I lost my way and wandered over to the Get Real Post blog site where I stumbled on a thought-provoking article by Fallen Angelregarding the matter of trust. He posed the fundamental question that, if President Aquino has managed only one achievement so far (banning Wala Wala), how can we trust him to lead the Philippines in the right direction?
I responded that only one accomplishment understated his achievements, citing improved investment ratings and standing firm against China, and was met with the normal crescendo of unified voices questioning my thinking, motives and manhood. Then things deteriorated from there. Same o same o.
But the point raised in the article was a good one. How can you trust a man with a history (the Hacienda), a family (the "families" control most things), and who seems obsessed with ex-President Arroyo and her appointments. And seems to make mistakes about massacres or the car he drives and his position on this bill or that.
Trust is a funny thing. Most people think it only involves one person. "Can you trust him or not?"
But it involves two people. One who must give something of himself, and the one who benefits from that trust.
It is the giving of oneself that interests me. Letting go enough to trust someone.
- It is hard for some bosses to do. They can't delegate and are always looking over the shoulder of a subordinate.
- It is hard for some writers to do. They get riled if anyone suggests they could have said something better, and hate having editors mark up their work.
- It is necessary for soldiers to do. In combat, you often place your life in the hands of your fellow soldiers. Trust wins battles and is the best approach to coming out alive.
What is a citizen's responsibility in the matter of trust, specifically as it pertains to the President of his country?
I frequently fault Republicans in the U.S. because many flat out want President Obama to fail. Even though that would represent America's failure. So they can do better next election. This constant partisan carping and criticism, I think, weakens the United States and undermines security.
I was in the army and the President was my Commander in Chief, so I carry that military discipline around with me in civilian life. I am high on loyalty and the sacrifice of self that obedience (and survival) requires.
On the other hand, it is the public's loss of trust that was the constructive undoing of President Nixon, and, in the Philippines, it was President Arroyo's fall from public trust that blocked her efforts to extend her term, assuming that's what the brouhaha regarding a Constitutional rewrite was all about. So, indeed, a wary public is a part of the checks and balances that makes democracy work.
Most of my arguments on Get Real have been to this point. I believe the Philippines is weakened if the country is continually seen as one general short of the next coup. It is flat out dangerous around here for too much contentiousness to evolve. Too many people are hard-headed, and too many have egos that believe that they are right and anyone who disagrees deserves to experience the round end of the gun (rather like Get Real is a microcosm of that facet of Philippine life).
The Philippines needs stability more than just about any other trait.
To gain investor confidence, and attract wealth. To welcome tourists and traders and keep more of their money. To assure the continuity of progress along a straight, progressive line rather than being jerked politically this way or that. To show strength before self-serving heavyweights, China and the United States.
If President Aquino makes a mistake, do you give up all trust? If he makes several of them, do you quit on him?
Trust is sacrifice of self, by definition.
I support President Aquino because I trust his basic motives, agree with the importance of his anti-corruption drive, think the Hacienda is irrelevant to his current job, and see him as performing better than I thought he would (I thought he would be a wimp; he is not). None of his mistakes has been a ball-breaker; some of them were simply "on the job training".
Ask any ex-president about that, for there is no real training available for this ridiculously intricate job which neither you nor I could do mistake-free. Why should I expect him to be an icon of perfection?
And I support him because I don't like seeing a continuation of the coup mentality, the endless bickering and divisiveness, that keeps the Philippines stuck as a banana republic in the eyes of much of the outer world.
It seems to me that too many people are willing to risk the entire nation to bring down a guy who will be in office only six years, and who is not in any way placing the country at risk himself.
Frankly, I think they give up too easily and sacrifice not enough. It is more important to them to win their arguments, personally, than build a healthy Philippines. They promote the same hot-headed instability as in the past. They continue the failure to engage in the courtesies and compromises needed to solve tough problems. They lock the Philippines into the category of bickering banana republic, incapable of finding a path to respectful dialogue, unity and progress.
And, yes, President Aquino contributes to the unnecessarily contentious and divisive bickering. It is one of his mistakes. He got the Chief Justice to trial; now kindly shut up and let due process proceed. Go to work on private/public partnerships or the RH bill or cleaning up Customs. Move the nation forward.
I trust that he will and don't mind encouraging him to engage himself in these important initiatives. He does not lose my trust simply because he does not do it my way.