Do I need to do a recitation of examples, or will you stipulate that I am right and save me the time and words?
Okay, a couple of quick examples.
- Senator Sotto did not concede or compromise. He rebelled and set out on the attack.
- Elections are murderous. Not much concession there.
- Bloggers operate apart from one another rather than as a unified community. Loyalties of different writers join then split because they get hung up on some win-loss argument they cannot resolve with compromise and concession. Those who comment on blogs strive to dominate, not find agreement.
- Arguments for federalism keep cropping up because strong cities and provinces chafe under the heavy hand of the central government.
- Political parties collect and fall apart and collect again like bees with no queen or an elephant with no memory. The Philippine party collaboration is a short-term thing, with each candidate jockeying to find a niche that will benefit him best. There is not a lot of give to it, for sure.
Independence is great. Necessary in some circumstances, to define one's turf and rights. We don't want no stinkin' American occupiers ever again. Or Japanese. Or Spanish. Or Chinese.
But community is also great. Necessary in some circumstances, to be strong and repel enemies, or to go along the same path rather than erode progress by butting heads.
A sense of community is necessary IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES to agree to a set of laws and abide by them, for the good of the whole.
Filipinos have proved to me, their Western Born Resident Blogger, that they can do independent well. They have not proved squat about being able to do UNIFIED well. Just about everything is transactional. Temporal. "What's in it for me?"
Big Ego does not let go well. It is a brittle business, trying to get things done in a climate of win/lose, gain face, save face. Brittle breaks easily.
The most constructive institutions hereabouts seem to be those with autocratic, independent bosses who have a clear sense of where they want to take things. Davao City, for example.
Fortunately, President Aquino is also one of those because he has the Peoples' endorsement, and that is an enormous backing. But what happens when Mar Roxas is elected President, and he has to do it on a bloody and divided battlefield over VP Binay? Or the other way around?
What is the aftermath of a dog eat dog political battle? Vengeance? Bitterness? Divided legislature at each other's throats? Vindictive Get Real style bloodletting for six years?
What happens to the unity of the Executive Branch and its ability to move the Philippines forward? How does the nation end the endless carping and malcontent bickering and maybe even coup plotting or Constitutional rewrites?
President Aquino has brought stability and progress because MOST of the Philippines is unified behind him. That ends in three years.
Until Filipinos can do the tough business of conceding, the Philippines will never be unified. Until a broad segment of population can grasp the concept of "good loser" , it will always be a bickering, contentious, negative place. As if the Get Real attitude speaks to what the psyche of the Filipino really is. Small minded and bickering and negative, relentlessly looking for someone to tear down.
As per usual, in spotting flaws, and believing they are real, I search for solution and . . .
I don't have one.
Until there is a national drive to teach -and a desire among mature adults to learn - how to be COMMUNITY, the Philippines is destined to be a contentious and non-productive place.
The fundamentals of unity:
They are built on being able to be BIG ENOUGH to let go of one's own imperatives in favor of those offered by others. In personal terms, unity requires:
- Strength of sacrifice
- Compassion of courtesy
- Dignity of Diplomacy
- Courage of Concession
It seems to me that Filipinos seeking a unified nation need to demonstrate, through acts, that they have the required:
You may wonder why I plant a photo of an American shuttle launch in a blog article about Philippine unity.
Here's why. I look at that picture and I imagine climbing into the seat of that plane and getting strapped onto what essentially is a huge guided explosion. Riding a bomb. THAT my friends is courage. Can you imagine the noise, the vibrations, the sense of vulnerability?
As it happens, and maybe you can read the small print on the shuttle, this is the Columbia, and while it is being blasted into space, a piece of foam insulation falls from the big rocket tube and damages the heat shield tiles of the shuttle wing. On re-entering the atmosphere, the wing breaks apart, the shuttle explodes, and all seven astronauts, six Americans and one Israeli, are killed.
That is sacrifice.
Not just to America, or Israel, really. But to knowledge, and the deepest quality of the human spirit that insists that we can be more tomorrow than we are today.
So in understanding the great courage and sacrifice these seven brave citizens of the world displayed, I wonder why it is so difficult for us to summon up the courage to concede an argument upon which no lives rest. Or let someone else be boss for a while, and support him rather than undermine him. Or grant a pedestrian the right-of-way in crossing the street, as a small gift of courtesy to our nation.
How hard is it, really, to give a little of ourselves in order to build a greater, unified Philippines?
Strength. Compassion. Dignity. Courage.
That is a proper Philippines.