Cause without a rebel
This blog recounts some thinking I’ve been doing lately, about the blog.
As I explained in a previous article, my official position is to support President Elect Duterte. This position is not much different than that of the outgoing administration or that expressed by Vice President Elect Leni Robredo when she said:
“For my part, I reiterate my full support and best wishes for the incoming administration, and I assure our people that I will always stand firm on the principles that have guided my entire career as a public interest lawyer, a women’s rights advocate, and a public servant. I have always taken the position that we should give our full support to our newly elected President. When we help him to succeed, we are helping our nation, and ourselves, succeed.” [Inquirer]
That said, the blog participants – including JoeAm, guest writers and commenters – have offered sharp criticisms of some of the statements and acts of the President Elect. The criticisms are generally in defense of civility and human rights. That is the important area where the rubber meets the road, or Mr. Duterte’s actual deeds run up against principles that seem to be in the best interest of the Philippines and her citizens.
The difficulty with this criticism is that it appears to have no official backing from anywhere within the national government. No Administrative officials or senators or public office holders have criticized the statements of Mr. Duterte. They have mentioned that it is important to follow the law and be sensitive toward women or journalists, but there is no formal objection to Mr. Duterte’s statements and deeds from within government.
That puts me, a non-citizen permanent resident visa holder, in a bind. Any criticism I might make could be seen as violating the terms of my visa because it might be argued by a nationalist that I am working to undermine government. There is no official group or deed within government that I can hang my argumentative hat upon to criticize the Duterte Administration, once it is seated.
I have a cause – principles that I think are in the best interest of the nation.
But I can’t be a rebel.
“Well, you can write about other things, Joe, in a non-controversial way. Education or poverty or cultural insights.”
That’s where we come to personal motivation.
I am motivated by going somewhere, by building, by arguing for good values and good deeds, by offering perspectives that support what I think are principles of decency, inclusion, productivity and opportunity.
To sit and talk about pancakes when the kitchen is burning is just not fulfilling.
As I was getting discouraged and thinking about not writing at all, I came across a comment from the ever-thoughtful Chempo. He wrote:
LP Party is now in discussion with joining PDP-Laban in the majority group in Congress. What does this all mean? Pnoy in his last few days can speak up against killings, hero burial for Marcos — and then in Congress LP to support his bills for killings ? Hindi ko maintindihan
Chempo lit the light toward a path I can follow. I wrote:
President Aquino’s sway within the party is probably about zero these days as LP people look out for good old number one. The absence of principled people in Philippine national government would make Thomas Jefferson look a lot like the facial contortions of “The Scream”. I can count the number of principled people on one hand. Right now, I’m up to two, Leni Robredo and Bam Aquino. The rest, it seems to me, have the principles of a sea slug, and I am sorry to insult the sea-slug that way.
I posted my comment on Facebook and it fairly well ripped along getting likes, with a number of people recommending the names of other people who have and are expected to remain loyal to the Liberal Party (LP) for the duration.
It struck me that I do have a cause, and it is FOR the Philippines:
I am for the development of political parties of principle. Parties that put the nation’s interest above personal advantage. The group of Liberal Party loyalists seems to form a core foundation for such a party, although it does not have to be LP. It could be any party that didn’t play for popularity or self-benefit, but developed good principles and stuck to them. It amuses me to think that Waldon Bello’s Akbayan party comes close to fitting the bill, as well. It’s just that I don’t agree so much with the platform, as I understand it.
So I decided there is a cause, after all. It doesn’t require a rebel. It requires a positive-minded advocacy for Philippine well-being.
That purpose will frame much of the blog’s work during the Duterte Administration’s term:
- Promoting the well-being of the Philippines
- Within this umbrella, advocating for strong Executive, Legislative and Judicial processes and decisions
- Advocating for development of principled political parties that supplant personality-based parties driven mainly by personal advantage
There will be some who say with derision, “Ah, Joe, you are just staying yellow, or getting yellower!”
And my response will be:
Expand your mind, find some wholesome principles to advocate and leave “labeling people” off your list.