Saturday, March 01, 2008

Will You Contrive to Change a Broken Republic?

I was reading through Mamutong's post, "Protest Culture-- Veering Towards Postmodernism" and his insight into this may be quite true.

Part of the link on protest culture that struck me the most was this:

Bruce Ettinger: Why haven’t there been effective protests about the Iraq war?

Clay: Some things are so completely about the issue that the mechanism gets lost. So I didn’t write about Iraq war protests. How did it come to be that in a democracy when an enormous percentage of the population dislikes a specific targeted policy, how were we unable to affect that policy? That was the background question I started with. That’s a big mystery but in a way it has as much to do with the checks and balances in the constitution as it does with any of the social tools. I suppose the mesage is that it’s possible to have a set of institutions so fully entrenched and defeneded from outside influence that there is no mechanism for altering their behavior during the normal course of operations. As an American, this is the darkest hour I’ve lived through. I’m not optimistic that even really imaginative, widely adopted beliefs, even with the social tools, can do much.

The same can be said about ZTE and GMA, can we not? The sequel to People Power has created a system so entrenched, so institutionalized, as to nullify extra-constitutional approaches to changing Government. But that's not evil.

What's evil is that this has resulted in institutionalizing a system of perfect checks and balances that breaks the airing of grievances, that fortifies the status quo. This institution is the result of People Power's sequel of breaking the use of impeachment as an instrument for airing grievances. This system has thrown out the perfect balance of power between the three branches of our government and strengthens only the Executive. This is the sentiment aired by Philippine Commentary in a number of posts about the Supreme Court and Executive Orders issued by Arroyo's Government. I share his opinion.

Simply put, we find not only protest action but society in general has entered a postmodernist worldview.

Much of our people can't go beyond this. They can't accept the implications of that failed sequel to People Power. They can't or haven't been able to wrap their minds around it. With much respect, it is why the Opposition offers nothing more than protest, nothing more than a burst of emotion, of outrage, of vehemence no matter how our people as a whole is repulsed by the staggering decadence our society now find itself in.

"Resign Gloria" is a must. It is automatic to call for someone's resignation amidst this madness. It is like "the forms must be obeyed" response. Even knowing that it would be idiotic of Mrs. Arroyo to do so. In her place, after all, we each would not yield the only protection she and her family has--- power. 

This is the elephant in the room: the price of the perversion of what was the first People Power is that the kid gloves are off. It is this same elephant, this feeling of being threatened or worst that is driving the recklessness, the wild abandon by which Arroyo's government is willing to dare all, with fewer and fewer restraints.

Posts like "It's not apathy, it's timing" by Ang Kape ni LaTtEX, and many of my own similar sentiments in The Permanent Revolution of People Power and in Power and Leadership stems from a desire for proof of sincerity from Lozada and his political backers to enact real change. Lozada is saying the right things, but so does Mrs. Arroyo (even though fewer and fewer people believe her). See, our people have been burned too many times by false prophets.

That could change.

Lozada is a superstar. Lozada has that everyman appeal of Erap Estrada and the potential of what Estrada could have been for people. With an opposition so leaderless, his very presence with his everyman status, he can be the one that bridges the masses and the shattered political power behind him. The opposition need no longer look for a banner to rally around with. He can be that banner. If his political backers let him. If he has the guts to be a game changer. If he has the guts to lead. Lozada can be a JFK. Lozada can be the Filipino Obama.

Greatness can be thrust upon you just like that.

A political movement driven by change, with a clear and mindful view of what that change will be and actually will be with two years of battle testing will be unstoppable in 2010. It serves five purposes. First, our people get to know Lozada and the concreteness of his and his movement's devotion to change. Second, it enables Lozada and his political backers to mobilize the army of followers they have, battle testing them for the road beyond 2010. Third, it creates a "team" from the left to the right to the center unified in their devotion, battle tested together creates a unified force made up of different ideologies and interests, which is perhaps more important to the grand scale of things. Fourth, it may create a truly grassroots political party unlike any political party before in the Philippines because it is inclusive of ideologies and people, not just politicians, thus not a stop gap measure or half baked idea. and fifth, a Political Movement for change has the momentum to ensure an election for 2010.

There is much at play beyond our society's differences and political anxieties just as there are other important dimensions in this game of Philippine politics. The Philippines' participation in the global dimension of regional politics, and a theater of economic chess games between nations is a growing and pressing challenge and it will not abate. Those impact principally the demanding and increasingly growing need for our people to experience economic prosperity and sense of fulfillment. We already have a thriving democracy. Our people deserve economic prosperity and a sense of fulfillment too, don't they?

This is all wishful thinking on my part, just as many yearn for change. What's true though is that as our people think that hope is sparse, we rediscover that we have it in spades.

A true united movement--- not "an opposition" may be able to even tap the political and economic strength of the Filipino diaspora. With an every "district must be taken attitude" A united party for change can sweep themselves to the Palace, unshackle the hold of traditional politics. A movement this powerful can have the moral and political capital to enact laws that will refashion, rebuild institutions destroyed by People Power's perverted sequel. Think of the possibility of how much it can transform a society. In this scenario, it is a People Power movement contrived to change a broken Republic and not to usurp it.


eero said...

I am posting a communication briefing paper on how a senator can generate public support for the water crisis issue. Hope our presidentiables generate ideas from this.

Eero (

Mind Bullet Briefing Paper: Communicating the Philippine Water Crisis as a Defining National Issue for Candidates Running for the 2010 Presidential elections.

I. Rationale

Defining moments are very important in capturing the imagination, hearts , minds of the people to genuinely entrust leadership. Through conscious efforts and expected historical milestones, defining moments can be laid out as a story line leading to a positive perception or conclusion. Defining moments establish how the market (electorate) will perceive and decide what to do with the product (politician). Simply put, defining moments in history will determine the market positioning of candidates running for President in 2010.
read more at: