Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Imagining a President, Making a President

The thought has been percolating in this writer’s mind since that first column by Conrado de Quiros on Noynoy. For the past three weeks we saw how the idea has simmered, and today has culminated in an announcement by Sen. Mar Roxas that he is giving way to Cory and Ninoy’s only son.

Skepticism has come from all quarters. They question Sen. Aquino’s competence and record as a public servant. They question the unsavory elements of his heritage, that of being a descendant to the land-owning Cojuangcos. But De Quiros makes a convincing argument. Noynoy has no ambition to be President – and that is what separates him from aspirants yipping at Gloria Arroyo’s heel. Like his mother in 1986, he has no greed for power. He perches on the shoulders of giants. This alone, De Quiros asserts, would make it difficult for the son to dishonor the heroic memory of his mother and father.

Because all through his career he has not been the media whore his little sister Kris is, we know very little of the man. His legislative record isn’t impressive, but it doesn’t count for nothing either. Those who have rallied behind Noynoy these past few weeks saw a glimpse of grace under pressure, maybe a hint of a quiet kind of spine, in his time of bereavement. And character matters as much as qualifications, if not more. Gloria Arroyo’s experience is impressive – and look where that got her. Look where she has dragged all of us.

The idea that tantalizes is Noynoy’s blank slate. And on this blank canvas, we the people are free to write the narrative. On Noynoy we can inscribe our dreams as a nation. On Noynoy we can ascribe our will to heroism. Noynoy is an idea whose time has come. Like his mother and father, he must find it in bones to answer this call to duty. And like the generation who first wielded People Power, we must find it in ourselves to answer ours.

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