SPECKS OF LIFE: Choosing the easy way out

Some street-smart gents do this.

It is the way of the coward, truthfully speaking.

It is the “great escape.”

In the corporate world, you can’t do this without dire penalties.

But in government – public servants as they are – employees and officials alike commit the sin with regularity and with impunity.

Our bureaucracy is replete with sad and gruesome tales of corruption, pilferage, theft and plunder.

I haven’t heard of any big fish – real big one (as in BIG) – who has been found guilty and sent to jail. No need to name them but I’m sure the Filipino people remember.

If you have a good grasp of Philippine history and government, even those who purportedly fought for the country’s independence and those who continue to pursue nationalistic ideals, they sometimes sought the easy way out.

Why? Because, either it was convenient to do so at that point in time or they were “persuaded.”

The “easy way out” mentality is the bane of good governance and its backlash reflects on the socio-economic status of its people.

Take a throwback look at all the regimes prior to this incumbency. When you compare the kind of executive leadership each exemplified, one might be able to discover that each regime – each administration – had suffered one weakness common to all when faced with a difficult dilemma: they choose the easy way out.

Confucius said something relevant: “The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell.”

Would you agree that there is really no easy way out?

That everything that comes before us tests our resolve and that as creatures with intellect, we always find solutions however difficult these might be?

The “easy way out” frame of mind is a temporary escape from reality, much like showbusiness. But you never really get out of that trouble you are in because it keeps creeping up since it has not been completely resolved.

Thus, we often resort to fault-finding. “That guy is to blame because he delegated his responsibilities to inefficient people and tolerated his men to do their thing,” a collective reasoning of most Filipinos who did not realize that they have the sovereign mandate to throw out incompetent leaders.

Alas, I find Henry Ford’s quote very apt: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.”

Therefore, choosing the way out becomes the philosophy of cowards, of the inane and the idiots, of non-thinking creatures who happen to be called “human beings.”

This is not debatable. Or is it?

It is a reasonable but conclusive finding that when people – our leaders in particular – opt to take the easy way out, they do not deserve our respect, our support and our votes.

In a Third World democracy like ours that is struggling to beat extreme poverty, our people, by now, should readily spot who among our national leaders are emerging to be capable and competent to lead the country.

We are being attacked from all sides. Poverty is our principal and number one enemy. Disunity and polarization marked by intense partisanship is another. There is greed for wealth and power. Incompetent managers and corrupt executives. Political dynasties, business monopolies and oligarchies. Insurgency and godless ideologies.

Don’t forget: Spiritual bankruptcy.

It is a long litany.

Oh, the suffering has been much too long.

When will it end? When will the Filipinos say with finality: “Tama na! Sobra na!”

Yes, we have had enough. But the Filipinos continue to remain muted, silent, non-committal.

They cannot fight back the evils that permeate Philippine society.

Why? Because we, ourselves, choose to seek the easy way out.

Let us learn from China. They pursued a revolution and successfully kicked out the Kuomintang.

Let us learn from the Americans. They endured a civil war to strengthen their democratic foundations and became the most powerful nation.

Let us learn from Singapore, the tiny, multi-ethnic city-nation. They braved the difficult challenges and did not seek the easy way out.

The Chinese, the Americans, the Singaporeans – their citizens all took the bull by its horns.

Sad but we are still deep in the woods. (Email your feedback to fredlumba@yahoo.com.) GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES!