Saturday, November 24, 2007

The disconnect

As I kept saying, I am no GMA fan. GMA is part of the problem and she is not the only problem. The bigger problem is us. Unfortunately, we don't want to take responsibility for our faults. We'd rather blame others for our woes.

When the masses elected Erap in 1998, the middle forces' candidate, Roco was way behind the pack. Roco was again their candidate in 2004 with another dismal performance. The problem with the middle forces is that they cannot make a connection. They only connect amongst themselves.

There is no dearth of anti GMA forces around. Columnists, commentators, bloggers, politicians, civil society groups are everywhere always harping anti GMA statements. The civil society is very efficient in forming groups and actions to certain issues. At the height of the Hello Garci scandal, the
Black and White Movement was organized. When Sigaw ng Bayan made a lot of noise to change the constitution, civil society countered with One Voice. The Pinoy Big Briber campaign was organized to show civil society's disgust over the cash gift distribution in Malacanang. Then there is also a petition calling for GMA and De Castro's resignation and the holding of a snap election in reaction to the various scandals rocking the administration.

At the end the of the day, ordinary Filipinos, who have no internet access, just went on with their lives unaware of such campaign from anti GMA forces. They may hear a bit from the eveninig news or from radio commentators but that's it. The ordinary Filipino hears about the cash distribution in Malacanang with hardly a reaction as if it is just a normal occurence. The masa cannot see what the middle forces are seeing. That is where the disconnect lies.

Middle forces are mostly educated. They can have a wider lattitude for patience and understanding. The masa has little of that. The middle forces therefor cannot expect the masa to swalllow every bit of words that they say. The masa can only see things from their perspective. The middle forces meanwhile has the capacity to see the perspective of the masa but they refuse to go down to the level of the masa. The middle forces only see things from their perspective.

Middle forces are the catalyst for change. Unfortunately, they intellectualize too much. By doing so, they alienate the masa more. Online petition? Pinoy big Briber? How can the masa relate to these campaigns. And these campaigns are good only while the issues are hot. Once the issues are over taken by other events, so is the campaign. In as much as they want to effect change, the middle forces cannot hold a sustained campaign that may hopefully get the attetion of the masa.

There is no dearth of intellectuals around. Many have come and gone. But they hardly made a dent. Some made a living out of their being intellectuals by becoming newspaper columnists. I have observed that a lot of these so called intellectuals are more interested in bloating their egos than trying to find a common ground.

The people who has truly affected our lives are the politicians. We have allowed politics and politicians to rule our lives. I think, after EDSA 1, most Filipinos have become experts in politics. Just like showbiz, politics has captured our imagination. Each and everyone of us, be it the masa or the middle forces, become opinionated on every political issue. Since EDSA 1, there has been no turning back.

Politics means division. Because of our penchant for politics snce EDSA 1, our has been a divided nation. Up to this day, we are still deeply affected by our politics specially civil society. It is the masa who has already become numb on political issues. At this point, the masa just couldn't care less.

With the masa being unaffected by the political noise the anti GMA forces are trying to create, the corrupt politicans and public servants are having the best times of their lives.

There are a lot of Filipinos who really, really care for our country. We are everywhere, not just here in the Philippines but around the globe. Unfortunately, us, the middle forces also cannot get our act together. Some of us are staunch anti GMA. Others would have no problem seeing GMA finish her term. At the same time, many among us are also involned in various advocacies. Due to differing advocacies, it is quite difficult to create a single advocacy that could gel all advocacies and make a connection with each and every Filipino.

Advocacies would vary from environment, education, housing, microfinance, health, transparency, relief operation, etc. There are thousands of advocacies around us. Again, the problem is the disconnect. Each and every advocacy is treated separately from each other instead of being seen as interconnected advocacies. Just like the middle forces that cannot make a connection with the masa, advocacies cannot make a connection with each other. At the end of the day, in spite of the large number of well meaning Filipinos who want to do their share in nation building, everything is in disconnect. The kanya kanya attitude prevails.

What we need is to go back to the basics. The most basic issue that can connect each and every one of us and each and every advocacy is CITIZENSHIP. Let us take a moment to leave our politics behind. Yes it will be good for GMA. But I also believe, in the long run, it will also be good for our country. GMA is already a given. She is the product of what we have become as a people. But if we change as a people, change our attitude, be better citizens, then chances are, we won't have a problem like GMA again.

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