Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Tragic Flaw In Our Looking for That Perfect Candidate


IF YOU'RE a believer in socialist policies (in the Western European sense) and believe Rodrigo Duterte is truly the socialist that he claims to be, you might hasten to ask whether that position of his—which could actually be realizable in the sphere of social spending, at least—would also translate to being a fit figure for Labor Party membership (in the UK sense). For while Duterte’s record in Davao may be used as evidence of his brand of social spending, his pronouncements towards labor for the benefit of business may also get one to question the perfectness of his leftism. Oppositely, perhaps it also doesn’t help that one supporter of his on Facebook has also been campaigning for the Philippines’ membership in the AIIB.
     Meanwhile, if you’re a believer in what Grace Poe and running-mate Chiz Escudero have been advertising as what looks like a Lyndon Johnson type of their government by consensus, with the difference that it would likely be more centrist than  Johnson’s left-of-center or near-progressivist one, you might also be disappointed to hear that all this rhetoric and sloganeering from their Party with a Heart (Evangelista?) could actually be coming from Escudero’s and Danding Cojuangco’s NPC position that could hardly be realistically deemed as centrist in fact.
     And, too, if you’re a believer in Mar Roxas’s sort of espousal of social liberal desires, you might want to industriously glimpse back and be promptly disappointed by his track of recent years that look terribly more like somebody’s from a Neoliberal Party than someone’s from a Liberal (in the Canadian sense) one. And it doesn’t help that Roxas belongs to an oligarchic clan with connections to business interests that range from entertainment to mining.
     Finally, only God knows what conflicts between avowal and deed I could here pronounce for a brief regarding Jejomar Binay.
     But, hey, listen.

OUR RECURRING disappointment and regard for all those above seeming contradictions, contradictions which are actually not exclusive to Filipino presidential candidates (regardless of our political parties’ virtual ideology-less-ness), are not really what should constitute our tragedy, despite the fact that these serious sighs regarding our present choices are coming from the intelligentsia.
     You see, in our desire for the perfect candidate fitting snugly into our idealization of the potentially good leader of a potentially good, even great, governance within the soonest future, lies a sorrier symptom. For this desire has a mournful corollary, which is the hope to be able to relax under some new right or correct leader’s faithful service as governor of a people who’ve been seeking for decades all sorts of liberation from all sorts of ill situations.
     It is in fact this desire for the perfect leader that exposes a collective disinterest among Filipinos in being part of governance, in being part of government, beyond the election season. It exposes a goal of being able to lean on someone who would allow us to go back to our entertainment after our bestowal upon him/her, our candidate, of our full trust. Politicians, in fact, recognize this political laziness among the merely complaining governed, which is the very inspiration for all sorts of exploitation that have manifested in history as the activities of “corrupt politicians,” this after having been given the discretion and privilege to be corrupt, along with their families who would logically follow in their wake in the enjoyment of the privilege.
     In societies that enjoy that other privilege, the people's privilege (which also constitutes a duty) to use usable direct democracy instruments, instruments such as initiatives, referenda calls, election recalls, etc., the desire for the perfect candidate for the representative part of their democracy is not as rigid as in societies like ours. This is due to the fact that in such societies the election of the people’s ”representatives” are not treated as the end-all-and-be-all of democratic practice. In fact, in these societies pure representative democracies are seen as no less than horrendously fake democracies, even as the mere clever evolution of the old royalisms. They are seen so because in these latter societies the kratos (power, rule) are not seen as belonging in any way directly to the demos (people); that is, the impression is due to the knowledge that societies with purely representative democracies create governments by the representatives of the people, of the representatives of the people, and ultimately for the representatives of the people.
     Thus, along with this knowledge comes the recognition that the perfectness of election candidates in their society, a society with direct democracy instruments, cannot be deemed as equal in importance as the more crucial perfectness needed for the people’s unrelenting, unending participation in governance beyond these non-events called elections. [S / -I]

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