When love for country is lip service
The phrase “I love my country,” when uttered, brings about sheer pride in our identity and heritage. While we Filipinos pride ourselves on our rich culture and are definitely not the last to express patriotic affection, it is disheartening that we have not embraced more disciplined ways of living.
Self-discipline, which is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses, is a mark of a civilized society and, more importantly, the underpinning of a great nation.
Japan, the United States and Germany, the bastions of productivity and growth, all became great nations because of the admirable conduct of their people whose love for their country is impeccable.
For us Filipinos, uttering the phrase may be thrilling and inspiring, but until we practice more diligently the convention of disciplined living, “I love my country” is nothing but lip service.
The importance of self-discipline applies most to our political leaders, those whose sworn duty is to protect and uphold the interests of our country.
As leaders, they must be role models of good conduct and be committed to discharging their duties as uprightly and honestly as they can.
Likewise, they must be resolute in giving priority to the interests of the state. If they fail, they are as myopic as a rhinoceros, with no long-distance vision but only short-term self-gratification in mind. Thus, they don’t deserve the posts they hold.
All of us, from ordinary citizens to those in high positions, must embrace self-discipline. We must also ask ourselves, “What good can I offer my country?” instead of the other way around.
As John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” With this, our country has nowhere to go but up.
JULIUS D. TURGANO, [email protected]
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