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HORIZONS

Neither DDS nor ‘dilaw’

/ 05:07 AM September 04, 2018

The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan is known for many things, including his lexical extravagance and flamboyant style that often helped him get away with obscure ideas about the relationship between the human psyche and modern civilization.

Some saw him as a “French Freud,” who desperately sought to revive scientifically discredited ideas through the medium of literature and cultural studies. Yet, one of his most profound observations was the argument that “one plus one equals three.”

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As more contemporary thinkers such as Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, a student of Lacan, have argued, the significance of his arithmetically dotty argument lies in the fact that many of us tend to succumb to what can be described as “false binaries.”

One plus one equals three, precisely because false binaries tend to conceal a more genuine third option that is elided amid the all-consuming narrative of life-and-death opposition between the two camps.

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And this brings me to my central argument: that the whole “DDS vs ‘dilaw’” narrative is a false binary, which distracts us from a more fundamental reality.

I’ve decided to postpone the second part of my article on my hometown of Baguio in light of a recent post by Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson that, I thought, reflects a profound problem with our prevailing public discourse.

In an Aug. 30 post on her Facebook page (curiously described as a “blog”), Uson
attacks me as a “dilaw” in response to an argument of mine that seemingly resonated with a lot of fellow Filipinos. Hours earlier, I had argued on a Facebook post that majority of Filipinos don’t necessarily identify with either of the two (socially constructed) camps, but are instead interested in competent leadership and sensible policies that uplift the interests of the country.

Perhaps the ever-eloquent Manuel Quezon best captured the aspiration of the conscientious majority when he said that “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.”

This isn’t to say that party-switching (balimbingan) is fine, or that modern political parties and their permutations aren’t critical to a modern functioning democracy. Far from it.

If anything, many of the ills of our fragile oligarchy-disguised-as-democracy is rooted in the absence of real political parties, and our obsession with personalities over party-based policy platforms.

Yet, what we should not forget is that political parties are only a means toward realizing an end, namely democratic national interest. Moreover, this doesn’t mean that by belonging to either the DDS or “dilawan” camp, one is necessarily reneging on his/her duties as a citizen.

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There are countless well-meaning citizens who may identify with either of the two camps. But I beg to disagree with the assertion that any of the two camps holds monopoly over good citizenship and public service.

Besides, who are the “DDS” and the so-called “dilaw,” anyway? Based on Uson’s Manichaean logic, anyone who dares to criticize the current administration is automatically a member of the opposition and, by extension, a supporter of the previous administration, thus “dilaw.”

Yet, according to the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia surveys, majority of Filipinos oppose Duterte’s push for federalism as well as his softer stance on the West Philippine Sea disputes with China. Does that make them, ipso facto, “dilaw”?

Moreover, there is a presupposition that the DDS camp is as large as Duterte’s approval ratings. Everyone else, of course, is supposedly “dilaw.”

Let’s not forget, however, the fact that almost all contemporary Filipino presidents, with the notable exception of Gloria Arroyo (“Hello, Garci”), had high levels of approval ratings at this stage in their presidencies. But that never meant they had the unbending support of the majority of Filipinos as part of their “camp” (ask Benigno Aquino III).

Just with a pinch of reductio ad absurdum, we see how falsely the whole binary narrative has been constructed. Let’s put aside political labels and, instead, work together for our country, and not for specific camps.

Perhaps it’s high time that, instead of talking about DDS and “dilaw,” whoever they may be, we started talking about the “Republic of the Philippines.”

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