have a larger role to play come election time than other parts of the whole.

what mlq has said is true. politics is an art of compromise and there are myriad considerations in our modern world especially running a country. it is conventional wisdom. I agree to that way of thinking that those are the facts but you know what, we should just screw it: "things are they are because thats how it is." this is exactly one of the fundamental things our people and our leaders specifically lack: how do you take what we've been given and innovate? break conventional wisdom and to borrow an Apple slogan, "think different".

I do not know what others look for in their candidates. I do not know if there are candidates running have what I'm looking for. If not? I'll fall on Ockham's Razor: entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. Put simply: I'll pick the closest ones. This is what I am looking for: people with progressive ideas, people who can answer these simple questions. (1) "how can we make this a better country, (2) how do we make better lives?" and (3), I am looking for people who can answer: what's next.

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