We have our own ‘300 Spartans’
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-03-25
The outstanding success of the film "300" is not at all surprising. People are awed by true stories of outstanding feats of heroism especially when set against hopelessly insurmountable odds.

In the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, Greek city states united to fight against the massive Persian army led by Emperor Xerxes. King Leonidas of Sparta and his 300 men together with 700 Thespians defended the narrow strip of road which kept Xerxes and his men from overrunning all of Greece.

The brave stand of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans provided the Greeks precious time to amass a more formidable force that engaged the Persians under more favorable conditions at the Battle of Salamis. The valiant saga of King Leonidas and his 300 men has gone down in history as one of the most moving sagas of exceptional courage and sacrifice, where men willingly gave their lives for a battle that could not be won.

In our political Thermopylae, our 300 Spartans would be the Kapatiran 3 — Zosimo Jesus Paredes II, Martin D. Bautista and Adrian O. Sison — the senatorial candidates of the Kapatiran Party. If you do not know who they are, I suggest that you check them out and one way is to log on to the Kapatiran Party website (www.angkapatiran.org).

Paredes, Bautista and Sison are not only qualified to be senators, they provide a refreshingly real alternative to the unpalatable option of choosing between the less undesirable of two fakes: the traditional politician or the showbiz illusionist. Paredes, Bautista and Sison are seeking to achieve for our country real, functional democracy and a government that is truly of, by and for the people.

Paredes, Bautista and Sison are entering a political battle where the odds are heavily stocked against them. It is a political battle that other Don Quixotes tried to win in the past but failed. Like Leonidas and the 300, Paredes, Bautista and Sison have no illusions of victory. They are making a difference by merely fighting the good fight in order to set the stage for the final battle and ultimate victory. Despite their running without illusions of winning, they have faith that eventually the Filipino will attain his political emancipation from the oligarchy.

Paredes, Bautista and Sison have no economic empires to protect. Like you and me, they have watched our country slide under the self-serving stewardship of oligarchs whose main objective is not to promote development but to perpetuate the status quo.

Like you and me, Paredes, Bautista and Sison wonder when the time will come when we will finally have the enlightened electorate that would elect the best leaders who will put an end to all the suffering and injustice. By fighting the good fight, they have reinforced our faith that there is a Promised Land and they’re showing us the way to get there.

But Paredes, Bautista and Sison do not have to meet the fatal end of Leonidas and his 300. Unlike Leonidas and his 300, Paredes, Bautista and Sison can win. Yes, they can win because what will determine victory in their struggle is how people like you and me will vote.

Their biggest adversary is not the opponents they are facing in the May elections. It is the mindset of voters who have been conditioned to choose the lesser evil instead of the very few who are true, resolute and capable. It is a mindset that ties a people to the shackles of a semi-feudal reality — a people helplessly unable to assert its collective authority as the masters in a democracy.

It is a mindset that deplores graft and corruption and yet subscribes to the patronage system that breeds and promotes graft and corruption. It is a mindset that aspires to enjoy the benefits of a democracy but kowtows to the ways of a monarchy where fealty is given the moneyed, where he who has the gold is regarded as king.

It is a mindset that cannot connect the problem with the solution. The mind accepts that the traditional politician is the problem that has to be removed and yet will still vote for the traditional politician because of the flawed reasoning that only the traditional politician can win. True enough, the traditional politician keeps winning and each time, the people keep losing.

Showbiz heroes provide imagined relief. But experience has already shown how these showbiz personalities had turned public service into a money making machine for their wanton lifestyles. Some people thought showbiztocracy would be a way out of traditional politics but only to find out that showbiztocracy is just a ticket to ride on the gravy train of traditional politics.

Paredes, Bautista and Sison are waging the fight for us and it will be up to us if they will win or lose. For them to win, those members of Philippine society who recognize the problem must not only vote for them but actively campaign for them.

But are we willing to fight for what we have been clamoring? Are we willing to plant the seeds of a democratic awakening and nurture these seeds to fruition? Are we a people who are capable of rising above ourselves?

For too long we have cursed the desolation of our political desert — how come we do not seem to have enough patriots. The reality is we can only generate patriots when there are enough of us who are willing to become patriots.

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