Thursday, May 12, 2016

Is the Filipino truly worth dying for?

One of the things that bother me about Miriam Defensor-Santiago is her proclivity to pander to ideas of intellectual elitism and the innate superiority of the intelligentsia over the rest of the population. According to her, a vote by an uneducated person must not be regarded as equal to the vote of a university graduate.

In a democratic country such as ours that is trying (at least on paper) to gear itself towards becoming a fully egalitarian society, this idea does not sit well. Supposedly, each citizen's voice is equal to every other's. However, with the results of our most recent national elections where we elected Manny Pacquiao, an athlete (and current congressman who knows close to zero about legislation or constituency representation), into the senate and we almost elected the son of a brutal dictator as vice-president, one almost gets pushed to reconsider one's stance on the whole "every vote is equal" rhetoric.

I'm aware that the solution is not to reduce anybody's right to choose leaders but instead to fulfill each person's right to an education. But are we actually capable, as a nation, of doing it properly? A lot of defenders of the Marcos regime are actually educated. A lot of them have bachelor's degrees, while a number have master's degrees and doctorates. Heck, my own grandmother, a retired judge, even voted for Bongbong because, allegedly, his father did the country a lot of good. I had an argument with her over breakfast yesterday, from which I had to restrain myself before I got too passionate. Was she genuinely blind to the plight of the underprivileged during his hegemony? Was she willing to dismiss every evidence of his evil doings as fabrications in favour of the pretty picture she has in her head just because she and her husband benefited from his rule?

In an age when Holocaust denialists among extremist groups in Germany are a pathetic minority ridiculed for their refusal to acknowledge overwhelming evidence debunking their cause, the Philippines has over 34% of its voting population either saying the Marcos regime was A-OK or that the atrocities that the brutal dictator committed, for which there is overwhelming evidence, didn't happen at all. And how can you blame people? What did the government do when the Marcoses returned from their time in exile? Did it put them behind bars? Did it hold them accountable for the billions of dollars they stole from the country's treasury? No! The government allowed them to continue living luxurious lives.

What's worse: The government allowed the Marcoses to get back in power and slowly make their way to the top again. What the hell? I've asked this countless times before and I'm asking this again: Why is Imelda Marcos not in prison? Why is she in the Philippine Congress?

Seeing this, a lot of people today who never lived through Martial Law might be led to believe that because there have been zero repercussions against the Marcoses for what a lot of people--scholars, historians and ordinary citizens alike--vehemently insist were two decades of sheer brutality, they must be alright. Everyone else must be misinformed and the Marcoses are just misunderstood well-meaning, good-natured people. This notion is so strong and so prevalent that what used to be two words that meant complete terror is now simply worth describing as nothing more than some sort of "thingy" that a lot of people just have a fixation for. "That Martial Law thingy," as one Twitter user put.

Ugh! I don't know, Philippines. Fuck this! Fuck everything!

Anyway, while all these weighty disappointments about the Philippine citizenry won't cause me to let go of the principles of social egalitarianism that I hold very dear, I am instead led to ask the question: IS THE FILIPINO TRULY WORTH DYING FOR?