Can Filipinos recognize their savior?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-03-16
The Jews accorded Jesus Christ a regal welcome as he entered Jerusalem — only to condemn Christ to death by crucifixion six days later.

Today, Palm Sunday, we celebrate that same triumphant entry of Jesus Christ with the same waving of palms — knowing that in 6 days from today, we will be reflecting on the passion and the crucifixion.

The Christian faith has since enlightened the paths of those who have recognized Christ’s birth, life and death on earth as the Way, the Truth and the Life. On the other hand, the Jews continue to dwell on Old Testament calls for “an eye for an eye” that inspire carnage and acts of war against their Arab neighbors.

Oddly, most Filipinos would be able to acknowledge the failure of the Jews in recognizing one of their own who has been sent to be their Savior and Messiah. Most Filipinos are aware that, up to now, Jews have not acknowledged nor reconciled with their mistake of condemning Christ and denying the Christian values and spiritual insights that promised spiritual peace.

Interestingly, Filipinos are as confused as the Jews when it comes to acknowledging who it is they really want to lead them to salvation. Many also do not know how they will be saved.

Ask these very same Filipinos who they think will be the savior of their country and how this will come about, and you will most likely draw a blank or a confused answer. It is easy to recognize the syndrome. It is reflected on the leaders we Filipinos tend to rally around.

The generally clueless responses of people on questions about how they will be saved and who will save them explains why up to now, and despite all the mess we are all in, nobody emerges as the consensual leader of the nation.

In 1986, we’ve managed to identify how we want to get out of our rut. The ideology was democracy (versus dictatorship) and the leader was Cory Aquino.

But today, 22 years after those heady days of People Power in EDSA, we are pathetically groping for a way out. Democracy went from good to worse from the time of Cory Aquino to the present Palace resident.

Fidel V. Ramos appointed dubious Comelec officials, ushered Joe de Venecia as Speaker of the House of Representatives, laid out the red carpet for the return of the trapos and introduced the country to Globalization. Joseph Estrada desecrated just about every rule in the code of ethics for sitting presidents. Now we have this era of Harlot Politics, an era of lies, payoffs and sellouts, under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).

Who can blame many Filipinos from thinking that the state of degeneration of our democracy can only warrant an entire systemic change? Why do you think rebel officer, now Senator, Antonio Trillanes IV remains popular?

How come Filipinos who stood proud in 1986 in ousting a dictator are now seriously hoping for a leader who will fit the credentials of strongman Lee Kuan Yew whose firm and decisive grip on his people led Singapore to become one of the strongest economies in the world?

In our present winter of discontent (to borrow a phrase from Shakespeare’s opening line in Richard III), we Filipinos continue to fumble in our ignorance. We focus so hard on looking for a savior but we still can’t determine what it is exactly that we need and want.

Without having any inkling about where we want to go, we cannot expect to draw the criteria or specs for the person we want. Having this vacuum, we have sent out an open invitation to false messiahs to fill the void. We keep searching for brand alternatives when what we really need is a totally new product altogether.

We are as far from salvation as a technophobic accountant who expects computer outputs from a mere calculator.

Our first and biggest failing is in our inability to know our real history — who and what drove us to this miserable state? If you are not aware of being a diabetic, you will forever be trying to medicate its symptoms but not its cause.

You can’t see the big picture unless you know the history of the case. Solutions do not evolve from thin air. Solutions evolve from the proper appreciation of the real problem. If you misread the problem, then it is likely that you won’t arrive at the right solution.

Today, many Filipinos are disappointed with democracy. But few of them realize that there can be no real democracy if there is no enlightened citizenry who knows what it wants and can enforce its will upon its leaders. The failure of democracy here is nothing but the failure of the Filipino nation to know, understand and fulfill its role as the stakeholders of a democracy.

We only see the wealth gap that is pressing our country ever so close to a social explosion. But we don’t recognize the three other fundamental gaps that build up to the wealth gap. These are the Information Gap, the Education Gap and the Opportunity Gap.

Our country can accomplish a lot if we can only just bridge the information gap — when the farmer in the rice paddies of Mindanao will know as much as the shopkeeper in Manila of what is going on in Philippine society and government.

It is no coincidence that the two periods of our history after World War II when we were most desperate — the Marcos and Macapagal-Arroyo eras ­— are also the periods when truth was in chains and under siege.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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