Tuesday, January 20, 2009


A most breathtaking historic day. Simply unimaginable. From Oklahoma, where John McCain won in 77 of 77 counties, I have a clearer idea why the US is a great nation. There is nothing impossible here. When these guys go for change, they go for it all the way.

Today, we will witness a totally peaceful transfer of power in a place where the political, social and economic stakes are enormously greater than anywhere in the world. George Bush is flying back to Texas after the ceremony as a private citizen, ending what has also been an incredible journey that began when he was elected Governor of Texas in 1994.

We can learn from Texas. Their state legislature only meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January every odd-numbered year. Each session is limited by law to 140 calendar days. This system discourages legislators from turning into professional, full-time politicians. Lawmaking is not a livelihood.

There is an anecdote of newly elected Vice President Lyndon Johnson, previously a Senator from Texas, who emerged from a meeting with the advisers of President Kennedy. Johnson was totally impressed with the breadth of intellectual firepower displayed in that gathering and he confided this to his friend House Speaker Sam Rayburn (also from Texas) who famously declared: “ They may be just as intelligent as you say. But I’d feel a helluva lot better if just one of them had ever run for sheriff.”

This is exactly the opposite of what it is in the Philippines, where politics is the ultimate occupation. Here, they may just be as experienced as they say they are, but we’d all feel a helluva lot better if most of them had succeeded in another life before traditional politics.

1 comment:

r-yo said...

Legislative sessions on the second Tuesday in January every odd-numbered year and limited to 140 calendar days? That really is something we should adopt! Di nga naman kasi kailangan ng napakaraming oras para gumawa ng batas. Kaya lang, meron kayang matinong utak sa kongreso na mag iisponsor ng panukalang ito? :-)