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A most sinister undermining of democracy

/ 05:01 AM August 06, 2020

At the root of that fiction played out on the floor of Congress was simply personal vanity, writ large. It was an insatiable beast charging, roaring, and seeking to devour. However, its victories are sadly pyrrhic. As for the accomplices, surely they would know better than most how fickle political loyalties are. But then this is a bitter lesson usually learned too late. What a savage and shameful overkill by a House that no longer represents the people, considering that 3 out of 4 Filipinos support an ABS-CBN franchise, according to a Social Weather Stations survey last month. Trust is gained (and regained?) by nothing less than virtue.

What next? The militarization of trust? As G.B. Shaw wrote, “assassination is the extreme form of censorship.” The administration might have crucified innocence — it won’t be a historical first — but there is always hope of resurrection by superior grace.

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Demonizing the perceived offender is one way of polluting the air of democracy. Another way, also recently demonstrated, is by elevating personal resentment to the level of ideology (“Down with oligarchy!”), in this instance with a dramatic swipe a la Superman. This is of course the stuff of comic books, normally outgrown. But then there are those who come to believe their own fictions.

American social commentator Will Rogers’ perspective offers a welcome note of sanity: “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”

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Perhaps the most sinister undermining of democracy takes place when the caretakers take cover behind the letter of the law in order to avoid encountering its spirit. It is that living thing that is nourished by the complex experiences of people. It is this spirit that must be allowed to tirelessly search, inform, and challenge would-be arbiters of laws. Thereby lies its credibility. It would be folly to stoop to mediocre accommodations in exchange for its wisdom. A gift best shared, and never owned.

On a particular matter: It took a member of the so-called oligarchy to shut down mines that were polluting watersheds. She was eventually eased out of office. Now it seems that the door has been reopened to let in the right sort of oligarchy? This new normal rings a bell.

Virginia Calpotura
[email protected]

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, democracy, Letters to the Editor, press freedom, Virginia Calpotura
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