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Whatever happened to statesmen and stateswomen?

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Both in the U.S. and Philippines what we have for a government is consumed by industrial-strength mediocrity.

In the U.S. we have electeds who are much better at running a circus and sideshows than attending to governance. In the Philippines we continue a shameful descent to ‘reality-TV’ politics: a politics full of intrigue, shallow drama, and mind-numbing idiocy. Empty calorie popcorn is fitting on many levels.

Whatever happened to statesmen and stateswomen? Where have they gone these bonafide public servants whom I read about, who inspired me to be politically active such a long time ago? What have we done with them?

What have we done to ourselves? Have we mistakenly exorcised idealism permanently in service of pragmatism? Is this the inevitable result of modern life that sends us further apart and toward the banal, instead of closer together and toward things of real value?

My mind is riddled with questions, and even the sound of asking them seems juvenile. But is it?

Is it amateurish and naive to ask such questions if the motivation for asking them is to probe the fundamental dysfunction in our modern version of society that threatens to doom us and likely also the generations after ours?

We can either view our current sad state of affairs as a signifier of what is more to come, and surrender to I’m-too-busy-for-that fatalism. Or we can demand more, even if that means starting with ourselves first and immunizing ourselves from cynicism.

This brings new perspective to what the Mayans predicted would be a new era. What we witness before us reminds us that we cannot view the present and future as pre-fabricated realities by other actors. We are the ‘actors’. We are makers of this new era.

Like a patio we neglect and assume will always look pristine only to find out in the Fall that it has been overrun by weeds, the 21st century needs active, deliberate tending. By us.

Not the abstract next guy and gal, but by us.

All that we are able to contribute to making it a new era have value. Nothing is trivial. Nothing is a pipe dream. Every contribution that comes from a good place has value.

Even a meditation like this blog post, I believe can serve a purpose, even if only to make another one think a little bit more deeply, too.

After all, to make this new era a new day, we must ask ourselves honest questions, including what we have done with statesmen and stateswomen.

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Author: rbvergara

Born and raised in the Philippines. Moved to California on April 15, 1986 two months after Marcos was overthrown. Have been building a new life and stronger roots in Southern California since then.

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