Saturday, December 01, 2007

Curs, Few

Yesterday’s events were interesting. As best as I could determine, this was how it went down. Around lunch yesterday Senator Trillanes walks out of his own mutiny trial, gathers a few followers and media people, marches to the Manila Peninsula Hotel and holds a press conference. While his rhetoric (and that of general Lim) does not specifically incite people to overthrow the government, it did ask everyone to support the call for President Arroyo to step down.

Government forces give the “rogue Senator” until 3pm to surrender. The deadline passes, nothing happens. At about five or six pm an armored personnel carrier trundles its way into the Manila Pen lobby, followed by soldiers wearing gas masks. It’s over by seven. But by then the government announces a curfew in effect from 12am to 5am.

And like an idiot savant with a megaphone I wideband everybody I can reach. I don’t relish the idea of being detained in any way shape or form by cops. In my thirty-plus years of existence, that’s already happened. It wasn’t pleasant but it makes a good fireside story— I’ll talk about it some other time.

We already know this— we’re being led around by a few curs. The good news is that there are more of us, and we can make the right changes at the right time if we just get our act together. And maybe one day we wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by a few curs and their curfews.

Diagnosis

To my mind there are a few reasons why Gloria is still sitting in Malacañang despite her unpopularity.

  1. Fatigue. People are sick of overthrowing a corrupt government only to replace it with another corrupt government. We’re that way because—
  2. We’re really not ready, despite what the activists keep saying. This is because as a people we never learn. Every time we mount an EDSA we drop the ball, thinking smugly that our part’s done. So we let the same jerks back in office to mess with us all over again—the same ogres wearing different skins. Corollarily—
  3. We’re still hung up on heroes. Since no one fits the bill, we don’t really trust anybody. We can’t really trust anybody. Everyone’s fallible, tainted. Unheroic. Trillanes may have had his heart in the right place, but in the public eye, he doesn’t have enough moral clout to get everyone out of their homes and into the streets. After all, he did mount a coup (one that failed), and is therefore suspect in part because of its failure. We don’t need a hero who’ll do everything for us; we need a symbol to rally around, and after that we need to determine our own fate. To be our own heroes. To watch our government and keep it honest.

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