SPECKS OF LIFE: Political depression

FRED LUMBA - edge davao
FRED LUMBA – edge davao

Depression, defined loosely, is a kind of mood swing in a person’s mental state.

The dictionary says it is an “excessive gloom and despondency; an abnormal state of physiological inactivity; in business, a phase characterized by stagnation, widespread unemployment, a falling in or sinking.

If you attach the word “political” as a modifier to the word “depression,” the term “political depression” appears to be the appropriate adjective to describe the decades-old, degenerating state of political affairs in our country.

Why not?

While our national leaders, despite their differences in views, were one in vigorously fighting for complete independence during the Commonwealth years, their counterparts today are just bickering for either personal or partisan interest. Yes, like everyman for himself.

Too many discordant sectors are shouting out loud, making a cacophony of voices that merely strain the eardrum so that the political atmosphere has become a toxic terrain.

Who do we blame for this mess?  I point a finger to the introduction of the multi-party system.

I remember quite well that during the years when the two-party system – the Nacionalista and Liberal Parties – was in vogue, politicians were very careful and cautious before transferring to the other group.

This was because the transferee, even if accepted, cannot be accorded the same treatment and privilege he used to be getting from his original party. If he was the provincial chair in his old group, his transfer to a new party would mean he would be losing his original seat as provincial party chair.

But of course. The people in the party where he transferred would not want to be displaced either. This is the primary reason why political turn-coatism was not as prevalent and convenient as today.

Besides, only two colors are fighting for political supremacy in an area. One wearing the red could be the eternal opponent wearing the blue.

And you might add, that because of party principles, politicians are proud to be sworn in as Nacionalista or Liberal.

There are noteworthy exceptions however. Like when Ferdinand Marcos moved over to the Nacionalista because being then a Liberal, he would not earn the presidential nomination in 1965 because the incumbent Chief Executive, Disodado Macapagal, was the Liberal chieftain and was seeking re-election.

Ninoy Aquino was a Nacionalista governor of Tarlac in 1961. He changed parties to be close to the kitchen manned by fellow Kapampangan, Pres. Macapagal.

Today, political butterflies are swarming all over the place. They have also wizened up to organize themselves into dynasties and political clans by intermarriages to prevent political upstarts from uprooting them.

It is exasperating to note that even before a new president is installed, many flip their wings over to the man they believe would clinch the highest post of the land so that when a new Congress is formed, they already are part of the super majority.

Blessings in the form of “pork encased in a barrel” are the major reasons.

Reverting to the old but effective two-party system, patterned after the American system, is the time-tested formula we need to use anew.

This means, the Filipinos’ immature reaction to constitutional reforms must change if the future generation will even hope to survive the political depression that now prevails and persists.

Much as some political partisans are tied up with the status quo when they realize the political depression that is whirring about us are like buzzards watching over decaying corpses, there is need to examine seriously where this country is going.

In a democracy, sovereignty resides in the people. If the Filipinos exercise this mandate to the letter, the political depression that is now whipping up a storm will eventually subside and vanish.

Jean Jacques Rousseau, the distinguished French philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment, wrote in The Social Contract: “Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) Prov. 15:3. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!