Issa reminds me about Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom I actually randomly met in the U.S. when she was still a Senator, trying to push extraordinarily broad suffrage—where even Filipino Americans who have long been U.S. citizens would be allowed to vote. I remember parts of an interesting conversation with her daughter, which would be quite typical amongst people in their late teens, but which has interesting undertones in someone involved in politics, in fact, whose family has been a political dynasty. (Like George W Bush, GMA is the daughter of a former president.) We were discussing how it is that our parents have so much say in our destiny when it comes to choosing what we end up doing in our lives. In my own case, for example, it is no accident that I ended up in health care. Both my parents are in health care, and so are almost all of my aunts. I swear it wasn’t until I was almost in college that I realized that there were other careers available out there in the world. But I wonder about what that means for someone who is part of a political family. Do you feel inexorably driven to do the same, to seek the power and the responsibility of leading?
Now I don’t know about GMA—she really strikes me as a bad photocopy of our own beloved W—someone out of touch with the Will of the People, who nevertheless clings tightly to the position of power they find themselves in, by fair means and foul. I remember scenes of GMA’s inauguration intercut with scenes from W’s inauguration (and considering the amount of security and armed guards present in Washington, D.C. because of the unprecedented magnitude of protesting, it was kind of difficult to tell which one was the third world country—I use the term because it tends to be synonymous with rampant corruption.) And I had a bad feeling about it all. It’s all turning into something like Marcos-lite, except I have serious doubts that the CIA will helicopter her to Hawaii, too.
Which reminds me how there is little mention of this particular front of the War on Terror. After all there are some U.S. Marines involved in the ongoing standoff between the Philippine Armed Forces and the Mindanao separatists. The basis of this front is because the separatists are Islamic, and a few of them actually are funded by AQ. Of course, no one ever mentions the fact that the separatists have been Muslim since the Middle Ages, and have been fighting a war against Western imperial aggression ever since the Spaniards came to town.
But I just wonder how much more the Filipino can stand of tyranny. I know that there is a strong cultural drive to believe in hierarchies and to respect power and that this results in few people wanting to rebel, but when the vise squeezes so tightly that you really don’t have any freedom at all to live a semi-normal life, what happens then? I am constantly reminded of a quote from JFK: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” I think this should serve as a warning to GMA, and probably to W and the neocons, too. If you really believe in Freedom, you’ll understand what this means, and why tyranny will always eventually be overthrown.
Mabuhay ang himagsikan, mga kapatid!