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Friday, April 04, 2008

when lawmakers have too much time on their hands

Are we in kindergarden? Imagine my surprise to find that there is a House Bill, 948 that seeks to criminalize mimicking a person's way of speaking or accent or diction in an insulting or degrading manner

Last I checked the Taliban held court in Afghanistan, not in the Philippines. Oh, wait--- they got thrown out by the Americans! Did they find themselves in these shores? 

We live in a democracy that more often than not, we raise holy hell against another person because what he stands for is something we've spent our entire lives fighting against. I'm astounded by the level of genius that this law seeks to proliferate. Imagine criminalizing caricature and cartoons and poking fun at politicians. How is that any different from the real time humor of comedians everywhere? Is that not a fundamental aspect of freedom of expression, of free speech, and of creativity? In other words, political satire is being killed here.

What's even more shocking is that the implications of this law seeks to create a society so plain, so fearful, that it would make the British society depicted in V for Vendetta look like a day in Sesame Street.

In a world where there is much to do, in a society that needs to address so many issues of grave importance, our lawmakers come up with garbage such as this. There are things that should be regulated and there are things such as this that does not need to be criminalize. In fact, I argue it is the job of parents and of role models, of schools, of churches, of mosques, to teach children what society's norms are. To teach them how to respect others and how to tolerate the differences between, not just the diverse cultures of our society but of the entire world.  The state has no business in such affair.

A few posts back, I wrote on what gross national product measures. How appropriate to be reminded of that statistic today. For if our 7% GNP has bought us HB 948 then this statistic only "measures," and by extension, buys only for us, "everything in short except that which make life worthwhile." The same statistic that "tells us everything about Our Nation, except why we ought to be proud of of being Filipino".

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