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Dear Leni, Dear Gen XYZ (again)

12:04 AM June 21, 2016

DEAR LENI, I don’t know who needs more comforting—you or we. As for anger, you certainly don’t look angry—but we are. It’s clearly a snub that you have been subjected to since Day 1.

After your victory you immediately offered full cooperation with the President-elect and acceptance of whatever he chose to offer you. That became blurred and was reduced to a position “with a nice sound.” And even that went under, as the President-elect confessed that Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is his friend and he couldn’t give anything to you out of regard for his friend’s feelings. For four hours he met with Marcos Jr., while he has not even deigned to give you four minutes, not even a brief “meet and greet” meeting.

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On May 27, he did not attend his and your official proclamation as President-elect and Vice President-elect by Congress. My hopes for his presence at the inauguration, for both his sake and yours, were dashed when on June 15, page one of the Inquirer greeted us with: “Rody tells Leni: I want a separate inauguration.”

Never mind, Leni. We stand by you, pray for you and your daughters, and admire your composure and equanimity in the face of a snub that is bordering on insult. If SWS or Pulse Asia now asks, “If the elections were held today, who would you vote for VP?,” your 200,000+ margin could have swelled to 2,000,000.

You, dear Gen XYZ, “a bloc of 20 million voters” (see Joel Ruiz Butuyan’s “The millennials,” Opinion, 3/7/16), could have been a part of that increment. Remember my first letter to you last Feb. 26 (“Open letter to Generation XYZ,” Opinion)? I warned you of the Marcos son’s line about moving on and burying the past—an attractive message carried by an attractive messenger. With my mother complex, even I could have been disarmed. Something, after all, can be said about holding a son free from the sins of his father.

But in the vice presidential debate, when Leni said we can’t force him to apologize but “he must return” whatever the Marcoses stole from the people, Marcos Jr. tripped and emphatically repeated the lame evasion, “I cannot give what I do not have.” Did he expect us to believe that? By such preelection reactions, stretching into protracted postelection behavior, Marcos Jr. himself proved that he is indeed his father’s son. By a hairline, we escaped that repetition of history of the Marcoses’ return to megapower, without a whit of repentance and with just a trickle of restitution.

But the dictatorship is not the only replay of history against which we must guard. Consider the cyclical patterns of our political behavior. We are such shrill campaigners but silent as lambs after elections, allowing “trapos” and dynasts to run amuck with our money, natural resources, heritage, birthrights. In the midst of chaotic traffic, red tape, dirty streets, congested hospitals, petty crimes—half of them caused by ourselves—we pine for the strongman ruler and welcome him royally; and when he abuses, we throw him out or flirt with anarchy. And what about our habit to vote for the very same corrupt or convicted politicians or their reincarnations? What vexing recidivists we can be!

History and political science majors and writers, get in there and write about this forgotten hole in our history. Oral history is still widely available. There’s research material aplenty, the most recent of which is blogger Raissa Robles’ “Never Again.” See also a list in the Inquirer (9/20/15) of references. You’re lucky you live in a time when history as a string of events to be memorized is dead and buried. You now know that every part of our story must be woven into the fabric of history in an interconnected, reciprocal continuum of cause-effect, showing our becoming what we are now and leading to actions that our leaders and nation have taken. No, therefore, to the Marcos era, or to any significant historical era, as mere appendix, addendum, footnote.

By the way, dear Gen XYZ, the internet is the kingdom that is distinctly yours. “Misis,” our kasambahay said in the course of telling me how the VP-elect is attacked so viciously online, “bugbog sarado ho si Leni sa Facebook.” In this season, how has social media sunk so low as to become a vicious tool for character assassination? Social media is yours to redeem and recover as a source of recreation, a venue for reaching out to the community, a level playing field of battle, and a platform for ideas.

Our country is in crisis point. Will you millennials be victims (like your defaulting elders), or movers of history? How about starting by making sure that the Libingan ng mga Bayani is reserved for heroes?

Asuncion David Maramba ([email protected] com) is a retired professor, book editor and occasional journalist.

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TAGS: Commentary, Duterte, Ferdinand Marcos, Gen XYZ, inauguration, leni robredo, marcos, millennial, opinion, Robredo, Rodrigo Duterte
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