How does the President stop his slide? Propaganda, intimidation or good works?
By Joe America
A recent public survey gave President Duterte a 75% satisfaction rating. The result is typically characterized by the President’s spokesmen and much of the press as “very good”. Strong in relation to other presidents.
That is one way to look at it, for sure. That’s the political spin, that’s the propaganda.
Another way is to look at the trend is . . . that it is heading down.
This index joins that of the stock market and the weakening peso as signals that ought to be telling the Administration something. The question is, is anyone home? Is anyone listening?
Indeed, the Presidential response seems to be to send out the spokesmen and trolls (if there is a difference) with manipulative messages correcting people who see things wrongly. This suggests a certain deafness about things. The problematic deeds continue, crawling into bed with China, rude speech, insults to allies, and blood in the streets. It’s as if the Presidential thinking is that Mr. Duterte’s bravado, intimidations and words can overpower what the people want. The Admin thinks that he . . . and his propaganda technicians . . . can mold the peoples’ expectations. In 2017, they will spend about P 2 billion trying to do that.
A wise use of money, do you think?
The stark reality, in fact, is that people are turning against the Administration. That is the trend line and it would be folly for the Administration to ignore the evidence. The facts.
Investors. Allies. Citizens. Legislators. They are all speaking.
Well, perhaps President Duterte and his aides believe he can arrest the slide with threat, with troops in the street and imposition of restrictions on speech and intimidation of opponents like Senator De Lima.
But it is more likely that such acts will only add to the resistance. They might even make the down-slope steeper. Have you noticed how many people are speaking up these days? It is no longer quiet. Objection is everywhere.
If the President’s hard-nosed attitude continues, exhibited as propaganda and threat: 91%, now 75% ,will become 50% will become 35% will become . . . . failure.
It seems to me the only thing that can arrest this decline is earnest good works. Proper decisions, respectful speech and acts that reflect the will of the people. In an open society, propaganda can only sell an idea for a short while, and only to the gullible. Calling pigs ears a purse may work for a time, for some people. But soon, it becomes obvious.
These are pigs ears.
Evidence is pretty clear that the public will is not receptive to alliance with China in place of the United States. The public will is not receptive to rude speech. It is not receptive to blood in the streets. It is not receptive to intimidation of people of integrity who have no failing but disagreement with the widespread killing of Filipinos.
That’s what the 75% rating ought to be saying to the President and his men. Propaganda is a fool’s mission, and, in the Philippines, China, rude talk, threats, and blood in the streets are . . . and always will be . . . pigs ears.