Saturday, January 10, 2009

Authenticity and Mar Roxas

Our circuitous route took us to the non-event, Jester, Marocharim and I. A non-event which was fruitful in that at our bodies were nourished with food and drinks. On the way I said I was nervous and didn't know why. I had no expectations and with good reason. To expect anything would have led to disappointment. I was not disappointed. Non-events do no such thing.

The Senator is more goodlooking in person, although he lacks any kind of gravitas a charismatic leader would need to govern. While young and theoretically promising, he would not be able to command me to jump off a building. One question after the next, the good senator parried well with DJB, Ding and the others. I noticed he had a ready answer for each query, not pausing to think or reflect. Idle chatter it was, his answers to all questions were as vacuous as the space he occupied - devoid of truth or principles, devoid of warmth or subjectivity. Technically his answers were to be expected from a politician - at first impression weighty, but in essence hollow.

I did not get to ask him all the questions ruminating in my head, although he did talk about two of my pet issues. On the Reproductive Health bill, the senator does not seem to think that the Church mattered much, when in reality the clergy is the single biggest lobby against its passage. Twice I asked him what he thought about state support in providing family planning services, and twice he refused to answer - in the circuitous manner politicians do. On the State's labour export policy, the Senator did not even recognize that it was problematic. For him it was fact, a permanent feature of the Philippine social landscape.

I asked him, if and when he does announce his candidacy for the highest office in the land, why I should vote for him. His simple answer was that he was the best.

The best? Given that we take "the best" at face value, then is he the best this society has produced to run for President? Now that, I found disappointing. He may be the best technocrat there is, but you have a whole bureaucracy for the nitty-gritty. I need a leader who can offer me vision and a sense of proportion. A leader whose call for unity I would follow. A leader who struggles to inspire. A leader with a pulse.

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