Doing exactly what outrages us
Na-ano lang. This was how Sen. Tito Sotto framed the “joke” with which he ribbed Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo for being a single mother, during a formal confirmation hearing of the Commission on Appointments (“Sotto remark in CA hearing causes stir,” News, 5/4/17).
The senator may have meant it as a joke. But the phrase reeks of misogyny and chauvinism; it degrades single mothers who are tirelessly sacrificing to keep their family together and alive, even in the absence of men who may have the same character and prejudice as Senator Sotto has about women.
“It was a joke. I apologize if I had offended anyone. I do not understand all the fuss,” the senator said, thus revealing his lack of understanding of what drove people up in arms against his misogynistic statement.
I want to rage against Senator Sotto, yes, but more than that, I want to rage at the kind of permissive society that has allowed him to be seated in power, in government, as a pillar of legislation.
We have this kind of leadership in government because we as a people have chosen to become indifferent to the idea of what is
right or wrong when it isn’t convenient to us or when it doesn’t directly affect us.
For instance, the initial reaction to the senator’s remark was to create a meme depicting the senator’s daughter and grandchild (who completely had no part in making the joke) to tell the world that “SHE is na-ano lang,” too.
In our effort to fight for women’s rights, we oppressed a fellow woman and abused her child, instead of going after the real culprit.
It is a sad moment when in censuring somebody, we do exactly what he is being assailed for.
As a people, we have to be critical and proactive rather than selective and reactive. Let us take part in the public conversation about all issues that affect us as a people, not just about those that affect us as individuals. And when issues strike a chord, when it is most significant to us and our families, the more we have to be vigilant and reasonable, so that our judgment will not be clouded by anger and pain.
We have to be a thinking nation, not for ourselves but for our children, so that they would not inherit a country led by men who don’t know what is the difference between right and wrong.
PRINCESS GERBIE C. DURANTE, [email protected]
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