Thursday, November 8, 2007

Let's Hear It from Tom

Many people continue to ask me why I aspire for high political office without having the requisite traditional political experience and dynastic pedigree. I tell those willing to listen that I take my cue from a 33 year old lawyer from Virginia who wrote this line in what turned out to be his country’s certificate of birth: “….that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Nobody paid much attention to that line for a hundred years until Lord Acton of “absolute power corrupting absolutely” fame realized the explosive implications of that loaded sentence. That we, the citizens who always felt powerless and puny and irrelevant have the right to register our objections in the most revolutionary manner possible. When we witness gross injustice, criminal negligence, lethal corruption, wanton greed, we, the people have the right to take back the power we invested in our leaders who have been unfaithful to their oaths.

Jefferson thought it self-evident then. Why can’t we see this? GMA, Erap and every single one of these trapos remain accountable to us. They are certainly not divine, much less indispensable. Years of failure and mismanagement constitute clear proof that we can do better without their expertise and experience.

We need not offer excuses about the gullibility of the masses or the poverty-crazed choices that voters make. It is up to us to actively resist, to fight, to see our tormentors as our equals at best and do battle. Life is too short to be spent hiding behind lame excuses. Let’s listen to Thomas Jefferson.


mgrp said...

Go ahead Dr. Martin. Or your soul "will not rest upon the wind"(Kahlil Gibran) until you have prusued your vision with the last ounce of your strength.

I had the opportunity to go into public service many years earlier, but it came at a time I was called by another priority-- raising my 4 small children. Now I compensate that missed opportunity by helping those who I know can render genuine public service. And do other little things. But a public servant is in the best position to apply the resources of the governmet-- of which the Philippine has a lot-- on the welfare of the people, especially those most in need.

foolonthehill said...

Like I said before, the Philippines was (and is still) not ready for the American political system as it was handed over to us in 1945. Imagine this, the founding fathers of the American political system promulgated that only land owners were given the right to vote. This was to prevent the majority, who were not land owners, from electing someone who is not part of the aristocracy, that group in society who contributed the most to the infant economy. The Union was just born and Washington, Jefferson and the rest couldn't afford to place undue stress on those whom they needed to keep the economy moving forward.

It was also during that time that immigrants kept pouring into the Union. To protect the interest of the Union, the founding fathers also set 14 yrs as the period of residency before an immigrant was naturalized and allowed to vote. The electoral college was also adopted to guard against making the elections a popularity contest.

The point here is America's democracy and political system was designed and implemented based on the situation of the country at that time. Fast forward 200 years, the maturing American political system was now being implemented in an immature commonwealth called the Philippine Islands. But instead of giving the vote to those who contributed to the economy (those who had the most to lose), the vote was given to every Tom, Dick and Harry, all in the name of equality.

Those who think we have good laws are blinded by the illusionists we call lawmakers. Our laws were written to be flawed and disguised to look "good." Some of them were passed to simply please the foreigners. What is the basis of saying our laws are good? Good for whom? The people who do not pay income tax? The people who think they are above the law?

So the founding fathers of the Union only wanted land owners to have the power to vote. Isn't this unfair? You bet it is but what they did was to make it easier for people to own land. Here in the Philippines, what did we do? We enacted a law allowing squatters to stay in government land and disallowed government from simply evicting them.

In the early days of the US, it was made clear. Not everyone can be president. Again, this statement finds its core in the protectionist attitude towards a fragile Union. In the Phils the only qualification for the highest office in the land is to be natural born. Looks good on paper but let's face it, it's stupid.

I am not against the poor. I am against a system that is imposing a kind of governance that does not fit the people that we are. This goes deeper than politics and the present political system. The way our politicians conduct themselves is just a manifistation of what is fundamentally wrong with how we are governing ourselves.