Escape from nonsense

By: Reyshimar Arguelles

What else could we expect from today’s political climate except isolated mud showers and hubris? Haven’t we had our fill of the Barretto saga already? We get nothing from bickering politicians who stand in as the most horrible moralists of our time.

If there is one thing more dangerous than a politician with a monopoly on power, it is a politician who has a fragile ego. This is not surprising. You want to make people love you and put you in a position that only a few deserve. You want to stay in power, so you need to protect your legitimacy as a leader.

You downplay every gaffe you have ever done and blame others for misinterpreting your inadequacies. Insecurity is at its height when you couldn’t deliver on the promises that catapulted you to where you are and people start to denigrate you for your inadequacies.

The first Aquino administration was exactly the example of a government that crashed and burned without creating so much as a lasting legacy. Cory and the rest of the post-EDSA progenitors had a clean slate upon which they would have built a utopia that was supposed to be a lot better than the New Society.

What came out from this era was, instead, the further disenfranchisement of the working class and the country’s further descent into a neoliberal nightmare.

Since then, we have had leaders who got elected on the basis of the promises they made rather than the actual platforms they peddled. What they did was pander to the basest emotions of the people and drew their legitimacy from the support they culled. So, regardless you deliver on your promises, you have at least gained the trust and support of people who were animated by the fairytales you fed them with.

Nothing could be more frustrating as that, but it is the kind of reality that permeates modern culture. For the author, Francis Fukuyama, identity politics has taken precedence over everything else in democratic life, so much so that people are willing to risk their futures by throwing support at leaders who best embody their biases. Voting is never a democratic act when reason is not as important as identity.

This would explain why people bought President Duterte’s promise to end the drug scourge three to six months into his term. People believed him not because he had the same concern about the problem as everyone else before him, but because he came about as an extension of the people’s frustrations. They have waited too long for someone who would come out in the open and preach about the Apocalypse for drug dealers, drug lords, and their lackeys within the ranks of the Philipine National Police.

Three years have passed, and we could barely feel any change. Drugs continue to proliferate, and despite his blatant support for murder, the President has done virtually little to scare off the targets of his brutal campaign.

Now that we have realized that the drug war has failed the country and that the government has failed miserably in beating the President’s deadline, what else is left in this administration to believe in?

Right now, the government and its supporters are trying to protect what vestiges of respectability it still has by jeering at the opposition which has had a field with the Duterte administration’s many failed promises. When Vice President Robredo lambasted Duterte for his failure to fulfill his promises, the best that the administration could do was issue a challenge to Robredo.

If the intention was to prove the impossibility of winning the drug war, then what was the purpose of setting a three to six-month deadline in the first place? Robredo made it clear to all of us that we shouldn’t rely on promised that can only be pushed down the drain when are not going well.

Then again, how sure are we that Robredo and the rest of the opposition are the stalwarts of reason and dignity like they say they are?

At this point, maybe the Barretto feud could be a necessary escape from all this nonsense.