THE one outcome of the extremely disruptive public protest staged by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) over the past few days everyone can agree on is that it has revealed just how ugly the national mood has become.
Everywhere one turns, people are seemingly responding to offenses real or perceived in an extreme way; the INC protest is simply a large-scale manifestation of violent overreactions that occur countless times every day on an individual level. One particularly sad example of this was the reckless jeepney driver who nearly struck a pedestrian in Makati last week and instead of being subjected to what in a civilized society would be considered a reasonable reaction – angry name-calling, perhaps, and maybe a complaint to the nearest traffic warden – was shot in the head for his transgression.
We place the blame for the death of any semblance of civility in this country squarely on the shoulders of our divisive, vindictive President BS Aquino 3rd and the Liberal Party machinery that has sustained him in office. From his very first moment in office, “if you’re not with us you’re against us” has been official policy – those who are personally favored, those who dare not offer anything but effusive praise for president and his vacuous concept of the “straight path,” and those who are perceived to have the ability to perpetuate the regime’s hold on power are accommodated even to the point of ignoring the basic laws of the land.
Those who have the temerity to question the heir to the “Aquino legacy,” or are even simply unfortunate enough to have the wrong last name are persecuted in the most niggling way, or at best – as is the case with the great mass of people who do not, for example, see appalling traffic gridlock as a sign of progress – rudely dismissed or pointedly ignored. The message from BS Aquino and his cabal from the very beginning has always been, “There’s our way, and only our way; your way is not only wrong, it in fact does not even exist.”
Is it any wonder why everyone, individually or collectively, feels they have to shout to be heard, and that any disagreement is a mortal threat?
A healthy democracy is a unity of differences, and today, when we observe our Araw ng mga Bayani – National Day of Heroes – we commemorate those who strove in different ways to unify and uplift the Philippines. It is the saddest of ironies that the official observance of the national holiday will be led by one who has strove to do precisely the opposite, and in the process poisoned our entire culture with a sense of selfish entitlement and exclusivity.
Bringing the country together will be the greatest challenge for our next president, because if the damage from six toxic years of Aquino “leadership” cannot be undone, nothing else will be accomplished. Whether any of those now aspiring to the office truly understand this remains to be seen.