Philosophical planks-A A +A
Friday, September 28, 2012
IT WOULD be incomprehensible for Democrat Bill Clinton to advocate tax cuts for anyone (including the wealthy) and that free market, not the government, should determine wages.
Or that Republican George W. Bush or Milt Romney to start talking of community and corporate social responsibility or for government to regulate and oversee the economy. That'll be the day.
To quote Rudyard Kipling's racist poem, it said, "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." On many policy issues, votes are generally decided along party lines. Democrats and Republicans dominate the USA's political landscape but differ greatly in their philosophies and ideals.
But here in the Philippines, candidates and parties are generally confusing. Political butterflies (better known as balimbings) are the norm, not party planks based along certain world views. Political parties are played as much as the parlor game of musical chairs.
Take the horse trading at the national and local level. PNoy's Liberal Party is expected to curry support from politicians identified with his arch-nemesis former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In fact, Aquino's Liberal Party (LP) is expected today to forge a partnership agreement with the National Unity Party (NUP) of former presidential rivals Joseph Estrada and Sen. Manuel Villar's Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC).
Madame Butterfly Sen. Loren Legarda is expected to meet with PNoy in Malacañang for talks on fielding her as a common candidate of both the Liberal Party and its rival, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
And yet I fail to see what their planks are based on party philosophies. I see more loyalties in teen gangs than in our adult political parties.
Okay, I'm no political babe in the Chop Suey world of Philippine politics. With very rare exceptions, Filipino candidates and parties are focused more on winnability on the basis of papogi, pa-cute face or singing voices or even the lack of it, or dance routines.
What goes at the national politics goes the same to the local politics. In Negros Occidental, the tandem of Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Governor Genaro Álvarez Jr. are now at each other's political crosshairs.
For Álvarez, it wasn't even any philosophy that compelled him to run for the gubernatorial post. Álvarez said he is seeking the governorship because Marañon, who was his partner in the 2010 polls, initially had said he was not seeking reelection. Huh?
"I am loyal to my party. I have no reason to abandon or defy a party that has been supportive and also loyal to me for the past 20 years," he said, stressing that he wants to also share his own brand of governance and leadership.
I have to take that so-called "party loyalty" with not just with a grain but a kilogram of salt. Commonwealth President Manuel Quezón must be rolling in his grave whose stated philosophy emphasized his politics: "My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins."
Interestingly, Álvarez would implement a social democratic program that must be more responsive to the individual needs of the people, "from birth to death, from basket to casket, and from womb to tomb."
He also said the Provincial Government under his watch will not get any more loans. "Loans are not the only answer to funding projects and programs," he said, citing the Internal Revenue Allotment, the province's own income and counterpart funding from various agencies of government.
I'm sure the Republicans would rant and rave against that smacks of a "socialist agenda" of building a state with government rather than the market playing a huge role. For that matter, even the Democrats would balk which would imply more taxation.
Frankly, I would find the local elections more exciting if all candidates talk of their underlying philosophy behind their purported plank.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 28, 2012.