Issue of January 14, 2018
     
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Challenging the political values of Juan dela Cruz

Values reformation. This is how change will begin.

In a country characterized by decades of political division, the people have used blame as a way to leverage their hunger for change.

It’s the President’s fault, they say.

It’s his political opponents’ fault, others claim.

But let it always be remembered that while we can point one of our fingers at someone, the other three are pointing back at us. Obviously, we’re powerful enough to implement change in our own country.

Still, in a culture that encourages overlooking even the simplest form of injustice, the path towards progressive change seems eons away. That’s because we choose to look but not to see, to talk but not to speak, and to hear but not to listen.

We’ve been long held captive by the notion that we can raise a flag bearing one color and be saved from our pitiful state of life. You can deny that now, but as Filipinos, we’re on our way of giving a political connotation to every shade of color if we continue to cherish our misguided beliefs.

Yet, as we slowly embrace the ways of a smart citizen, we now feel that it’s not about making one color reign supreme. It’s not about making one man reign supreme. Our quest is about making a noble ideal become our guide on our way to progress.

Always remember that the government has always been coupled by the people. And without one of them, we can never fully realize what the original goal of governance is. So what can we do?

We need to change our political perspective. We believe that we elect people to office so that we can serve them. That belief is fundamentally flawed. We elect people so they can serve us. Thus the part that says, “By the people; for the people.”

So now you understand why we don’t owe these politicians anything. In fact, they owe us a lot of things. So it’s not supposed to be money working its way to win the favors of greedy incumbents. Although that’s fairly obvious now, the culture of tolerating what’s unjust shouldn’t be allowed to thrive.

The value is in honest public service. Question the values of a man who considers politics as a way to make money and has the nerve to use that laundered money to topple deserving challengers, to smear the reputations of otherwise credible individuals, and to “legitimately” hold on to power for themselves or for their children.

We need proper political education. Vote wisely. We’ve heard that many times over and it’s become a joke. In fact, we even coined the term “bobotantes” to emphasize our lack of political education.

I’m not biased when the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that a political person should possess academic, professional, and above all, moral excellences. I’m not biased. Because this criteria is a farce right now.

We lean on politicians who are popular, who are attractive, who are a part of political dynasties, who are rich, and who are inexperienced. Not to mention that we actually cheered for a few people who have foul vocabulary and questionable societal values.

And then we get our own day of reckoning the moment we complain about how stupid they are, about how they lack the necessary qualifications, about how they’re more suited as movie stars or sportsmen – you know the rest of who they are.

Of course, we deny our role of not educating those who need it. So we blame the bobo-tantes. While education is contagious, our influence ends once we log out of our social media accounts. Realize this now: There’s immense value in education with conviction.

There is a need to take proactive action. Revisit the values you’ve grown to embrace.

If a man’s reputation is questionable, would you still give him your print? If a man’s words only become meaningful during his campaign trail, would you still cheer? If a man’s values are in conflict with yours, would you still look away and give him your seal of approval?

See, it’s still early in 2018 but I’ve seen a political survey actually glorifying a dozen rotten eggs for 2019. How’s that even news?

Allow your actions to be congruent with your thoughts, and your thoughts to be congruent with your values. Don’t ask for change. Be the change. That’s all there is to it.

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