Thursday, November 08, 2007

Full of Hope, Not Hopeful

Random ideas floating through the ether:

From Manong Abe Margallo, a comment on Manolo's blog:
After two upheavals, the expectations are greater (such as Leah’s?) that the next exercise of People Power would propel the transitioning into a “new qualitative state.”

The new state may be approximated by answering a few questions such as, off the top of my head, the following:

On the economic front (and this is directed more specifically to the country’s wealth creators): Why are we exporting people - teachers and young mothers like Marilou Ranario - instead of producing competitive goods and services that create value-added? Why has the Philippines been lagging behind its peers in the region or why a war-ravaged Vietnam is poised to overtake America’s first empire, once a regional powerhouse in the 50s and 60s?

On the political sphere: Should the process of building a working democracy be bottom-up or for the most part brought into being by the wise, the learned, the elites by the process of re-entrusting? If our borrowed democracy be redefined, should it continue to be based on some preconceived foreign notion or principally upon our own unique experience? How much power the sovereign people should retain and not delegate until public servants prove their worth?

And ultimately, the fundamental question: How much do we love our country?

So, People Power III should not just arrange to force a sitting president from power, it must “press on” to graduate from the same retrograde state the country is in.

A crucial part of the initial dialogue is the question of representation in governance where various interests should adequately be given a voice. So is the “to do list” during the first 30 – 60 days of regime change.

On the other hand, justice to those who breached the public trust should be swift, predictable yet humane but only after appropriate charges are substantiated by due process of law.

There’s plenty of work to do. Indeed, as the experience of People Power I and II tells us, removing someone from the seat of power could be the easy part.

No, EDSA is not dead. On the contrary, to borrow from Salud Algabre, each EDSA is “a step in the right direction.”
Manong Abe also refers to Randy David's column. I quote here some important ideas:
Realizing its marginal role in Philippine elections, the middle class, the harbinger of modernity, has favored non-electoral modes for effecting transitions -- people power, impeachment, coups, calls for resignation, etc. It is this class that gave the country its two women presidents: Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of them the beneficiaries of people power.

But people power is caught in a paradox, which limits its potency. Its spontaneous and unorganized character, driven by a strong moralism, is the source of its vitality. It is also its fundamental weakness. Middle class activism seldom leads to anything sustainable, like the formation of mainstream political parties. Even when, to its own surprise, it scores electoral victories, as in the case of Fr. Ed Panlilio’s successful run for governor of Pampanga province, the engagement tends to stop at the polls.

Without a party on which to anchor itself, the middle class espousal of modern governance is quickly drowned out by the pragmatics of political patronage. No wonder, in the end, “trapo” [traditional politicos] like Ms Arroyo and Estrada will always find it easier to deal with one another.

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