Thursday, November 22, 2007

Maling akala

Something called holistic formation dictates that all of us--regardless of course--take a class on Politics and Governance before graduating. Argh. And to make things worse, my professor's a former congressman. Last I checked, he could be considered as one of those lesser-of-the-evils. But he is a politician, and he speaks like one--says the right things amid a culture of everyone doubting him. So the grudge is noticeable. And I continue to squirm in my corner seat in the classroom, often failing in the goal of just keeping my mouth shut.

Below is a snippet of the draft of the reaction paper I'm supposed to submit to him today. My point: what I hate about Politics and Governance more than the sheenanigans of people in the deceitful field is that they've become the scapegoat for an otherwise stupid people--us.

The state of national affairs in the Philippines can be simplified to a simple loss of manners and a breakdown of what would be widely considered the objectively righteous norms of social decorum between individuals. And it is only when we collectively acknowledge this can anything truly described as change take place.

It is rush hour. The MRT train is crowded—we’ll draw on the sardine can cliché here. A man is standing far from the train’s door. The next stop is where he takes a jeep to go home. Every man for himself: it’s another cliché. He’ll bump and squeeze his way nearer to the door as the train is still moving, hitting women and old men in the process. He calls them nuisances, considers them all insignificant. It’s ironic: all those people he pushed out of his way were all going out at the next stop as well. Yet at the next stop, they are all met by a hoard trying to get into the train. The ones inside barely make it out before the door closes. Every man for himself. I’m the only one that has to get somewhere, the only passenger with things to do.

It is interesting how our idea of politics comes from the Greek concept of a city-state—a polis. I use the term interesting because if my B-average in Philosophy is indicative of comprehension, the polis was run by individuals who people classified as not worthy rather able or gifted—as if blessed by higher powers. It entails a set hierarchy of humanity (women weren’t even considered humans) and also entails a looking down on certain groups of people. And perhaps here we may find a philosophical basis to why government has become everyone’s favorite scapegoat. There’s rarely an emphasis on our responsibilities as citizens of the city-state beyond choosing leaders and making sure they do what they do. Never mind what we do as employees, employers, fathers, sons, neighbors, followers of law, etc. We are lesser beings anyway. Others argue it’s the implementation of laws—or lack there of—that allow such irresponsibility to prevail. But isn’t that adhering to the idea that we are less human than our leaders? Is it so that we do not see the value of order and respect without the threat of legal punishment?

A taxi driver scratches his head; he says where you need to go is not where he is headed. He tries to close a deal where you’ll pay him an additional P50; maghahanap buhay lang siya eh. Apparently his is the only family that needs to be fed, the only kids that need to be sent to school. His head is the only one throbbing. Apparently.


Post a Comment

<< Home