I visit the Get Real Post ("GRP") blogsite from time to time, more lately than before. There exists a certain arrogance of bearing there that is bothersome, but a lot of the articles are pertinent to what interests me: the Philippines and the ways of its institutions and citizenry.
The site is fresh and current, publishing an article or more a day. These days the main theme is the Corona trial. Understandable I suppose, though it is tending toward pedantic repetitious observations. The site has a good range of commentary from readers, with the usual bullying from the anti-Aquino gangstas.
Every publisher has his principles, and often the editorial slant that can be some distance from the middle of the road. In the U.S., Fox News is perhaps the best example, claiming to be "fair and balanced" while hosting a cast of conservative commentators. The counterbalance is CNBC, which shades liberal. The Wall Street Journal is clearly pro-business. Consumers Union Report . . . well, it is for consumers all the way. I don't know the biases of the Philippine media, but I understand the Inquirer is within the Aquino family tree somewhere.
The GRP editorial slant is anti-President Aquino. Staunchly, with insults being levied against those who support the President. "Yellow Zombie" is perhaps the favorite tag of the GRP gangstas who comment regularly. GRP is also critical of the generalized Filipino, the common man, who contributes to the enduring problems of the Philippines. Me too, so I can't complain too much about that.
I've argued now and then that being unduly critical of the President makes the Philippines appear as it has appeared to outsiders for years: unstable. The argument back from GRP people is that they are doing their patriotic duty to criticize him, and they indeed are loyal to the Office of the President, but not the "incompetent" who is holding the job now.
Well, we all look at things through the tint of glasses we wear, that tint built up by whatever experiences we have had. If the Hacienda Luista somehow represents a bad symbol to us, then, of course our glasses will stain the President with that interpretation, whether he had anything to do with it or not. He is a part of that family. Or if we saw his mother as an angel for helping to pull the Philippines out of the clutches of a dictator, then our tint might indeed be yellow, her color.
And some tints are shaded by agenda. It is hard to peg exactly what the GRP agenda is, but the hard anti-Aquino slant is so pronounced that there has to be one. I suspect it is fame and if there is any money in it, that, too. Maybe sensationalism to drive audience up. Or else there is a political motive to it. Maybe President Aquino cancelled a project they were involved in, or they are getting even for 2010 (their candidate lost and they must defend their position or lose face; they are, after all, Filipino, with all the sensitivities attached to being face-bound) or they are positioning for 2016 to make sure the continuity of Aquino's party is broken.
Or they just like being a part of a mob. It is a place to belong.
Certainly, the writers do not approach it patriotically, supporting the President on behalf of stability in the Philippines while criticizing his decisions or acts that they consider non-constructive, and presenting alternatives. The site content is decidedly not balanced and not objective and you get the feeling that if they could yank the President out of his office mid-term, they would. They would view that as constructive for the Philippines.
It is what happens when you commit to a view that is not objective. In defense of that view, you edge evermore to the brink of extremism. GRP is there. Pushed to the edge by the need to defend an indefensible position. They've been two-years arguing, edging into harder and harder positions, farther and farther from the center.
GRP demonstrates the same impatience as a coup-master. The same failure to understand the individual sacrifice that is built into the democratic model; the need to accept the consequences of someone of a different political persuasion holding office if they win an election. In that regard, they are undisciplined rabble rousers, wild-eyed radicals.
The argument from the site is that EVERYTHING the President does is wrong or bad. Well, that is so bizarre that it takes credibility to zero. Its as if they can't look at the strengthening of the peso or higher investment ratings or inflow of investment money and call it like it is: good for the Philippines. They can't see a need for aggressive action to end corruption; it won't be done on a gauzy wish or heartfelt hope or by tearing down a President and starting from scratch.
To the GRP stalwarts, the Aquino glass is completely empty.
This extremist view forces them into awkward positions. They end up criticizing the impeachment of the Chief Justice even if his SALN contains potential law-breaking omissions worthy of trial. They express no new ideas about how to end corruption. They don't acknowledge that the President is working to fulfill a campaign promise. And they are forced into what I consider a humiliating predicament, defending former President Arroyo. Maybe the principal writers have some connection to that lady and her husband who seem to represent the worst of the old-school Philippines, rich people who are the architects and beneficiaries of the favor-trading that defines a corrupt republic. I don't know. To the GRP people, it is the ministers of justice in the Philippines who are wrong. Like the Occupy people in the U.S. somehow twist exorbitant CEO salaries into a reason to attack police.
They criticize the corrupt Philippines, but argue on behalf of corrupt people and against the President who is trying to change things.
It's crazy. It makes no sense. There is no intellectual integrity to all this.
I have a suggestion for the GRP people. Stop acting like old-school Filipinos. Start working on the next election. Work within the framework of the democratic process and organize instead of whine. Work on building the Philippines instead of continuing this incessant tear-down approach that we see in local envy-driven political spats (Ampatuan) to the inter-family rivalries in Manila to the crusty old generals yapping for a coup. This bitter carping is what distinguishes the Philippines as a Banana Republic and represents the GRP rabble raisers as little more than bananas with a keyboard.
It is what traditionally supplants the Delta Drive in the Philippines. Ego over effort. Self interest over national interest. Same o same o: self-dealing oligarchs, common ineffective Filipinos and GRP gangstas.
It is the same recommendation I would give the Occupy anarchists. Get organized, get legal, and put your people into office.
If you fail, work HARDER. Raise more money, get more publicity and get your guy into office. Or little lady, I don't care. Don't participate in the acts that prove this is a Banana Republic without the discipline to deal with democratic choices, without the self-sacrifice and honor (like, sportsmanship) it takes to concede to other political persuasions who WON, fair and square.
Don't spend years throwing toys against the wall because Mommy didn't give you a Twinkie.