From man’s lips to God’s ears…


2009 is upon us, and from the looks of it we face another year of a deepening economic crisis. But as the Chinese say, crisis is made up of danger and opportunity.

I love this perspective. It is “glass half-full” psychology — yes — and it is also politics. In particular, it is about the inherent potential of crisis to have a transformative effect in our views of problems and their solutions. Politics, too, is fundamentally about these and the tension created by conflicting perspectives and interests.

Politics. — Aren’t we, Filipinos, enamored with her. Maybe because, like faith, she leaves us tethered to an ideal version of society we are still to achieve. A Philippines more prosperous, more equal, more just.

I certainly hope that, in 2009, politics in the Philippines will rise to a higher level of discourse and usefulness. In my view, the kind of transformation required is a two-pronged one: at the top (the celebrity candidates) and at the bottom (the electorate). We need the transformation to occur in form and substance. Political parties need to change their ways, but so, too should the rest of Philippine society.

I think the Philippine case is too limited by tradition, the poor playing the poor, the rich playing the powerful. I think the Philippine case is being crushed by the interests of political families that remain in power not because they are necessarily deserving, but because the socio-cultural-political “system” allows them.

This social-cultural-political dysfunction can only be fixed by sustained, unrelenting pursuit of measurable social change and qualitative cultural and political change. Obviously, because the change required implicates us all, this means the solutions are within everyone’s control, not simply in the domain of the rich and powerful.

Now for Step 1: changing our selves. One person times 88 million can make a difference.


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