Thursday, December 20, 2012

Project 52 (51/52): On The Filipino Political Mind (And Why I Insist It's Maturing.)

.:Project 52 (51/52): On The Filipino Political Mind (And Why I Insist It's Maturing.):.

So mature, you guys!

This is quite a momentous time to be a Filipino, and I don't mean it because of Nonito Donaire or Jessica Sanchez or Janine Tugonon. They're cool, and I'm pretty happy for them, but I'm much happier about this country when it comes to something that involves more of us than individual talents.

When I was younger, I saw things in black and white in politics. It was so easy to pick a side and ride it out 'til the end. Cory was the hero. Marcos was the villain. Erap was the villain. Gloria was the heroine. 

Then Gloria became the villain. And FPJ became the villain, too. It started becoming much clearer to me that things aren't really as set in stone as we insist they should be, and more glaringly, it became more obvious to me that the church I followed and agreed with time and time again politically were actually turning a blind eye towards Gloria's mistakes.

It was then that I realized that the narrative being spun is binary in nature so that it can easily capture the imaginations of people, at the risk of polarization. In politics, that seems to be a necessity, since you don't really have an option to half-vote for someone. You either vote for them or you don't. And for the longest time, we've learned to side with one politician and ride them out all the way no matter what.

But then, just this year alone, it seems that the narrative has shifted to shades of gray.

Not that many, though.

Just for example would be the whole Chief Justice Corona brouhaha. Yes, people either believed he was innocent or guilty. But both sides weren't spared from criticism, even by their allies. The overall bungling of the case from both prosecution and defense truly resulted in some memorable tidbits, as Miriam ended up really reading the riot act to both camps, making it clear that she was not particularly on anyone's side, regardless of how her vote turned out.

The discussions were nuanced. Sure, we had your typical sob stories and attempts at family reunions to elicit some drama, but in the end, when CJ Corona was impeached and removed from power, the reasoning was clear, and avoided the heavy-handed "Us vs. Them" spin despite multiple attempts to have it become so.

And then the RH Bill passed, and the Sin Tax Bill passed, too. So did another law about unenforced disappearances, and the FOI Act is also on the verge of passing, while the Cybercrime Law is not only on TRO, but is being counterproposed with another law meant to be more protective of netizens than punitive.

It's a good time, and a lot of it is brought about by genuine dialogue going on between people. When even the poorest of the poor and the lower ends of the middle class can actually have a genuine say and understand an issue and make up their minds, when people can think to side one way while fully cognizant of the imperfections of the side they chose, we slowly mature as a people when we learn to think less and less about absolutes.

Because only the Sith deal in absolutes, but believing that means you just did, too. Ergo...

As we grow and mature politically, we learn to make wiser choices in who we put into power, and we learn to question everything the government tells us while also not ignoring the times they do right by us. Today, I can safely say that President Aquino is on a roll. Maybe he's really lazy, but he's not too lazy to pick up his pen and sign these important bills into law. The preparedness for Pablo was there, albeit the weather simply had no plans of cooperating with all the precautions taken. Despite that, everyone came together to help, not out of some blind sense of patriotism, but simply because they know it's the right thing to do.

Maybe I'm looking at the current political scene with a lot more optimism than I should. True. Despite that, I can't help but think we're getting better, even if it isn't perfect. The trick to recognizing and appreciating this is that we should then stay vigilant to keep this positive change going for our own sake. We, the Filipino people, stand to benefit the most by staying vigilant, which is also why despite my misgivings with the anti-Epal movement, I'm much happier to see it in existence than not.

Surely, I'm not alone in feeling very optimistic about our political future, not because my immediate surroundings reflect this positivity, but simply because these changes for the positive are actually happening, and we are all in a position to actually do something about it.

And unlike how it was when we were kids, or even college students, where our very own teachers in school told us our secondary stereotype is how apathetic we were? This time, we are doing something about it. We totally are.

I put a lot of stock in the hope that this simply means that the generation after mine will be doing even more that way, because we are now having a genuine revolution of the mind.

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