Friday, April 28, 2017

From Dictatorship to Democracy and back again?

While I sit here inside my room at the foothills of Antipolo, I ponder the current situation of my country. Is my country really slipping back to the dark era, where a few men who think themselves as demigods rule this country based only on their whims and caprice? Are we going back to a time when  it matters who you know instead of what you know?

When we raise ourselves up 31 years ago, I thought back then that historic act punctuated the idea that Strongman rule is better than democracy. The shift from One to the rule of the People is but an ideal during those 14 years under Mr. Marcos. When February of 1986 came, that ideal became a reality but no one thought that merging that ideal with the existing bureaucracy is entirely not as easy as previously thought. Democracy and idol worship in the bureaucracy are two opposing forces, highly impossible to fuse together.

We learned that vestiges of the discredited Idea remained very much ingrained into the bureaucratic culture that those who serve the people are themselves promoters of philistinistic practices. Since 1986, those promoted to positions of authority were worshipped as idols by members of the bureaucracy who stayed in government yet did not outgrow the values promoted by the dictatorship during its time. Yes, political power shifted at the highest levels of government yet changes never happened at ground level. There was never a shift to a democratic mindset, as the bureaucracy stayed true to the widely accepted belief that the head of department is Lord.

Let's admit it---we haven't really professionalized our bureaucracy and the practices of patronage remain there, deeply rooted as organisational culture. Patronage then transformed the bureaucracy into one big syndicate now under the hold and influence of forces against change.

When well-meaning people join the bureaucracy and introduce fresh, even revolutionary ideas, the bureaucracy reacts by ignoring it or simply throwing that idea into the wastebasket. Why? Because the very laws that allow the bureacratic wheel to turn are deficient if not outright laws that promote philistinism itself. The bureaucracy has survived many administrations without changing itself because there is simply no honest to goodness effort at promoting professionalism in the ranks.

Worse, the absence of a roadmap at the highest levels compound this. The bureaucracy is totally dependent on political powers that politics change as swiftly as how the wind blows. Former president Joseph Estrada aptly describes everything that happens in government like how we describe Philippine weather--frickle minded.

We did not weaken the Presidency--throughout the years, we even strengthened it. Unto the hands of a strong President lies the fate of our democracy. And we are now wide-eyed seeing these things happening and most of us are confused and bewildered because we never expected that our wrongful decisions and acts of the past are now affecting our Current, and possibly, even our Future.

Fukuyama says that we must learn from the lessons of the past, yet we are a stubborn people that we simply forget the past for us to cope with the irrationality of the Present.

Now, our institutions are slowly crumbling, even disappearing. One man threatens our media institutions and wants nothing more than all institutions all dancing to the tune he wants everyone to dance to.

Slowly, our voices are being stifled, all in the name of Populism, with everyone under a mesmerizing spell that no singular power can ever counter the Popular Leader who wants everyone to follow him to the Unknown.

I beheld the Inang Bayan and she is like a chaste woman slowly being disrobed against her very will. She is waiting for a gallant champion but her sons and daughters are no more, under the bewitching spell of the Enchanter who regales the crowd with his sweet talk of salvation against crime, against poverty and against the rule of the Powerful while the Enchanter himself is friend of the Powers who want nothing more than declare themselves gods before the people.

Thirty years ago, these very same scenes provoked a people to anger. Now, these despicable things are happening right before their very eyes, but the crowd seemed too glad, and even clapped to the delight of the Enchanter.

I am getting a sense that we Filipinos are willing slaves, and we are masochists--ever happy of inflicting more harm upon ourselves than hope for a better life.

Blame those who piped themselves to Power, promising the people that they would lead the country towards a more improved life and a moral order only to utterly frustrate the people when their nakedness appeared before the people.

Blame those who thought of themselves as revolutionaries only to change into savage monsters hungry for power and money. These scums still walk in our streets and being feted nicely by the people with sampaguitas and what have yous, when all they are are parasites that feed upon the hard-earned monies of the People.

Do we wait for God to punish us, sinful Filipinos?