SINCE 2011 I have not found the energy to make patol Jim Paredes at length. One can ignore him, I realized. Even when he screams from the top of his lungs via social media, even when he goes out on the streets to implore us all to stick to the President’s matuwid na daan. Life’s been good so far. The world is a more intelligent place if I don’t listen to the Jim Paredeses of this world.
And yes, I was able to keep it this way even throughout this PNoy Presidency, when Paredes revealed himself to be nothing but loyal to this President, for reasons that are beyond me. No wait, it is not beyond me. It is actually quite easy to explain: when it comes to PNoy, Paredes has become irrational and unthinking, an enamored fan, who thinks the world of this president, who cannot do any wrong. PNoy is also the best President EVER. And yes, that’s a direct quote from Paredes.
And this would be fine — blind loyalty and fanaticism after all exists everywhere in the world — except that Paredes also reveals a bias against those who refuse to see PNoy with yellow colored glasses, and who would rather speak of nation beyond matuwid na daan and the numbers of SONA 2015.
Ah, but in Paredes’s world, it’s either you’re for PNoy or for <insert PNoy’s enemy here>. It’s either you’re yellow or you’re <insert any other color here>. There are no gray areas, not even different shades or hues of yellow. Just PNoy yellow. It’s the color of his heart.
And you’d respect that were Paredes not one to think that he had a moral high ground over everybody else who decides to be critical of this government. You’d respect Paredes if he at least admitted to the faults of this President: from trusting a suspended police official on Mamasapano, to failing to appear at the Fallen 44’s arrival honors; from the dangers of public transport to the removal of benefits for teachers; from the insistence on the K to 12 program without thinking about how it would affect teachers and students and parents, to the refusal to take a stand for all OFWs who are on deathrow, from the failure in Haiyan preparedness to the the failure in post-Haiyan rescue and relief operations. One could go on and on.
But we have not heard Paredes speak against this President, NOT ONCE. And even during the beginnings of the anti-pork barrel campaign, when I had the “honor” to be with Paredes during the Scrap Pork Network meetings, it became clear that he was protective of the President, insisting that those at fault were in Congress and the Senate. Once, in a discussion about the amounts listed for certain Congress
Representatives, when it was pointed out that one of the provinces with the biggest allocation is Abad-run Batanes, Paredes insisted that we do not look at those lump sums. Malay naman daw natin nagpagawa ng powerplant ang mga Abad sa Batanes.
Oo nga naman. Benefit of the daw.
The problem with fanaticism
And yet two years since the anti-pork barrel campaign, and with the disbursement acceleration program already declared unconstitutional, all we’ve got are lump sums and still no real accounting, no real breakdown of funds. We’re still faced with a lot of discretionary funds, all of which are in the hands of this President and his trusted team, including Butch Abad himself.
But Paredes is still in love with this President and his daang matuwid, never mind that it has proven ineffective in actually delivering the most basic of services, from efficient public transport to quality public education, better textbooks to decent wages, real universal health care to safe roads.
All of which the President spoke of at the SONA by giving us a list of numbers and by handpicking Filipinos who have good things to say about his government. It was all too contrived. It surprises that in this day and age of social media and spin, people still believe in numbers and AVPs.
Ah, but Paredes BELIEVES! Like a true fanatic he declared: Best President EVER!
And like a true fanatic who only sees black and white, and then sees red when his idol is questioned or critiqued, he screamed on Facebook about his disgust over the Makabayan Bloc of Congress standing up after the President’s speech to hold up banners in silent protest against this fairytale of a SONA. Paredes shouted from his moral high ground: Mga bastos!
And then he rants, in his own unique way, based on the notion that: if you’re not for PNoy, then you’re for Binay. If you’re not anti-China the way PNoy so superficially is, then you’re pro-China — never mind that in fact you have leveled up the discussion about China to demand for our sovereignty in a way that PNoy has not.
And then because fanaticism works this way, Paredes does not care that he is spreading lies about the Makabayan Bloc, who have made Congress more decent than it’s ever been, because they refuse to sit quietly while bills and laws are created and passed not because these are needed by the majority of the people, but because it will serve the interests of the ruling class.
Paredes the PNoy fanatic cannot see that of course. He has gotten away after all with being ill-informed, blind, deaf, dumb to the ills of this government, and declaring it for all the world to see. Anyone who tells him otherwise he declares an enemy of matuwid na daan, an enemy of what is righteous and correct. And he screams that from whatever armchair he’s sitting on, typing away on Facebook and putting up a Tweet or two.
Paredes does not miss the chance to call critics names, does not miss the opportunity to speak from his bourgeois perch about change and nation. Yet he does not take the time to actually understand what it’s like to live below minimum wage, with unsafe and horrid public transport, with barely enough energy to care for self and family, and even less money to fend for family’s survival; without real healthcare, no quality education, and with every sense of hunger and need and poverty.
And then he dares scream at partylist representatives who are actually working to change all that, not by making laws, but by changing the crooked way laws are being made, and engaging with the system as much as they can. And Paredes screams as if he is even on the same level as these Congressmen, as if he has even done a smidgen of what they have already done for nation.
Paredes screams: Mga bastos! from his perch while he wears his yellow colored glasses, his I heart PNoy shirt, and as he enjoys matuwid na daan, believing that this is the best government we’ve ever had. He does this while around him is hunger and need. He celebrates: best President EVER! While the majority of the poor and the so-called “unpoor” continue to live below and on the poverty line.
One realizes the worst kind of bastos. It’s the burgis fanatic like Paredes. Because even Noranians and Vilmanians are more mature than Paredes when it comes to their idolatry of Ate Guy and Ate Vi. Then again, that might be because the Superstar and the Star of All Seasons have also matured through the years, and brought their fans with them.
Paredes meanwhile is a PNoy fanatic. That says a lot about the level of maturity that they share, doesn’t it?
We become the idols we worship, or we actually are them to begin with. For Paredes and PNoy, that’s kaburgisan and kabastusan all at once.